New incentives for hires at North Sound police agencies

Snohomish County is struggling to retain police officers in Everett -- and in the city of Snohomish.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — The Everett and Snohomish police departments are making bold moves to attract and retain officers, and Officer Adam Veach, of the Everett Police Department, is a perfect example of how well those moves are working.

Veach is relatively new to the Everett department but he’s certainly not new to policing; he’s worked for three other agencies in his 14-year career.

“It was an adventure trying to find a good fit for me and the family—married, kids, the whole nine yards,” he told us.

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He also said it appears he’s found the perfect fit, and the $15,000 signing bonus was the icing on the cake.

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“The incentive was nice. It was definitely a part of the decision but it wasn’t the driving factor to me, personally,” Veach said.

The Everett Police Department has hired eight lateral transfers since offering the signing bonus two years ago and it would like to hire even more, so it has sweetened the deal by raising the bonus to $20,000.

“This is, as far as I know, the highest signing bonus in the state of Washington,” Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman said. “We are all competing for that same small pool of qualified applicants,” Templeman said.

“The issue is attracting and retaining police officers,” said Snohomish City Council President explained Jason Sanders.

So the city of Snohomish has decided to restructure itself.  Sanders said that, because the city contracts with Snohomish County, as soon as deputies gain some seniority they bid for higher-paying jobs with other agencies.

Therefore, Snohomish County is leaving the bid pool, and the chief will do the hiring himself, enticing candidates with a bonus equal to 3% of their salary.

“It doesn’t restrict them. It doesn’t mean they have to stay here forever. But we’re hoping that people will say, ‘I want to work at the city of Snohomish,' so this will help attraction and retention,” said Sanders.

“I don’t have any plans of going anywhere,” Veach said.