Police departments are using unprecedented recruiting tactics, such as luring officer candidates from other cities and offering dramatically increased pay, housing allowances, and other perks, USA Today reports. The aggressive recruiting efforts have become common in cities such as Phoenix and Lexington, Ky., where local governments are emerging from budget slumps and hiring more officers to keep up with the public safety needs in growing areas. To expand its pool of candidates for 500 jobs over two years, Phoenix’s 2,969-officer department is recruiting in Southern California. The $300,000 campaign includes TV and newspaper ads that tout Phoenix’s lower cost of living. Los Angeles’ 9,000-member department, which is seeking 720 officers, has responded by hiring its own recruiting strategist.
Honolulu’s 1,800-officer department, trying to fill 200 openings, sent recruiters to San Diego and Portland, Or., and got commitments from dozens of prospects. Other police agencies are dangling perks such as bonuses for recruits who speak foreign languages, says Elaine Deck of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Such perks have become more prevalent as departments face stiff competition for recruits in an economy that has created many higher-paying alternatives to police work.