Grover Beach needs more police officers, and now the city is willing to offer cash to get them.
On June 6, the Grover Beach City Council unanimously approved a hiring incentive package it hopes will make the police department an attractive prospect for police officers looking for work in a competitive market.
“Grover Beach, like many other municipalities, is experiencing a diminished pool of well-qualified candidates for police officers,” a report to the council stated.
The incentive program includes a $1,000 hiring bonus for military veterans, a $5,000 incentive paid in increments to officers who complete an academy training program, and a $5,000 pay incentive for current police officers who come to Grover Beach from other law enforcement agencies. According to the report, the incentives would also allow potential police officers to deal with the cost and challenge of relocating to the area and finding housing.
The incentive comes at a time when the city is looking to fill empty spots in its police department. According to the report, the department has three vacant positions for police officers. Finding qualified candidates for those spots can be difficult. The department is in competition with 12 other law enforcement agencies in SLO and Santa Barbabra counties for the same pool of qualified recruits. That competition is stiff, as other cities, such as Santa Maria, already offer incentives to qualified candidates.
“As hiring conditions have become more competitive, factors such as geographic accessibility, cost of living, and work/life balance influence attracting top quality candidates,” the report stated. “While the Grover Beach Police Department has been steadily recruiting candidates for over a year, it is becoming apparent that our hiring strategies require a change in order to attract the best police officer.”
This is the first tweak the department has made in the hopes of boosting its ranks. In November of 2015, the department created a new trainee officer job category and increased pay for reserve officers to tackle staffing challenges.