By Leigh Martinez

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton’s police chief says he has no problem hiring new officers, but the department struggles to keep veteran officers in the city.

Eric Jones says he wouldn’t have a staffing problem if it didn’t lose the officers the department hired and trained to other departments.

“Over 60 to other agencies since 2012. That’s where we’ve used the word ‘exodus.’ That’s too many. That’s a lot of officers,” he said.

He’s pushing city hall to increase officers’ salary, since he says officers are making less than the current market rate for officers but are seeing more crime on the streets.

To keep new hires from leaving after training, Stockton Police have them sign a contract to repay expenses if they leave within five years. In a new strategy, the department is also recruiting more older locals who have never gone through the police academy.

“Maybe considering a change in career. Maybe went to college or the trades, or a different industry and wants to come over into law enforcement,” Jones said.

There’s no age limit for joining the police force.

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