Short-staffed and aggressively competing for recruits, the Portland Police Bureau wants to offer a hiring bonus of $2,500 for applicants who commit to at least three years of service, reports The Oregonian. “It’s a very, very competitive market,” Chief Rosie Sizer said. “We’re all scrambling for the best applicants.” Several law enforcement agencies on the West Coast — including Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — already offer bonuses.
With the baby boom generation reaching retirement age and fewer interested people, police nationwide are struggling to fill jobs. “We’re seeing a lot of creative strategies to get people in the door. A sign-on bonus is becoming fairly common now,” said Jeremy Wilson of the Pittsburgh-based RAND Center on Quality Policing. Sean Murray, police personnel director, has set an ambitious goal of hiring 100 officers a year, although even top police brass acknowledge that goal is optimistic. In 2007, the bureau hired 52 people as 59 officers retired.