July 11, 2007
With an ongoing shortage of officers city police have now come up with a plan to entice qualified officers to the force.
There's probably no better incentive than money and that's partly how the city plans to lure experienced officers away from other jurisdictions like Waynesboro, Staunton and Roanoke.
“You can see by looking at the board that we have one vacancy on the midnight shift and additional vacancies on daylight and evening shifts,’ said Charlottesville police Sgt. Dave Jones.
Most every division from investigations to neighborhood services is short staffed. Now that doesn't mean your calls for help are not answered. But it does mean…
“We don't have the discretionary time to engage in community policing functions that we might want to engage in and we don't have the officers available to take care of special assignments,” said Jones.
Charlottesville police are not the only agency in the area facing a shortage and it seems everyone cherry picking from the same pool of candidates. So C.P.D. is thinking outside the box and refocusing their recruitment efforts.
“We're going to target areas West of here,” said Jones.
Agencies north and east of Charlottesville have higher pay scales but the city can offer officers over the mountain a more enticing salary and now are including signing incentives.
They're offering officers with two to five years experience a $5,000 signing bonus, a 5% pay increase over a starting salary of just over $35,000 and giving officers credit for previous service.
“We're hoping to attract a fair number of officers specifically certified officers who we can get on the street a lot quicker,” said Jones.
The program already seems to be working. Police say it helped to recruit one officer from Henrico County.
Currently city police are short 6 officers.