CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Area police departments are competing to recruit new officers on their respective forces by offering various incentives, such as higher starting pay, sign-on bonuses, etc.
In Chesapeake, officials are looking at ways to also retain the officers they already have.
Chesapeake City Manager Chris Price plans to bring forward a resolution to provide Chesapeake police officers with a $5,000 retention bonus.
The bonus will counter Virginia Beach police’s $5,000 recruitment bonus that was discussed at a meeting this month. Price said many police departments are offering incentives for new officers in an attempt to fix staffing issues.
The idea for the retention bonus was presented by Price during the Chesapeake City Council meeting Tuesday.
In the presentation, Price said one of City Council’s goals in its strategic plan is to improve safety and security in part by reducing the police department’s turnover.
“We are committed to our team. We’ve trained them, we’ve invested in them,” Price said. “I think it’s the right thing to do.
He said Chesapeake is also trying to remain a “market leader” in the pay scale for public safety employees. The city is working on a “classification and compensation study” to evaluate the stepped pay scale for public safety employees. Price has asked those working on the study to accelerate the classification and compensation part for public safety employees.
Price plans to bring the retention bonuses to the agenda for the Aug. 10 City Council meeting. Soon after, he hopes city officials will bring forward a structure forward for consideration on pay and classifications.
Virginia Beach’s $5,000 sign-on bonus was created after the department revamped how it hires lateral transfers from other Virginia police departments.
The goal was to cherry-pick the best and brightest from other departments, the deputy police chief said during a meeting this month.
In its budget for this fiscal year, the City of Norfolk also approved a raise for police officers.
The new starting pay for Norfolk police officers is now $50,800 per year beginning at the start of the fiscal year, compared to its previous rate of about $43,500 a year.
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