Antioch City Council Agrees to Police Signing Bonus for Lateral Hires

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On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council unanimously approved an employee referral and recruitment signing bonus and incentives for lateral police officers who join the Antioch Police Department.

The fiscal impact on the city is estimated to be $23,253 per lateral officer. The payment would be distributed in three separate increments over a period of three-years.

According to the staff report, since Measure C was approved by voters in November 2013, the police department has hired 49-sworrn officers. During that same time, 35-sworn officers have separated employment resulting in only a net gain of 14-officers.

Chief Tammany Brooks reported Tuesday that they now have hired 50-officers from Measure C after swearing in a new officer on Monday while the department now stands at 97-officers.

The department is still anticipating 5 separations in the near future and are having a problem recruiting lateral officers.  Brooks proposed an incentive program.

“What other departments have done is create incentive programs to try and entice laterals from other agencies to come to our agency,” said Brooks. “This is not something new to law enforcement, other agencies are doing this. It’s also not something new to Antioch because back in 2002, council approved a lateral incentive bonus.”

Brooks highlighted that in 2002, the incentive was a $2,000 signing bonus while in 2006 the council increased it to $10,000. In 2009, it was suspended.

He highlighted how he was proposing the $10,000 be spread out into three payments:Signing bonus of $10,000 with payments in the following increments:

  • $2,500 –upon employment
  • $2,500 –upon successful completion of probation
  • $5,000 –upon three (3) years of service

Antioch resident Mark Jordan did not 100% support the plan saying it needed to be modified to rather incentivize officers to move to Antioch.

“We are kinda in a quandary here, yes we did have this program previously, then about a year ago, we gave the police officers a very nice raise that we don’t have the money to pay for that will be extremely difficult to pay for if Measure C is not renewed. Then we gave bonuses if police officers get degrees or advanced degrees. So from the general public’s perspective, this is just more and more and more. Now we are going to have a referral program that is called bird-dogging in sales where somebody gets you a lead. I understand you are having a problem, all the cities are having a problem.”

Jordan stated he was not 100% opposed, but discussed an idea where officers could be incentivized by inserting themselves into the community—actually living here.

“If you tie the bonus to the purchase of a home, it incentivizes them to actually live within the community,” said Jordan.  “Many of the police officers don’t live here, many of the city employees, don’t live here. So if you are going to offer a program, we could do an incentive program where if you want to buy a house within the city of Antioch, you can participate in the incentive program. Live where you patrol your streets.”

Councilman Tony Tiscareno asked Chief Brooks to explain the comparison of cost savings of hiring a lateral officer versus hiring one out of the academy.

Brooks highlighted by providing a real-life example that occurred today as he offered a job to an Antioch High School graduate–an entry level graduate who is two weeks away from graduating from San Francisco State.

“The next police academy we are going to put him in starts in March of 2018 and it will go until the end of September of 2018. He will then go through a 4-to-6 month field training program which puts him into April of 2019,” explained Brooks. “It will be 2019 when we will see this young man acting in a solo officer capacity if he is successful in the entire process.”

Brooks further explained during that time, the city will send him to the academy, cost for uniforms, pay a salary as a temporary employee–all while he is in training. They will then pay his cost while he is in a field training program–teamed up with a field training officer (two officers in a car acting as one).

Whereas Officer Morteza Amiri who they hired Monday, will spend 1-week in administrative training, then will begin the field training program and will become a solo officer capacity by the middle of January 2018.

“It’s over a years difference,” said Brooks. “Its significantly less and a significant salary savings of up to $60,000. That is why you see a lot of these police agencies offering a signing bonus because they recognize its significantly less to get a lateral officer to a solo officer capacity versus the entry level.”

Councilman Tiscareno stated what he liked about this proposal because they needed officers on the street.

“I like the fact they are incremental payments,” said Tiscareno. “Don’t use this as a farm-system so they can get their training and go elsewhere. The incremental payments of three-years is a good. Its a little incentive to stay here. I think it makes sense when we are in the hiring, we are going to hire… I am very supportive of this, I think this is a good deal.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock noted that they are saving in a couple of areas and puts an officer on a street a lot quicker.

Mayor Sean Wright stated he has always been forward with his goal of getting to 104-officers and have been asking the chief to do everything he could to make it happen.

“I think everything we can do to help you to get to 104, we need to do. The more officers on the street, the more safety we have… I am in favor of this,” said Wright.

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe noted how the police department was still one of the top three highest paid departments in the county while also having an education incentive.

“My initial reaction before I got to the end was I am not supporting this,” said Thorpe. “But I thought you came up with some very reasonable numbers that are palpable for me. My only concern is we have hovered at this 95-to-97 number and so I scratch my head in terms of what else we can do to incentivize folks to get more police officers on our streets.”

Thorpe noted that he supported the concept based on reasonable numbers.

Councilwoman Monica Wilson liked the concept and appreciated they are hiring quality officers versus quantity.

The council approved the bonus and incentives policy in a 5-0 vote.


Incentives stated by the staff report include:

  • Palo Alto is currently offering a $25,000 hiring bonus for laterals, and $10,000 for academy graduates. Each is paid in two installments –half upon  hiring and the other half at one year anniversary.
  • Modesto is currently offering a $15,000 hiring bonus for laterals, paid in two  installments -$10,000 upon hiring and $5,000 at five year anniversary.
  • BART is currently considering $10-15,000 hiring bonuses for laterals, but to date this has not yet been approved (editors note — BART did implement this several months ago)
  • Fairfield is currently offering a $10,000 hiring bonus for laterals, with half paid  at time of hire and the other half paid at the successful completion of  probation. In addition, laterals have a full year of vacation and sick leave front-loaded on the books at the time of hire.

It is anticipated that by hiring lateral officers, they can save $60,000 in training costs—such as the academy, salary while training, and field training program.

The bonus/incentives will consist of the following:

  1. Applicant will be allowed to carry over up to 200 hours of accrued sick leave from his/her department.
  2. Prior law enforcement service seniority will be used to determine vacation accrual rate of the applicant.
  3. Automatic credit of 40 hours vacation upon employment.
  4. Signing bonus of $10,000 with payments in the following increments:
    • $2,500 –upon employment
    • $2,500 –upon successful completion of probation
    • $5,000 –upon three (3) years of service
  5. Any current Antioch employee who recruits a lateral officer will receive his/her choice of $1,000 or 20 hours of Comp Time upon the lateral’s successful completion of the field training program.

To view the City Council Agenda, click here.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. There is that #50 again. Just replacing retired officers not really using Measure C. Those officers salaries were already worked into the budget.

  2. Thank you Antioch for finally opening your eyes and seeing the need for this. Now if you can keep your mind open, maybe we can slowely turn the tide in this toilet bowl.

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