Chandler offers hiring incentives as it scours nation for Police Dept. recruits

The Police Department gains 27 officers and increased funding in Chandler’s 2021-22 budget. –Wrangler News file photo

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Chandler has announced a hiring incentive to bolster its national recruitment of sworn officers, detention officers and dispatchers for its Police Department.

The incentive is $5,000 for lateral sworn police officers, $3,500 for police-officer recruits and $2,000 for detention officers and dispatchers, according to the city. Candidates would receive half of the incentive upon being hired and the remaining half upon successful completion of a probationary period.

The hiring incentive is a proactive measure to attract qualified candidates to fill vacancies due to upcoming retirements and adding new positions. It supplements current recruiting efforts for sworn and civilian positions in the Police Department.

It’s not an easy job and it is not for everybody, Police Chief Sean Duggan said. He also lamented in April that the size of the force is the same as it was several years ago despite consistent growth in population.

Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan asked City Council for more officers. He’s getting them in the 2021-22 city budget. Chandler is offering hiring incentives.

The City Council heard him. The Chandler 2021-22 fiscal-year budget, which kicked in July 1, funds 12 new police positions plus 15 “overfill” positions, which allow recruits to be hired and trained while current officers continue serving the community.

“I can tell you this job is fundamentally different today than anything … I experienced as a new officer,” Duggan said. “There are societal issues, generational issues. It is exponentially more difficult to be a police officer today than it’s ever been in the history of the city. So the need for training has never been as important as it is now.”

It is difficult to find qualified recruits who even want to do the job, Duggan told the City Council in a state-of-the-department presentation in April. Chandler is competing with other communities for a small pool of qualified candidates.

Chandler continues to be among the safest cities in the nation with traditional crime steadily declining to its lowest levels since the 1980s, in large part due to a Police Department with an extremely high employee retention rate and outstanding community support, Duggan said, noting that many officers are approaching eligibility for retirement.

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