As part of the Police Department’s ongoing recruitment efforts, Chief Michael Sauschuck has assigned Officer Kate Phelan to be the new Recruitment Officer. This is a temporary, but full-time position for the duration of the Department’s current hiring process for the August 2018 academy class. Officer Phelan’s sole focus will be on proactive recruitment efforts including candidate meetings, presentations at schools and universities, social media efforts, and a variety of other recruitment activities.
Additionally, Chief Sauschuck has recently increased the recruitment incentive for employees who help find successful candidates for police officers and telecommunicators. The bonus will increase from $2000 to $3000 to be given in three equal increments. Telecommunicator referrals will be paid out as $1000 at hire, $1000 at 6 months, and a $1000 after one year of service. Police Officer referrals will be paid out as $1000 at swearing in, $1000 at the completion of field training, and $1000 at the end of probation.
“Staffing is a burden that weighs heavy on all of us, but I feel it’s important to make this adjustment in the short-term so that we can reap the long term benefits of a full, 12 officer, academy class in August,” said Chief Sauschuck. “The reality today is that the folks we find are our best candidates have skills that are in high demand and this allows them to choose from many opportunities. We hire less than 4% of our current police officer candidates because we have high standards for those who serve our community and our focus will always be on quality over quantity.”
Back in May of 2017, the Department announced it was offering $10,000 sign-on bonuses in an effort to help recruit new officers and telecommunicators in the Portland Regional Community Dispatch Center. The sign-on bonuses remain in effect. Nine police officers and six dispatchers have qualified and are in the process of receiving bonuses.
The new police recruits receive a $2,500 bonus at the time of their swearing-in, $2,500 upon completion of the Academy and the 14-week field training program, and $5,000 upon completion of a 2-year probationary period. Telecommunicator recruits receive $2,500 upon their first day of employment, $2,500 after completing the six-month field training program, and $5,000 after two-years of employment. Newly hired officers and telecommunicators who take part in the bonus program must enter into a contract with the Portland Police Department that requires them to pay back the bonuses if they leave before completing five years of service with the City.
The Portland Police Department regularly participates in job fairs across the region. The Department offers candidates a busy, urban policing environment with a strong commitment to community policing, great training, numerous specialty teams, a state-of-the-art crime lab, an in-house firing range, and is an approved on-the-job training site for GI Bill benefits for the first two years.
In 2017, new officers averaged an annual salary of $54,000 plus benefits, and the City recently agreed to union contracts that will give all sworn officers a 10% raise over the next three years. Additionally, the Civil Service Ordinance, which governs the hiring and promotional process, was recently updated and approved by the City Council. Two notable changes include the citizenship requirement, which now allows candidates who have been granted a permanent right to work in the United States, and recent marijuana use is no longer an automatic disqualifier. Instead, it will be considered on a case by case basis in context with the candidate’s entire background.