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Galesburg implements hiring incentives for police officers

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The Galesburg Police Department is down six officers – and will be down seven in a couple of weeks.

Two more officers are still in training and won’t be able to work full shifts for another seven months.

Galesburg is among police departments across the country struggling to fill positions left open following a number of retirements and resignations in recent years.

Police chief Russ Idle said open positions are already extensively advertised.

“We advertise nationally,” he said. “We have advertisements on several popular job websites as well as specifically to marginalized and minority communities to try and draw applicants from there.”

To attract more candidates, the city council has approved offering $2,000 cash bonuses to new police hires after they complete training, or at the time of employment for lateral hires.

Officers will then get additional $2,000 bonuses for each of the next four years if they remain employed with the police department.

Interim city manager Wayne Carl said the incentives will be in place for officers hired in the next two years, and could be extended by the city council after that.

“Maybe in two years the climate is different, and we have applicants, and we don’t need the incentives,” he said. “But this is a good way to try to incentivize Galesburg over other communities that are also looking for police officers.”

New Galesburg police officers will also be eligible for up to $1,000 in relocation expenses.

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.

Jane Carlson covers west central Illinois and southeast Iowa for Tri States Public Radio.