The Portland City Council voted Wednesday to authorize $500,000 in funding for the city’s police bureau to offer $25,000 hiring bonuses for lateral officers and $3,000 to $5,000 hiring bonuses for non-sworn Public Safety Support Specialists (PS3s) in an effort to boost the bureau’s hiring rate.

Addressing the council, Portland Police Bureau Captain Anthony Passadore described the bonuses as necessary to bring Portland in line with what other jurisdictions are offering in the highly competitive hiring market for police staff, KGW reports.

Portland has been struggling to fill police positions amid record-low staffing levels, and the bureau’s contract with the Portland Police Association currently only covers incentive offers for new officers. 

The bonuses are contingent on lateral hires passing the hiring process, clearing background checks and being offered the job. They’re also intended to incentivize retention, Passadore said. Lateral officers will have to pay back all of the money if they leave in the first year after being hired, $20,000 if they leave in the second year, $15,000 in the third year, and so on up through five years.

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