FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Fayetteville Police Department can now offer up to a $10,000 sign-on bonus to qualifying recruits.
The Fayetteville City Council voted Tuesday (July 19) night to approve police Chief Mike Reynolds's proposal.
$87,000 out of Fayetteville's general funds will be used to create the incentive program for new hires.
The program will also provide rookie officers a $5,000 bonus.
Officers hired with previous experience and certification will get a $10,000 bonus.
Hired officers will also have to agree to stay with the Fayetteville Police Department for at least three years.
Police Chief Mike Reynolds told 5NEWS that there are currently seven empty positions within the department. The starting pay for a Fayetteville police officer is $19.18 an hour.
In 2020, the Fayetteville Police Department experienced a 25% decrease in police officer applicants than the previous five-year average. In 2021, the decrease was up to 63% compared to the same time period.
“The death of Officers Stephen Carr and Kevin Apple, the horrific injury to Officer Tyler Franks, the COVID-19 pandemic, increased workload, violence and assaults on officers have brought recruitment and retention challenges for law enforcement throughout NWA," Chief Reynolds said.