The Victoria Police Department, who is desperately looking to fill positions on the frontlines, has received more than 40 applications in a little over one month after announcing a new, experienced officer incentive program.
Back in November, Victoria Police Chief Del Manak announced that the department is offering a signing bonus of $20,000 to officers in an attempt to source new, experienced talent.
The decision to offer a signing bonus came as a result of being significantly short officers for various reasons. At full complement, there are 241 officers on the job with Victoria Police, however, the department is down 35 officers as they are on leave for various reasons including, sickness, maternity, paternity, and stress.
Now, the department is looking to hire 12 experienced officers to address its ongoing shortage on the frontlines.
“This is unprecedented for the Victoria police, for what I would call being innovative and creative, in wanting to really put an incentive out there to hire experienced police officers from across the province, and also, across the country.”
The vacancies needed most are those responding to 911 calls, and according to the department, any new hires with experience won’t need to undergo the eight to nine months of training.
Victoria City Police union spokesperson Matt Waterman said his members support the signing bonus policy.
“In this case, we’re happy with this incentive. It’s a start. We’ll see if it works. We’re not always convinced the money alone will encourage people to come to Victoria.”
The funding for the positions is within the budget of the department, not new money.
The goal is to get more officers on the ground, quickly.
“Our officers are burning out and they need that work-life balance,” Manak said. “They need their days off to be able to recharge and come back the following week for their shift.”
In an update to CHEK News, VicPD says that they’ve received more than 40 formal applications and a large volume of calls and inquiries from interested experienced officers since the announcement. The department adds that new applications are arriving every day.
“The hiring process is lengthy with many steps along the way, including background checks etc. We expect to formally hire some experienced officers in the first quarter of the New Year,” reads a statement from the department to CHEK News.