The Eureka Police Department has been going all-out to recruit new cops to the force. It’s been offering a $5,000 signing bonus for entry-level police officers, and a whopping $20,000 bonus for experienced officers looking to transfer here from a different department.
All in all, Chief Steve Watson told the Outpost this afternoon, the department has been hovering at around 80 percent staffing for its sworn officer corps. Why? A number of reasons, Watson says — the lower pay, compared to other departments around the state; the difficulty of finding recruits who can pass a rigorous background check and a polygraph test and a physical exam; the general isolation of Humboldt County.
Nevertheless, Watson thinks that it’s an exciting and interesting time to be a Eureka cop, and he’s hoping to get the message out via initiatives like the 7-and-a-half minute recruitment video above, which was shot by local video production firm Runaway Kite.
The video — as much of a little documentary as a sales pitch — talks with current officers and department brass to talk about Eureka and the challenges and opportunities peculiar to here, as well has something of the department’s ethos. It’s worth a watch.
The opportunities, Watson tells the Outpost, are many. Last time he looked, he said, around 70 percent of the EPD sworn officers had five years or less on the job. There are lots of opportunities to try different jobs, and to rise through the ranks — an ideal situation for a young officer, Watson thinks. As he says in the video: “I guarantee you — if you buckle up, it’ll be a great ride.”