WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – West Valley City Police are putting out the 'Help Wanted' signs.
Nearly 20 officers have retired in recent weeks, and now, the city is looking to fill those positions. West Valley City Police says 19 officers are accepting early retirement packages. That’s about 10 percent of the workforce.
Bruce, a West Valley City resident and retired cop who wanted to remain anonymous, says he believes morale is low and officers in West Valley City are stretched thin.
“You’re short-handed to begin with, now you have these policemen that retired. So...what are you going to be hiring? You’re going to be hiring a bunch of rookies. And it takes at least five to six years for a rookie to get any experience under his belt,” he said.
West Valley City Police Spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku said the retirement package was a standard incentive offered to all city employees.
She said it gives other employees a chance to move up and new employees a chance to join the department.
“This retirement incentive has really created an opportunity for a lot of people to be able to move up into positions that they have been very highly qualified for,” she said. “This is a very common practice. You know, if you have someone who’s worked for a place for a very long time, they’re close to retirement anyway, this might be attractive for them.”
The retirement package includes three month’s pay and extended healthcare. However, Bruce believes the loss of veteran officers in the short term, will have long term consequences.
“I don’t think they have enough guys to back themselves,” he said. “There’s not enough of them out there.”
Vainuku said they should have the department fully staffed again by the fall. Most of the officers who are retiring will be leaving by the end of August. She said they've been receiving applications and should be able to fill shifts until they can hire and train the new employees.