PHOENIX - The Phoenix Police Department, like many other departments across the country, is scrambling to find officers to fill open positions.
The department is down 340 officers out of more than 3,100 sworn positions. In addition, there are 37 people short in dispatch. In addition, more than 20% of Phoenix Police officers are eligible for retirement, and the department is trying to find ways to use them as civilians, so their skills won't go to waste.
Currently, the department is turning to so-called specialty details to serve and protect.
"Every week, we have officers that are in specialty details, like detectives that rotate back to patrol for a week to help fill in those gaps," said Sgt. Andy Williams with Phoenix Police.
Recruiters are heading to Ohio this weekend to find applicants and are offering a $7,500 signing bonus.
"When you go out to the Midwest this time of year, a good selling point for us is it is 80°F out there and it doesn’t snow. Such a good selling point for us," said Sgt. Williams.
Phoenix Police, however, is competing with other departments that are offering more money. Mesa Police is currently offering a $5,000 signing bonus. Salt River Police is offering a $10,000 bonus in hopes of helping with their shortage.
"We’re tossing around a whole bunch of ideas, including a sabbatical where if you were to take two weeks of your own leave off, the city would give you two weeks. You could almost have a complete month off every so often," said Mesa Police recruiter Jim Southard.
It takes a full year for recruits to go from the front door to the street.
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