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Elkhart Police Department offers sign-on bonuses to veteran officers

ELKHART, Ind. – In an effort to attract new recruits, the Elkhart Police Department is offering sign-on bonuses to experienced officers.

According to the Elkhart Police Department, it’s the only law enforcement agency in the area to offer this incentive. An officer must be certified and successfully complete all phases of EPD’s hiring process.

Sign-on bonuses range from $3,000 for officers with one to two years of experience, $5,000 for officers with two to three years of experience, and $7,500 for officers with over four years of experience.

The department is currently staffed at 131 of the budgeted 136 officers.

“Everyone in law enforcement knows it’s hard to get hires right now, and for lots of different reasons,” said Elkhart Police Sergeant Chris Snyder. “The economy being good, law enforcement just isn’t a real popular field at this time, so we’re having to kind of think outside of the box as to what we can do to attract applicants.”

Snyder said the department began prioritizing the hiring of seasoned officers a couple of years ago. He said he could think of at least four officers who came from other departments since that he began.

“It’s a program that we think works and it certainly benefits our department, our community, and now we want to let it benefit that officer a little bit because we are asking them to give up maybe some seniority that they have there, maybe  their days off, or the assignment they had there,” said Snyder.

The department also offers personal days during experienced officer’s first years. New recruits don’t get personal days until their second year. 

 EPD said the hiring someone with law enforcement experience is less expensive and time consuming than hiring someone with no prior experience.

It takes the Elkhart Police Department eight weeks to train new officers. New recruits require 40 to 50 weeks in training. The department also said seasoned officers are less likely to make mistakes that could put themselves or others in danger.

“It’s a much quicker process for us to be able to hire a lateral transfer and get them out protecting and serving and that’s what we need right now,” said Snyder.

Applications to become a police officer with the department can be found here.

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