The Chief of Police in Statesboro is aiming high when it comes to agency recruiting. The request to council, however, comes at a time when the agency is in dire need of officers.
During Tuesday’s city council workshop, Chief Mike Broadhead told council members that his agency is in need of officers.
“The current staffing issues have been going on for quite some time, they didn’t occur overnight,” Broadhead told council as he presented a PowerPoint that stated “We must take immediate action.”
Broadhead shared that the city has lost more than it hired every year since 2020, with officers leaving for the private sector, to other law enforcement agencies, and retirement. (A total of 6 others were terminated). In exit interviews, Broadhead said, officers cited being overworked and underpaid as their reasons for leaving. In 2022, the Statesboro Police Department handled 42,000 calls for service. As the number of officers employed continues to decline, the workload for those who remain ticks upward.
TGV News covered the police department’s staffing and pay issues at length earlier this year. You can read about that here.
Current Incentives Not Enough to Draw Attention
Currently, the city offers a starting salary of $45,801, which remains on the lower end of the scale regionally. An additional 2.5% is available for a bachelor’s degree, 2% more is available to those with three years of military experience, and 1% is available for each year of law enforcement experience, though the total increase is capped at 15% for all incentives. Additionally, the current signing bonuses are $1,000 for non-certified individuals and $2,000 for certified officers.
For starters, Broadhead says the city needs to up the pay for officers. This process is somewhat underway with the city’s ongoing pay study, which was approved back in June of 2023. Broadhead said in his discussions with the consultant, he anticipates the starting pay to bump up to the $53,000 range. While those changes likely won’t come until January 1, 2024, he said the need for increased hiring bonuses must be addressed now.
Specifically, Broadhead asked council to consider:
- $2,500 signing bonus for non-certified hires
- $5,000 signing bonus for certified officers with 3-5 years experience
- $10,000 signing bonus for certified officers with 5+ years experience
Chief Broadhead also emphasized the importance of maintaining the state certification for the region, ensuring additional stipends remain available for K9 officers and SWAT members, working to eliminate pay compression issues, and continuing to prioritize top tier training throughout the year for everyone at the agency.
Statesboro’s training opportunities for officers remains one of the most expansive in the area. While the state only requires 20 hours annually for certification maintenance, Broadhead told council Tuesday that SPD officers, on average, had 197 hours of training in 2022.
Councilmen John Riggs and Phil Boyum were not present for the city council workshop.