APD looks at incentives to recruit and retain officers

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Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:35 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - City and police leaders are looking for ways to recruit and retain officers in Albany.

Those efforts include higher pay and education incentives. The goal is to get officers through the doors and to keep them in the community for years to come.

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley has six major areas he wants to focus on. Some of those were education incentives, longevity pay as well as pay for certifications.

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley
Albany Police Chief Michael Persley(WALB)

Persley said that with the call volume the Albany Police Department (APD) receives, it needs to look at ways to increase starting salary, give sign-on bonuses and bonuses for officers who bring other employees into the department.

“We were able to get by because surrounding agencies, they were still several dollars off from us, now they are knocking right on our doorstep,” said Persley.

Albany is looking at raising the officer’s starting salary from $18 to $20 an hour. They are still looking at ways to fund this change.

“If we’re wanting college education people, they have student loans and they’re looking. Generations now want to know what you are going to do for me,” said Persley.

Chief Persley also brought up looking into paying for officers’ next steps in education. A program that was offered in their original incentives in 2004, but for some reason is no longer provided. Persley said he supports paying for a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

“A person who comes in the department and they have nothing but a high school degree, they earn their bachelor’s degree, that’s one step that we can give them. If they get their master’s, then that’s another. You do increase the ranks of personnel who are educated critical thinkers,” said Persley.

As far as retaining officers, the focus is on longevity pay. Persley said ideally their salary would increase over five-year increments.

“When people come to work on time do their job, conduct themselves in a way that fits expectations over a period of time, we do need to reward people for being a part of an organization,” said Persley.

All of these incentives are still being discussed.

City Manager Steven Carter said they’re already looking at their budget for next year.

“We’re not going to bring you anything we can’t afford,” said Carter.

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