EVERETT — The Everett Police Department is increasing bonuses for new hires in an effort to attract trained officers to fill vacancies.
In-state lateral hires will now receive $20,000, up from the $15,000 the Everett City Council approved in 2017 when the incentive program was implemented. The change was approved by councilmembers at Wednesday night’s meeting.
The department has faced a shortfall of officers for years.
Officers who have been employed for a minimum of 24 months out of the previous 36 months by another police department are considered lateral hires. Starting salaries for them is $94,620 per year.
Incentives for lateral hires from out-of-state police agencies will remain at $15,000.
“While we have been very successful in hiring quality new police officers over the last several years, it is important that we remain competitive when it comes to attracting experienced officers,” said Chief Dan Templeman in a prepared statement.
The change to the incentive program is to attract experienced in-state officers, who will be able to get on the street faster than those coming from outside of Washington, according to a police department press release.
Currently, the department has five vacancies, according to the police department. This year, 11 officers have been hired. Fully staffed, the department would have 206 officers.
When the incentive program began in 2017, there were 18 open spots in the police department.
The council also approved extending the hiring bonuses to the end of 2021.
Officers who participate in the program must stay for at least four years or will be required to repay a portion of the incentive depending on how long they remained with the department. If they are fired for misconduct, a portion of the money must also be repaid.
The bonuses are paid out in three phases, beginning when the officer is sworn in. The last installment is given when probation is completed.
“Through the use of this hiring incentive, the chief’s goal would be to reach full staffing in the next six to 12 months,” said Deputy Chief John DeRousse, in an email.