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Citing Lack Of Applicants, Police Departments Offering Signing Bonuses Up To $10,000

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Many local police departments around Minnesota are offering signing bonuses of up to $5,000 or even $10,000. That's as departments are reporting a plunge in applicants in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder.

Minneapolis, the city where Floyd was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin, is proposing a $7,000 bonus. Other bonuses: $5,000 in Brooklyn Park and New Brighton, $6,000 in Brooklyn Center, and $1,500 in Edina.

Just this week, the Roseville City Council upped its signing bonuses to $10,000 for experienced officers, or $5,000 for new recruits. The Roseville Police Department got a jump start on the bonuses when, two years ago, they got the council to approve $5,000 bonuses for lateral transfers -- meaning veteran officers coming from other departments to work for Roseville Police.

Deputy Chief Joe Adams says since Floyd's murder the number of applicants has plunged.

"When we talk to our high school students, it's just not a popular career for people to be going into," he said.

He says the Kim Potter case has also had a chilling effect.

"As tragic as that was, a lot of people could say, 'I could have a slip. I don't think it would be me, I think I am trained well enough, but that could be me,'" he said.

Its not just the metro area seeing an uptick in signing bonuses. Austin police are offering up to a $5,000 relocation bonus and up to $5,000 in student loan repayments.

"I don't know that we have gotten a new application in six to eight weeks," Chief David McKichan said.

Police officers in Minnesota do have to have at least a two-year college degree.

"If you are a quality applicant, you can pretty much go to whatever department you want to go to. Pretty much every department in the metro area is hiring," McKichan said.

For some context, the starting salary for a Roseville police office is $65,000. After three years, that can jump to $85,000. And after 10 years, salaries there can be as high as $97,000.

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