(WTVO) — As Illinois continues to struggle with recruiting and retaining police officers, the state is grappling with another issue — competition.
Jurisdictions in Alaska are offering up to $30,000 bonuses for lateral hires and $15,000 bonuses for new recruits, according to The Center Square. The northernmost state joins Florida in offering incentives for officers to look elsewhere for employment.
Florida’s $5,000 bonus to relocate has already poached dozens of Illinois officers, according to The Center Square. Governor Ron DeSantis’ office announced a total of 47 officers have relocated from Illinois.
DeSantis made headlines when billboards “encouraging officers to make the move to a state that consistently backs the blue” began appearing in Illinois in September.
“Other states deputize non-citizens, enact policies that favor criminals over victims, and work to overtly or covertly defund the police, but not in Florida,” DeSantis said in a statement, according to WFLA. “I look forward to welcoming the Illinois men and women in blue to the law-and-order state.”
Alaska appears to be following a similar playbook, offering “lateral bonuses of $30k and new Trooper Recruit bonuses of $15k within their first year of employment. Current State of Alaska employees in the Public Safety Bargaining Unit are not eligible for this incentive,” according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety.
The state is further encouraging out-of-state recruitment by providing officers “paid administrative time (five days) to travel home, move themselves to Alaska, then submit receipts of their expenses for reimbursement up to $10,000.”
States across America are struggling to strengthen their police force. A survey conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum found that agencies are losing officers faster than they can hire new ones, with total sworn staffing continuing to decline.