City hopes monetary incentive is ticket to more Durham officers

— Officials say acts of violence against law enforcement officers is one of the reasons there has been a nationwide drop in applications.

The growing City of Durham is now trying something new to fight the trend after seeing a 30 percent decrease in the number of applications from last year – monetary incentives.

This year, the city council approved funding for an additional 20 officers, but the total number of openings stands at 55.

“We are in a market where competition for police applications is fierce,” said Capt. Brian Reitz.

The Durham Police Department is now offering a $5,000 hiring bonus to qualified applicants. In exchange, the officer must agree to a four year commitment. Durham is also offering a $2,000 to $3,000 relocation incentive.

“We want officers who are committed and community focused,” Reitz said.

The trust between the community and law enforcement has been strained in recent years, marked by protests and marches across the county.

Reitz said since the initiatives were introduced about a month ago, there has been an increase in interest.

“We need bodies. We need willing individuals to be a part of the solution here in Durham,” he said.

Officials say the signing bonuses will cost the city $275,000 and will come from the police department’s budget.

The department is offering relocation incentives to both new and current sworn officers in hopes of moving more officers into the community they serve.

A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.