Mayor Thorpe’s and new interim chief’s police hiring incentive program and over hire proposals move forward

Antioch City Council during their meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Video screenshot from city website.

One day after new interim chief started in his position

By Allen D. Payton

During the Antioch City Council meeting on Tuesday night, April 26, 2022, hiring incentives and over hire by four additional sworn officers recently proposed by Mayor Lamar Thorpe and newly appointed Interim Police Chief Steve Ford to address the lack of active sworn police officers on the force, received the greenlight from fellow council members. The proposals were made during a press conference by the two of them on April 4 and appeared on the council agenda one day after Ford started in his new position and the day before his oath of office ceremony. (See related article)

Thorpe to Work with Staff on Additional Hiring Incentives for Police Officers

Police Captain Tony Morefield provided a presentation on the department’s current incentive program for recruiting police officers. APD Recruitment Signing Bonus Incentives staff report ACC042622

“A structured bonus incentive, similar to what we have currently only at a higher rate,” Thorpe said, describing his and Ford’s incentive proposal. “I’m also proposing it for academy grads, or a housing down payment.”

“Increasing that, I think we’re talking about a tremendous amount of money. I’m willing to go along with the current incentive program,” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica said. “I want people to work, here because they want to, not because they’re getting a signing bonus. I want people to live here, because they want to. Once their time period is up, they’re gone. I just think we should focus on retention.”

“I appreciate the vision of what is already in place…and that there’s already been an incentive program,” District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker said. “I’m not sure if this is something I can support over the long-haul as I have some of the same concerns as Mayor Pro Tem Barbanica.”

“My proposal is a temporary measure, not a permanent measure,” Thorpe said.

“That’s what I’m saying, a temporary measure,” Torres-Walker said.

“We have to do whatever we can to recruit officers,” Thorpe stated.

I wouldn’t mind looking at other incentives that are out there…what other communities are doing, as well,” District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson said.

“I’m concerned about hiring quality officers. I don’t want incentives…that will attract officers who will leave,” District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said.

“I also have a concern about officers who are already working here,” she continued. “We’re not incentivizing them to stay. I’d be looking at those possibilities.”

“If you’ll allow me to go back and work with the city attorney, our new chief and Captain Morefield and bring something back,” Thorpe said.

Both Torres-Walker and Barbanica said they could support that.

Ogorchock said she would support it if it included incentives for current officers.

“We need to look at that citywide. Human Resources is depleted,” Thorpe said. “I think the police department should be the focus.”

“I appreciate the direction to go back…and bring back a draft policy for us to look at,” he concluded.

Support Increasing Over Hire by Four More Officers to 10 Above 115 in Budget

Following another brief presentation by Morefield the council discussed Thorpe’s proposal to increase the over hire of officers from 121, as previously approved, to 125, which is 10 more than the 115 sworn police officers currently in the budget.  Over Hire Sworn Police Officers staff report ACC042622

Barbanica said, “I support that.”

“There’s no timeline. No end date,” Ogorchock said.

“The problem is when you commit to hire officers, you have to have the funds to pay for them,” City Attorney Thomas L. Smith said.

“I’m not for over hiring 10, I’m for hiring 10,” Ogorchock said. “Actual hired employees.”

“That’s not this proposal,” Thorpe pointed out.

“I heard 115, then in my check in…I heard we already have approval to hire 121 and we’d only be requesting four,” Torres-Walker said.

“Correct, we’re asking for over hire of 10,” Thorpe said. “We did this in 2020. If we didn’t have funding for it, it goes away.”

“I will support the over hire of 10,” Torres-Walker then stated. “Do we understand what the fiscal impact is?”

“We can go back and figure that out and come back with a policy,” Thorpe said.

“I would agree, I’d like to see the permanent number go up by 10,” Barbanica said. “I support this. But it takes a long time to hire a police officer. We’re not going hire them overnight. This is a good measure to start.”

“OK. So, I think the direction is clear,” Thorpe said concluding the discussion.


the attachments to this post:

Over Hire Sworn Police Officers staff report ACC042622

APD Recruitment Signing Bonus Incentives staff report ACC042622

ACC 042622

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