City Council to vote on $3,000 bonuses for Bakersfield Police trainees

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Bakersfield City Council members are set to vote Wednesday on new incentives to draw in recruits for the Bakersfield Police Department.

If approved by the council, the incentives would come in the form of $3,000 bonuses for each BPD trainee.

Funded with Measure N money, the bonuses would be paid out to recruits only if they complete the BPD academy and up to one year of service.

“It’s a very good investment,” said Joe Conroy with the City of Bakersfield. He said the incentives, if passed, will help the city accomplish its goal to hire 100 new BPD officers over the next three years.

“We want to make it as attractive an option as possible. We don’t want them to go and apply to another police department. If they’re looking to go and get into law enforcement, we want them to come here.

On the county side, the Kern County Sheriff’s office has long struggled with recruitment and retention, but Conroy said the City of Bakersfield is working to ensure those issues do not impact BPD.

“Once [BPD trainees] complete the academy, they’ll get $1,500, and then they’ll get another $1,500 once they complete their first year. This will act as an incentive to get them here and keep them here,” Conroy continued.

Even though the issue of homelessness is not on the council’s agenda Wednesday, a group of people plans to attend the meeting to express support for a city homeless shelter on 1900 East Brundage Lane — a 7 and half acre property currently owned by Calcot Cotton Grower Cooperative.

Earlier this month, the council delayed the vote on this potential site until January 22, 2020 to review project details and explore other options.

“We take this issue seriously,” Conroy said. “Obviously, it’s a big issue many people have concerns about. You know, it’s an issue that doesn’t have a simple solution, and the city is looking at all avenues as possible to try and find one.”

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