Council OKs bonuses for new officers

Newly hired certified police officers will receive a signing bonus when they officially join the force, following a resolution passed at the Tuesday meeting of the Portland City Council.

The bonus for certified officers with less than two years of experience is $1,500, while new hires who have more than two years' time as a certified police officer, will receive a bonus of $2,500 when hired by the Portland Police Department.

The reason for the decision to pay out these bonuses is that it saves the city money. The bonuses are less expensive than the cost of a hiring a non-certified officer, and then sending that person through the police academy plus the cost of field training time.

To send a non-certified officer through the police academy and the proper field training costs $3,600 per officer. It also requires the officer candidate to do 12 weeks of working under direct supervision from a training officer.

Officers will receive a $500 increment of the bonus on the date of their hire, and then are scheduled to receive an additional $500 bonus payment for each six months until the bonus is paid on full.

"We feel like this will allow us to attract some more experienced officers," Police Chief Anthony Heavner told the council. "This would require that they stay certified or have the ability to do the transition school to obtain that."

Mayor Mike Callis endorsed the idea before the council voted on the measure.

"I thought this was a pretty a pretty good plan," Callis said.

Once the matter was brought to the floor for a vote, Alderman Brian Harbin moved to amend it by clarifying the language in the resolution to make sure that the first bonus payment was made at the officer's hiring date.

Harbin's amendment pass unanimously, and then the resolution itself also passed by a unanimous approval.

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