PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland City Council voted on Wednesday to allow Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to offer $25,000 bonuses to lateral recruits.
PPB is also offering incentives to public safety support specialists.
A PPB captain that spoke at the meeting said that starting two years ago, they saw a trend of people leaving the bureau as soon as they were eligible. They are hoping that hiring incentives will help attract new people.
PPB says that support staff will get a bonus between $3K and $5K and that officers with at least three years of continuous service can get up to $25K for transferring to the bureau.
While he was voting to adopt the ordinance, Mayor Wheeler talked about why he feels this is necessary.
“My colleagues and I hear from constituents who are very frustrated by the shortage of officers available to respond,” Wheeler said. “We have an obligation to address this historic staffing shortage.”
These bonuses would need to be paid by Sept. 27th and can’t total more than $500,000.
Every commissioner present, plus the mayor, voted for the ordinance — Commissioner Hardesty was absent.
“Our city needs a bureau that’s operating and full,” Commissioner Rubio said.
PPB emailed a statement to KOIN 6 about the importance of the bonuses.
“Law enforcement agencies in Oregon, and nationwide, are experiencing similar employment shortages as the Portland Police Bureau. To address these challenges, many agencies have implemented a hiring bonus system. To stay competitive in attracting the most qualified personnel, we asked City Council for funds to do the same. Our hope is that a hiring bonus will make the decision to work at the Portland Police Bureau, as opposed to another agency, that much easier.
As it stands, the plan is to offer a $25,000 hiring bonus to lateral police officers, and what will most likely be between $3,000-$5,000 to newly hired public safety support specialists. I can’t give an exact amount because this has to be bargained with the Portland Police Association. It’s also important to note that this is ‘use it or lose it’ funding. What isn’t used during the fiscal year must be returned to the city.”