The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) has seen an increase in applications since the county announced a plan to offer a $20,000 bonus to newly-sworn police recruits, according to the police chief.
Police Chief Marcus Jones said the department is already seeing the fruits of the offer. Before the bonus was announced, he said, MCPD was receiving “probably one to four” applications per day.
“Since we have advertised this bonus, we are now receiving anywhere from 10 to 15 applications per day,” Jones said during a press conference Wednesday as County Executive Marc Elrich announced his proposed fiscal year (FY) 2024 operating budget.
Full implementation of the hiring bonus requires county council approval for the FY24 and beyond budgets, per the county.
The hiring bonus was announced toward the end of February. It would be paid to new recruits in stages.
“Hopefully, this will bring more officers here,” Elrich said Wednesday.
The bonus is an agreement between Montgomery County and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge #35.
The police department is down 129 officers as of February, per the county. And at the current rate of enrollment, that number could hit 229 by December of 2025
During a joint union press conference following Elrich’s budget announcement Wednesday, Lee Holland, president of FOP Lodge #35, said the bonus is nice but the county must also compete with actual salaries that go toward take-home pay and pensions.
Holland said MCPD is not the highest-paid police agency in the state, and added it is “probably in the middle.”
Holland noted police response times have increased by minutes and 911 call takers are down. In the meantime, he noted carjackings are increasing and homicides are higher than three to four years ago.