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The original item was published from 11/8/2023 12:20:35 PM to 11/8/2023 12:20:56 PM.

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Posted on: November 8, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Spearfish Police Department increases wages, updates programs to recruit and retain officers, dispat

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SPEARFISH, SD – To recruit and retain quality candidates who serve their community as emergency dispatchers and police officers, the Spearfish Police Department continues to adapt to evolving workforce expectations by increasing wages, updating employee policies and programs, and expanding its marketing to attract applicants.

Law enforcement agencies across the country are struggling to recruit and hire, like many industries currently, so we are taking an active approach to recruit and retain personnel to protect and serve Spearfish,” Public Safety Director Pat Rotert said. He explained law enforcement agencies across the board are working to retain staff through focusing on professional development, recognizing and supporting work-life balance, and offering incentives desirable to the newest generation in the workforce.

The City has increased wages for police officers and emergency dispatchers, recently increasing the police officer starting wage to $29.49/hour (which will increase to $30.13/hour in 2024) and offering a $6,000 sign-on bonus and $500/month housing allowance (for a maximum of eight months) for new officers. For emergency dispatchers, a $2 per hour shift work stipend has been added, as well as a $4,000 sign-on bonus. With the addition of the stipend, the starting wage for an emergency dispatcher is $22.87.

We want the best and brightest to work at our agency, and we are lucky to have a city council who understands and supports the need to pay employees a competitive wage,” Public Safety Director Rotert said. “Quality employees are our most valuable asset.

To assist interested applicants, the police department created a webpage dedicated to answering questions candidates may have about the application process for the police officer position, as it entails a more complex background investigation than many jobs require. The webpage includes sections such as, About Us, Minimum Qualifications for Applying; Pay & Benefits; Application Process; FAQs; and Apply Now! 

In addition, the Spearfish Police Department has added programming, such as a K9 program with a drug detection dog and handler position; a personally assigned vehicle policy that allows officers to take home patrol vehicles, within the parameters of the policy; an additional school resource officer position; and a mental health professional to assist employees. 

The work of policing itself is changing, so we as an industry have to change the way we recruit and retain employees who will face challenges their peers of the past may not have faced or may not have been well equipped to handle,” Public Safety Director Rotert said. “Even as we all struggle to get applicants, we have to raise the bar and find applicants with the skills, temperament, and experiences needed to succeed as an officer in today’s world.

Candidates interested in joining the Spearfish Police Department team are encouraged to apply at https://www.cityofspearfish.com/161/Career-Opportunities. Those interested in emergency dispatching should click on the “Communications Officer” option; the “Police Officer” option is further down the page. For more information, contact the Spearfish Police Department Administrative Coordinator at (605) 642-1305.

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