SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Police Department is offering thousands of dollars worth of bonuses to attract more recruits and officers from other agencies.

More than 100 positions need to be filled, according to SDPD, so they are now offering cash incentives to encourage people to join the department.

“It’s been somewhat challenging because we had a record number of hiring people in 2019 and 2020 and we just saw a record number of people leaving this last fiscal year, so now it’s just challenging to try and backfill those positions that we lost,” SDPD Lt. Steve Waldheim said.

The city and department are now offering a $15,000 bonus to attract officers from other California agencies.

“It costs approximately $100,000 to put somebody through the police academy and by incentivizing officers to come and give them $15,000 and bypass that police academy, the city and the department is saving money and getting an officer much faster out in the field to respond to calls for service,” Waldheim said.

The program also incentivizes recruiting by offering $3,000 to $4,000 to current employees who can recruit a new officer to the force.

“Some of the best people that are recruiters are our own employees and our own police officers,” Waldheim said.

The San Diego Police Officers Association released a statement saying in part:

“Drastic action is needed to solve the City’s police understaffing crisis which has resulted in drastically high response times. Programs like this lateral incentive and recruitment bonus, Councilmember Chris Cate’s homebuyer down payment assistance program for officers, and a proposed childcare center are all steps in the right direction.”

The department says it is budgeted for just over 2,000 officers. It currently has just over 1,800 officers.

If anyone is interested in joining SDPD, click here.