Don't Fall for the Money Trap in Police and Law Enforcement Hiring!
Lately, I've seen many departments advertising for police jobs across the nation. And this is fantastic news for those of you interested in beginning a career in this profession.
With the excitement in mind, I want to caution you about one thing. Don't follow the money.
Here's what I mean by that. Hiring bonuses are not uncommon but not used as widely as private sector businesses. These have been around for a while, but I want to caution you.
Take a further look at that department. What is the reason they're having to offer these hiring bonuses? Over the last two years, law enforcement has gone under quite a bit of scrutiny. There's been a broad spectrum of anti-police sentiments out there. Some are worse than others.
Is a department offering hiring bonuses because they cannot hire applicants? Have a significant number of officers left and are no longer willing to work there?
Are they trying to overcome particular challenges they had in the past?
There was one agency I saw offering a $10,000 hiring bonus for entry-level officers. It was also a very prominent city in the news about defunding and disbanding its police force.
I want to caution you again, don't jump on the money alone. Your career is about the long game. Make sure that the department you want to join doesn't have a lot of volatility. You'll recognize that a lot of times, police are the necessary evil in a city. Police will not be the golden children in any city there, but we also don't need to be painted as the enemy.
There's a balance to be found. When you join a department, you want to be confident that you will be comfortable and content with that agency for many years to come. I would hate to see someone who joined a department because of the hiring bonus and then later recognized the agency is not somewhere they want to be.
So please do your due diligence, take a look at each city, evaluate each department that you're looking to apply with, and make sure it's a good fit.
Hiring bonuses are not all bad. A few good examples I've seen from departments is if an agency offers a bonus because the location is out of the way; think Alaska State Troopers. Another is when there are several agencies in a metro area competing against each other for quality candidates?
Just like agencies are looking for good people, you are also looking for good agencies to work with!
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