Phoenix Tries Cash, Advertising, Social Media To Fill Police Positions

By Christina Estes
Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 2:06pm
Updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 3:30pm

For the first time, Phoenix is offering cash bonuses for police hires and referrals. 

The department has more than 400 vacant positions. That includes 212 civilians like 911 communications operators and 224 sworn positions like police officers. 

Phoenix is offering recruits and applicants from other police departments a hiring bonus up to $7,500. City employees who refer someone may get up to $2,500.

head and shoulders of PLEA president
Kendall Fessenden
Mike "Britt" London is president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

“I am very hopeful that this will work, but we are preparing to continue treading water like we are,” said Michael “Britt” London, president of Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, the union that represents officers. “I would hate to see our numbers drop any more than they already have been.”

Phoenix has 2,901 sworn positions, including recruits. That’s almost 500 less than the department’s peak in 2008. About 30% of the police department is currently eligible to retire. 

London said detectives are being pulled out to cover patrol shifts, “And there’s no end date in sight for that. There’s no, you know, no number has — at least been given to us — where they say, ‘Hey, we reach this many employees and we can stop doing this.’”

Here’s Phoenix hiring data from the last three fiscal years based on a city report:

  • Hiring for FY 2018-19: 315 total officers - 301 recruits, 14 laterals 
  • Hiring for FY 2019-20: 257 total officers - 244 recruits, 13 laterals 
  • Hiring for FY 2020-21: 95 total officers - 90 recruits, 5 laterals

Recruits must complete the academy while laterals are hired from other law enforcement departments.

The financial incentives are being promoted on social media, digital advertising, billboards, banners, radio, television and virtual presentations.

According to a city report, the Police Department’s Employment Services Bureau has focused heavily on social media in the last 11 months, which has increased traffic to the city’s websites. The report said:

  • The recruiting website,, has experienced 91,762 new users and received over 131,227 page views. 
  • Staff purchased nine Facebook ads, resulting in 1.864 million people reached (people who saw the advertisement) and 84,100 link clicks (people that clicked the link on Facebook or the JoinPHXPD website).

Cities across the Valley and country are also facing hiring challenges and offering various incentives. Chandler recently announced up to $5,000 for police officers and $2,000 for dispatchers, while Avondale is offering officers $20,000 toward the purchase of a house in the city.

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