East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona news for Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, ScottsdaleScottsdale police have filled about half the positions they pledged to fill last year under a sales tax increase passed by voters to enhance public safety. The department filled 21 of the 40 positions anticipated being created with funds from the 0.10 percentage point increase generated between July 1 and the end of the year. Police officials cited a highly competitive job market and a shortage of local candidates as reasons for the lag. The shortage has spurred the department to advertise for applicants in cold-weather regions and in cities where there have been layoffs. Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell said meeting the needs of the tax increase is a priority, but he’s been forced to fill positions lost through attrition first. "I’ve got to fill vacancies on the street before I create new units. The last thing I can do is strip first-responder coverage by creating a new unit," Rodbell said. "As we fill our vacancies from our attrition, then we start filling the new positions that the public safety tax gave us." To make matters even more challenging, the department needs to fill an additional 14 new positions beginning this month as part of the hiring plan for the increase. That means a total of 33 new positions — to be funded by the tax increase — are vacant.Update:
Peoria dangling cash carrots to lure new cops: The Peoria Police Department will pay from $3,000 to $5,000 in signing bonuses as part of a quest to hire at least seven new cops. Competition around the Valley and the country is fierce for the most qualified applicants, said Sgt. Dee Dyson, a Peoria police spokeswoman. So administrators hope that money will help to land the best candidates, Dyson said.