Legislature Considering $5000 Sign on Bonus for Police

To fill vacancies in police rosters across the state the legislature is considering approving funding that would give new officers a one time $5000 sign on bonus.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey spoke with Pineville’s chief of police about the proposal and why recruitment and retention is historically low.

“We’re seeing it nationwide, in Louisiana and even here where we have a shortage of available candidates for law enforcement positions we kind of saw the downward trend a little over a year and a half ago where the applicant pool is getting smaller.  So we’re doing more things, engaging in social media, using some sites like Indeed and Monster.”

Pineville Police Chief Darrell Basco said the state legislature’s proposal to provide a 5000-dollar incentive payment to newly employed law enforcement officers will greatly help recruitment.  The measure was approved by a house committee and heads to the floor for debate.  This would be in addition to incentives that the City of Pineville has for new officers.

“If it passes as written that’s potentially if someone would come work for us a $10,000 sign on bonus that they can make after about the first 18 months of employment as compared to today.  So I think that’s a significant piece of legislation that could help impact public safety and law enforcement in general.”

Basco points to the 2020 video shot of police holding a knee to the neck of George Floyd, who later died, as one of the reasons many in the public have turned against cops recently making it harder to recruit new blood.

“Whether it was through, after George Floyd, a lot of other things that happened in America we’ve started to see where a lot of people came out and started to demean the police and demonize police officers in some way.  You’ve got kids now that are going through high school and college and their able to look at other professions and say I can make this much money or have this type of job security or figure out another way to serve my community without being beat up and bashed all the time.”

The chief said most cops are good and want the bad ones off the force.

“Good cops don’t like bad cops and they want to see the people that have made it through the process that aren’t necessarily the best candidates to be out of the profession as much as you can.”

Yet Basco says his city still supports his department.

“I think we’re fortunate in Pineville.  Our community stands behind the police department everything we do is community based we do a lot of community policing.”

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