File #: 2023-2869   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 3/21/2023
Title: Adoption of Resolution Establishing a Temporary Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy of $75,000 for Lateral, Academy Graduate and Entry Level Police Officers through Use of Existing Salary Savings. (Police 10031100)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - 2017 Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy, 2. Exhibit 2 - 2019 Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy, 3. Exhibit 3 - Redline of 2019 Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy, 4. Exhibit 4 - 2023 Temporary Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy, 5. Exhibit 5 - Crime Table, 6. Resolution, 7. Presentation, 8. Correspondence from Staff - Updated 3/22, 9. Correspondence - Updated 3/22



Adoption of Resolution Establishing a Temporary Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy of $75,000 for Lateral, Academy Graduate and Entry Level Police Officers through Use of Existing Salary Savings. (Police 10031100)



To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council


From: Jennifer Ott, City Manager




Staffing at the Alameda Police Department (APD) is at a critically low level and this impacts public safety.  The staffing deficit directly impacts APD’s ability to deliver service in a timely and efficient manner and is not in line with best practices. 


Currently, APD sworn staffing is down nearly 30% with aggregate sworn vacancies totaling 24 out of 88.  These trends are being experienced throughout Alameda County (County), the state, and region.  Although APD has hired 20 new Police Officers since June 2021, the rate of staffing attrition has outpaced the rate of staffing additions.  APD and Human Resources (HR) staff have endeavored to recruit quality candidates by:


                     Advertising regular job announcements;

                     Streamlining hiring procedures to include holding the written exam, physical ability and oral board process on site and in 1 - 2 days; and

                     Offering creative hiring bonuses and incentives such as matched/higher salary than previous employers, front loaded vacations, and lump sums of pay. 


Even still, these strategies have not yielded the positive returns that were expected.  There are several challenges in hiring quality candidates.  As mentioned above, these challenges are being experienced throughout the industry at a significant rate.  Considerations by quality candidates include:

                     Housing affordability in and around the Alameda community; 

                     Full-time and in-person shift work; and

                     The perceived stigma in policing. 


APD recommends incentivizing a one-time surge in hiring quality candidates in order to have a significant positive impact on staffing numbers and public safety.  Doing so will improve the delivery and quality of service and allow a critical mass of new Police Officers trained in APD’s new initiatives and committed to 21st Century Policing.  Staff is confident that a robust and comprehensive incentive program will help APD reduce its staffing deficit, reduce crime, and improve public safety. 


As a result, staff is recommending City Council authorize the City Manager to use salary savings created by vacant Police Officer positions to further incentivize the hiring of Lateral Police Officers, Academy Graduate, and Entry Level Police Officers.  The proposed incentive of $75,000 would be temporary until APD fills its total authorized sworn staffing to 88.




Staff continues to run various recruitment efforts throughout the State by attending job fairs, recruiting directly from self-sponsored police academies, advertising through social media, and meeting with students at local colleges.  While these efforts have resulted in new hires, APD has continued to experience significant vacancies since 2015.  These vacancies have consistently increased every year.



Authorized Sworn

Actual Filled









































































2023 (March YTD)





                     Source: Year-end figures from APD monthly staffing tables


2017 Initiative:


In early 2017, City Council adopted a resolution (see Exhibit 1) establishing a recruitment and hiring incentive policy for Lateral Police Officers.  At that time, other municipalities were more competitive than APD when recruiting Lateral Police Officers because they would match, when possible, the prospective Lateral Police Officer’s current benefits, pay, and years of service.  This resolution sought to adopt the same recruitment incentives and included the following policies:


                     A higher starting salary, though within the City’s existing pay scale;

                     Total vacation accruals based on years of experience in their previous agency;

                     A lump sum of vacation time upon completion of one year of service;

                     Service credit towards retention pay; and

                     Front loading of accrued sick leave.


2019 Initiative:

Despite the 2017 initiative, none of the 16 recruits hired since 2017 (see Exhibit 2) were Lateral Police Officers and only seven were successful in transitioning to full-time Police Officers. 


At this time, other municipalities were offering recruitment bonuses to Lateral Police Officers including providing lump sum(s) of pay in addition to their salaries.  Some agencies also offered this lump sum payment to Academy Graduate and Entry Level candidates. 


City Council approved an amendment to the 2017 resolution for APD to adopt a hiring bonus for Lateral Police Officers to increase its competitiveness. The amendment included:

                     Reducing the probationary period from 24 months to 12 months for Lateral Police Officers.


                     A $30,000 signing bonus, which is currently offered to Lateral Police Officers who have two years of sworn experience.  The signing bonus is paid in the following installments:


1)                     The first bonus payment is paid in the amount up to $10,000 upon successful completion of Field Training. 

2)                     The second bonus payment is paid in the amount up to $10,000 upon successful completion of one year of service.

3)                     The final bonus payment is paid in the amount up to $10,000 upon successful completion of two years of service. 


While this bonus is significant, it equates to $1,250 per month over the two-year payment period.  Based on current salaries in the County, a two-year officer/deputy could earn more than this incentive by working at least two additional shifts in a month.  With staffing deficits throughout the County, it is likely officers/deputies are already working more than two additional shifts per month.  The 2019 incentive policy has not attracted Lateral Police Officer candidates as desired. 

June 2021 to Current Initiatives:

In June 2021, APD had 19 vacant sworn positions.  At that time, there were nine additional sworn employees who had been off on long-term leave off due to work-related injuries.  Since June 2021, APD has experienced several personnel moves to include separations, promotions, and hirings.  These are listed below. 

                     Of note, over 50% of the separations were due to Service and Industrial Disability Retirements.  The remaining separations were not associated with retirements.





Service retirement


Industrial disability retirement


Left the police profession


Left APD to go to another police agency


Unsuccessful completion of training


Employment terminated by APD


Total Separations



In June of 2021, there were several key leadership positions that were vacant.  To mitigate risk and increase accountability, nearly all leadership positions have been filled through comprehensive promotional processes. There have been 12 total promotions, however, these promotions only created eight Police Officer vacancies.




Promoted Police Officer to Police Sergeant


Promoted Police Sergeant to Police Lieutenant


Total Promotions



ü                     In summary, there have been a total of 35 vacant positions created by separations and promotions since June 2021. 


APD has completed the following hiring since June 2021:

                     Hired 20 Police Officer recruits.  These recruits had to attend a police academy for six months.  Upon completing the police academy these recruits participated in a Field Training program for at least four months.

                     Hired another diverse group of four qualified recruits scheduled to begin the police academy in March/April of 2023.

                     Conducting background on one Lateral Police Officer who is in the hiring process. 


Although APD and HR staff continue to recruit on a full-time basis, there still remain 24 vacant sworn positions as of March 2023.


Implications on Service Delivery

APD values partnering with other social service entities, community-based organizations, and other City departments to address certain calls for service.  As such, APD has reduced its involvement in several areas such as calls for mental health and calls for unhoused persons.  APD continues to look for ways to best support the most qualified service providers who are taking lead roles in public safety initiatives. 


However, vacant sworn staff positions directly impact the City’s ability to deliver critical public safety services in a timely, efficient, and effective manner.  Although APD has reduced its operational footprint by using a data driven approach to address crime and the perception of crime, APD’s response is limited based on the staffing deficits.  In reviewing year to date crime data for 2022 and comparing those numbers to a five-year average (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022), Part 1 crime was up by 17.4% (see Exhibit 5).


Filling the vacant sworn positions will help address the increased Part 1 crimes and improve operations as it relates to response times, community outreach, traffic safety, and crime prevention. 


Of the 40 Police Officers at APD, three are on long-term leave off due to work-related injuries and one is deployed on military leave.  The patrol deployment plan requires a minimum of 30 Police Officers assigned to the Patrol Division.  With 36 operational Police Officers, 28 are assigned to the patrol division and they work four 10-hour shifts during a seven-day work week. 


The remaining eight Police Officers are assigned throughout the Department as follows:

                     One officer is assigned to the Property and Evidence Unit.

                     One officer is assigned to the Traffic Unit.  The Traffic Unit is severely understaffed and should have a minimum of six officers.

                     Two officers are assigned to Investigations.  The Investigations Unit is severely understaffed and should have a minimum of six officers.

                     Four officers are assigned to the Community Resource Unit.  The city is broken up into 12 individual beats.  The Community Resource Unit is a newly stood up unit that is designed to handle long-term issues associated with traffic, outreach, and crime on each of the 12 specific beats.  These officers are responsible for holding community beat meetings where they inform the community of crime trends/tips, offer Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) recommendations, and collaborate with other city stakeholders.  Due to vacancies in other areas of the Department, these officers often get redirected to other assignments and are not able to fully engage the community as designed.  Ideally, each of the 12 beats would have one assigned Community Resource Unit Officer who would be the point of contact for these individual neighborhoods.  This unit should have a minimum of six officers but ideally have a total of 12 officers.  


As to the 28 officers assigned to the Patrol Division, they are broken up into eight squads to provide 24/7 citywide coverage.  Total coverage is accomplished by creating four shifts covered by two squads spread over seven days.  On average, each squad will consist of four officers barring leave associated with sick time, vacation, or training.  Each shift overlaps and, potentially, doubles staffing numbers from four to eight officers.  With these staffing numbers, each officer is responsible for covering three beats at a time.



Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue

Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri

7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Squad 1 (4 officers)

Squad 2 (4 officers)

11:30 AM - 9:30 PM

Squad 3 (3 officers)

Squad 4 (3 officers)

4:45 PM - 2:45 AM

Squad 5 (3 officers)

Squad 6 (3 officers)

9:15 PM - 7:15 AM

Squad 7 (4 officers)

Squad 8 (4 officers)

To account for existing vacancies, leave, and other time off, APD has instituted mandatory overtime to prioritize officer safety and to ensure the timely delivery of service to the community.  Some vacancies are predictable and officers are required to select a shift(s) based on their seniority at least one month in advance.  However, there are also unexpected vacancies caused by sick leave or other emergencies.  These vacancies are filled on short notice by officers having to stay beyond their normal shift’s end time or having to come in earlier than their normal shift’s start time. 


While mandatory overtime is a common practice throughout the industry, excessive overtime impacts officer wellness and, ultimately, leads to burnout and retention issues.  As it relates to mitigating risk, the 21st Century Policing Task Force Report highlights research that supports fatigue could impact decision making during critical incidents. 


To overcome this critical issue, APD must fill its vacancies through a robust plan that generates significant interest from highly qualified Lateral Police Officer, Academy Graduate, and Entry Level candidates.




The current recruitment bonus has not resulted in generating significant interest.  In fact, there has only been one Lateral Police Officer who has taken advantage of this opportunity since it was ratified in 2019.  Through interviews, staff learned:


                     One of the biggest deterrents for Lateral Police Officers and/or Entry Level Officers coming to Alameda is the cost of living in the immediate Bay Area. 

                     While APD pays relatively well, agencies outside the immediate Bay Area are equally competitive and the cost of living in and around those areas is lower than the cost of living in and around Alameda.


In addition to the cost of living, recent reports from data across the country show that police separations are occurring at an alarming rate of 45% due to retirements and 20% due to resignations.  Other studies show that officer wellness, job satisfaction, and negative public sentiment contribute to these separations. 


Staff recommends approaching these issues by offering incentives that help overcome financial/housing considerations and creating an environment where every APD officer believes their service can benefit a community they are a part of and, ultimately, have a positive impact on job satisfaction.


Staff believes Alameda is a community where officers could thrive and reshape what public safety could look like.  If officers can afford to live in Alameda or an adjacent nearby community, there is a stronger sense of serving their own community in addition to quicker officer response times in the event of an emergency. 


The first part of the staff recommendation aims to address financial obstacles associated with being able to afford living in Alameda or a nearby surrounding community.  The following includes bonuses/incentives offered by other agencies:





$40,000 (Lateral Police Officer only)


$40,000 (Lateral Police Officer only)


$15,000 (Lateral Police Officer only)

Palo Alto

$25,000 (Lateral Police Officer) and $10,000 (Entry Level)

Alameda County Sheriff

$12,000 (Lateral Police Officer) and $10,000 (Entry Level)

Beverly Hills

$15,000 - $20,000 (Lateral Police Office only)

Hermosa Beach

$30,000 (Lateral Police Office only)


$40,000 (Lateral Police Office only)

Los Angeles

$24,000 towards rent (Lateral and Entry Level Police Officer only)


$10,000 - $40,000 (Lateral Police Office only)


In summary, recruitment bonuses range anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000. 


To attract the most qualified candidates quickly and incentivize them to live closer to Alameda, staff recommends suspending the current Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy for Lateral Police Officers and adopt a temporary Hiring Incentive Policy for Lateral Police Officers, Academy Graduates, and Entry Level Police Officers.  The recommended temporary policy includes the benefits and incentives in the 2019 policy as well as increase the incentive bonus to $75,000 and include Lateral Officers, Academy Graduates and Entry Level candidates.  This policy would remain in effect until APD sworn staffing numbers reach the authorized 88. 


The $75,000 bonus would be paid as follows:


                     $25,000 paid upon being sworn in with proof of graduation from an accredited California POST academy.  Out of state candidates would qualify if they successfully pass California POST academy standards and achieve California POST certification.

                     $50,000 paid upon completion of the Field Training Program.  To be eligible for this second incentive payment, hired personnel must commit to five years of service.  Voluntary separation prior to five years of service would require a prorated payback at $10,000 per year not-to-exceed $50,000.  Conversations with the Alameda Police Officers Association (APOA) have occurred and there is preliminary support for this.


Although staff recommends including Entry Level candidates for this incentive, staff would prioritize Lateral Police Officers and Academy Graduates due to the cost savings associated with not having to send them to a police academy.  Salary and benefits associated with completing a police academy is approximately $40,000 and the time to graduate is at least six months. 

Should an Academy Graduate or Lateral Police Officer not successfully complete the Field Training Program, the cost to the City would be the initial $25,000 and the salary and benefits paid while employed.  However, that cost would be offset by $40,000 in savings to the City associated with not having to pay the cost of salary and benefits of a recruit while attending a police academy.

Staff recommends this robust temporary hiring incentive program because it will:


                     Create a “sparked interest” that puts APD at the forefront of recruitment;

                     Attract significant interest by candidates, thus allowing APD to select the best;

                     Provide access to a larger candidate pool, allowing APD to further diversify the agency; and

                     Help incentivize future APD Police Officers to live in or closer to the Alameda community by providing upfront resources to help offset higher local housing costs.


Funding for this temporary incentive recruitment program is available in the current FY 2022-23 budget as well as in the upcoming FY 2023-25 biennial budget and will not require additional funding. 

Finally, staff is also exploring options for a retention incentive for current sworn police officers through a one-time bonus payment paid through salary savings. If such a bonus is found to be appropriate, staff will incorporate this as a request in the upcoming biennial budget process for City Council review and approval.  

Staff has been in conversations with the APOA and there is interest in this program with preliminary support.  Further conversations will occur to ensure there are no conflicts with the proposed initiatives.



                     Direct staff to propose a smaller hiring incentive bonus and/or to scale back the referral incentive expansion.

                     Direct staff to seek other recruitment incentives of non-monetary value.






Due to the high volume of vacancies in APD, staff anticipates ending the current fiscal year with approximately $1.7-$1.9 million in vacancy savings. In FY 2023-24 and 2024-25, staff anticipates that there will be sufficient salary savings in both year 1 and year 2 of the FY 2023-25 Biennial Budget to fund the proposed incentive program without the need to ask for additional funds. 




This action is consistent with the Alameda Municipal Code.




This action does not constitute a “project” as defined in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines Section 15378 and therefore no further CEQA analysis is required.




There are no identifiable climate impacts or climate action opportunities associated with the subject of this report.




Adopt a resolution establishing a temporary recruitment and hiring incentive policy of $75,000 for Lateral, Academy Graduate and Entry Level Police Officers through use of existing salary savings.


Respectfully submitted,

Nishant Joshi, Chief of Police



Jessica Romeo, Human Resources Director

Nishant Joshi, Chief of Police


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Margaret O’Brien, Finance Director



1.                     2017 Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy

2.                     2019 Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy

3.                     Redline of 2019 Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy

4.                     2023 Temporary Recruitment and Hiring Incentive Policy

5.                     Crime Table