Fairbanks City Council approves $20,000 police bonus

Published: Jun. 5, 2017 at 7:59 AM AKDT
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Update - June 21:

The Fairbanks Police Department will now be able to offer a $20,000 signing bonus for lateral transfers from other police departments who have completed the police academy.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

the Fairbanks City Council unanimously passed the ordinance allowing the bonus on Monday night at City Hall.

The officers would have to commit to three years at the Fairbanks Police Department. Councilman Jerry Cleworth says he is concerned recruits might take the bonus and quit before their obligation is fulfilled.

Cleworth proposed an amendment to end the bonus program at the end of 2017 unless the council extends the bonus in December.

But Councilwoman Joy Huntington suggested the council gives the bonus program at least a year. Cleworth agreed and the amendment was passed.

Original Story - June 5:

Mayor Jim Matherly is introducing an ordinance to offer $20,000 bonuses to lateral police recruits who commit to the Fairbanks Police Department for three or more years.

The Fairbanks Daily News Miner reports the Fairbanks City Council will introduce the ordinance Monday when it meets.

Fairbanks police has been understaffed for more than a year due to its pay falling behind other departments in Alaska and around the country.

City spokeswoman Teal Soden says the finance committee recently learned it costs $40,583 to put a police recruit through the academy, pay them and give them benefits. The city would save more than $20,000 for every lateral recruit with the proposed bonus.

Police Chief Eric Jewkes says he hopes the bonus will bring the police department to a full staff.