ELK GROVE (CBS13) — Many law enforcement agencies say they’re suffering a shortage of staff. Now the competition is growing and Elk Grove is the latest city to consider handing out hiring bonuses to police officers.

It’s an effort to entice experienced cops to quit their current jobs and come work in Elk Grove.

“The gist of the job is the same no matter where you’re at,” said Elk Grove PD’s Jason Jimenez. “The laws are the same as long as you’re here in California.”

The department said it’s seeing fewer officers apply for vacant positions, following the trend of a statewide shortage of candidates.

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“Regionally everybody’s competing for officers We’re seeing recruiting efforts from the central valley coming on up here to northern California and us going down there,” Jimenez said.

Last year the City of Sacramento gave current police officers a bonus of more than $2,000 to keep them from leaving. Today they still have 79 vacant positions.

Other cities are following suit with hiring bonuses. Fairfield currently has a $10,000 hiring bonus, and Modesto offers $15,000. Out in Palo Alto, new officers are handed $25,000.

And most recently, Elk Grove is considering offering $7,500. The agency is also looking into offering lateral dispatchers a $5,000 bonus, Jimenez said.

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It’s the latest police tactic, paying more to those who protect and serve.

“The number one priority for our police department is public safety and the number of officers on the street is the number one key to that,” Jimenez said.

Officers must have at least one year of experience to apply and they will qualify for the full bonus after an 18-month probationary period. The Elk Grove City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal Wednesday night.

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