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New Hiring Incentives at Macomb Police Department

Rich Egger
Macomb Police Chief Jerel Jones in his office

Signing bonuses and a new work day structure are among the changes the Macomb Police Department is making to attract and retain officers.

“It’s a challenge for departments of all sizes now to attract quality candidates,” Police Chief Jerel Jones told TSPR. 

“We’re seeing a nationwide trend of law enforcement agencies -- sheriff’s offices, municipal agencies, campus police agencies, you name it -- everyone is having a difficult time recruiting let alone retaining quality police officers. The climate for law enforcement is a bit difficult right now.”

Jones said the city has authorized the department to have up to 24 officers. But he said his department is not at full force right now because one officer has retired, another plans to retire in October, one officer just resigned to work in another community, and two officers are on military leave and are not expected to return this year.

The city council this week agreed to allow Jones to hire three additional officers. 

In addition, Jones has city council approval to implement three incentives to recruit and retain officers:

  • $5,000 signing bonuses for experienced officers who join the department. The bonus would be paid out over a 12 month period. Jones said it costs $6,020 to send rookie officers to the Police Training Institute in Champaign so the city would end up saving money by hiring experienced officers. “They (newly hired experienced reporters) will go straight into a field training program. That saves us a lot of time and saves us quite a bit of money as well.”
  • 12 hour work shifts. Jones said many other departments are also gravitating toward 10 or 12 hour shifts. He said no Macomb officer will work more than three days in a week, which will mean longer periods of free time for them. “The generations that we are employing now -- millennials, Gen Zs -- they’re looking for more time off to be with their families and to do personal things.” He said both the police department administration and the officers wanted to make this change.
  • Expand the residency requirement by allowing officers to live in any one of seven counties in the region -  McDonough, Knox, Warren, Henderson, Hancock, Schuyler, and Fulton. “This way we don’t lose an employee because they’re restricted to living within our county or our city. We have it more open so that we can retain our employees.”

Jones was sworn in as police chief on May 3, 2021. He replaced Curt Barker, who retired after 12 years as chief. 

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.