Need a job? Cops hiring

February 15, 2008 5:03:46 PM PST
Police departments all over the United States have the problem of not enough officers. But, we found smaller agencies in the Houston area are keeping up by using creative ways to get people to come on board and stay.

Big or small, Texas law enforcement agencies are all competing for the same people. With the applicant pool no longer what it used to be, potential candidates are going where they can get the biggest bang for their buck. No one ever said police recruiting was easy.

"You've got to stay competitive from a lot of different angles in law enforcement to be able to draw," said Chief Mike Baker with Meadows Place Police Department.

These days everyone's got a pitch, but it's even harder when you're the little guy.

Where they once had 60 or 70 applicants test for two positions, Rosenberg police say they're lucky if they get five a month.

"Over the last four or five years when the economy got really good in the Houston area, we realized there were some issues," said Lt. Colin Davidson of the Rosenberg Police Department.

The economy and war have the smaller local law enforcement agencies putting on their game face like never before. While Rosenberg PD offers a four day work week and one weekend day off, Meadows Place Police Department has revamped its salary and benefits package.

"Medical insurance for family coverage is only $20 a month for the employee," Chief Baker said. "That in of itself could translate into a few more thousand dollars a year in an officer's pocket."

HPD cadets start at $29,000 a year, Clear Lake Shores offers more than $32,000, Rosenberg more than $37,000 and Meadows Place pays $39,000 a year.

Money is not the only incentive.

"The community really likes the police department," said Chief Paul Shelley of the Clear Lake Shores Police Department. "We're very community friendly."

The Clear Lake Shores Police Department prides itself on pro-activity. Salaries only go so far. In the end, job satisfaction may be the most important thing of all.

HPD plans to offer new cadets a $12,000 signing bonus. As many changes as some of the smaller law enforcement agencies have made, they are still looking for ways to remain competitive. Longevity in law enforcement isn't what it used to be.

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