City officials increase incentives and benefits for new police officers

The Exponent Telegram — Fairmont City Council passed two ordinances last week that will help the Fairmont Police Department recruit police officers.

One of the ordinances included a monetary incentive for new officers and was part of a overhaul of the city’s pay plan.

“We’re providing a one-time, $3,000 monetary incentive for hiring new police officers that are certified in the state of West Virginia,” City Manager Robin Gomez said. “With certified police officers, they don’t have to go to the Academy and they don’t have to go to training. We thought that should help us in the recruitment. In lieu of the city paying the approximately $11,000 to $12,000 in training, we provide (that incentive) to certified police officers.”

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The ordinance would also allow officers to rack up vacation days faster.

“Previously, they didn’t start accruing 15 (vacation) days until they hit six years of service, but we’re reducing that to five years of service,” Gomez said.

City Council also held the first reading of an ordinance that would help out police officers looking to join the Fairmont Police Department.

The ordinance would, if passed, extend the radius in which police officers are allowed to live while serving on the force.

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Fairmont Police Chief Steve Shine said the city isn’t experiencing a shortage of police officers, but the ordinances are meant to be proactive in nature.

“Over the last 20 years, there has been a downward trend in the amount of applicants that we have had for the position of police officer,” Shine said. “Over the last 7 years, that slump has increased drastically. We’ve had a loss of officers due to expanding responsibilities, decreasing resources and increasing attrition.

Read the entire story… The Exponent Telegram

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