July 12, 2024

Newton Police maintains hiring incentive for lateral officers but at lower price

Entry-level incentive eliminated, lateral certified officers can receive $5K on hire

Local law enforcement host a ceremony for National Police Week on May 16 outside the Jasper County Courthouse. Officers, dispatchers and jailers participated in the ceremony, which honors the six local individuals who died on active duty or in the line of duty.

For the past six years, the City of Newton has provided an $8,000 hiring incentive to incoming police officers, but the city administrator now feels like the department is in a good enough spot with salaries to reduce the incentive to $5,000. The city council officially approved the reduction during its July 1 meeting.

According to city documents, Newton Police Department has offered the hiring incentive to certified officers since 2018. It was started as a result of a highly competitive recruiting environment making it challenging to recruit and retain high quality law enforcement officers. The incentive even helped attract out-of-state officers.

Incentives like this provide funding to the new recruit that can assist with moving expenses or pay off existing training agreements with previous departments. In 2023, the city council approved of the $8,000 hiring incentive for certified lateral police officer candidates and $2,000 for entry level officers.

The increased incentives resulted from the city’s agreement with the police union at a time of renegotiations. It was considered temporary but necessary to remain competitive with metro area law enforcement agencies. The city and police union came to terms on a new contract that went into effect July 1.

It was determined by the city that salary and benefits are now competitive with similarly sized agencies in the state. The police department proposed to continue the hiring incentive for certified lateral police officer candidates but reduce the amount to $5,000. The city says this amount is consistent with metro agencies.

Newton City Administrator Matt Muckler said, “We did that in reaction to a lot of other different departments, police departments that we’re looking at. We feel like we’re able to hire a little bit better now and we don’t need to be at $8,000. I think we can be at $5,000 and still be competitive.”

Newton Police Department also recommended eliminating the hiring incentives for entry-level police officer candidates.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.