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Sign-on bonus approved for new MPD officer

MURFREESBORO – The next police officer hired by the Murfreesboro Police Department will receive a $2,500 sign-on bonus.

That new incentive was approved by the Murfreesboro Town Council after a closed session at their regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 28. It was motioned by Council member Sarah Wallace and seconded by Council member David Brown.

“We’re just having a hard time getting qualified applicants to apply,” MPD Chief David Griffith told the News Herald afterwards. “I went to the council in closed session and asked for them to approve a $2,500 sign-on bonus.”

Griffith said the department currently has one opening to fill, and he hoped the bonus would encourage anyone possibly considering the position to apply.

“I want to thank the council for what they’re trying to do to obtain good police officers,” he added.

When the town’s budget for the new fiscal year was passed back in June, the council approved a five percent salary increase for all police department employees. Griffith said that helps them offer more competitive pay which helps recruit and retain more officers, especially during a time when many departments both locally and across the nation are having difficulties filling vacancies.

Griffith also noted the starting salary for a non-experienced officer would be $36,500 with a five percent raise after the probationary period, and the starting salary for experienced officers would be higher depending on their training and prior experience.

“It’s very important not only to recruit good officers but to retain them as well,” Griffith said.

The chief emphasized that developing a relationship with the community is vital in order to do the job well.

“It’s not all about chasing bad guys,” he said. “If you want to be an effective police officer in today’s society, you have to be a member of the community in which you serve. You have to get to know people. If you’re not approachable, you’re not going to have those relationships.”

Griffith said anyone can easily get in touch with him and talk to him directly if necessary, something that’s not always easy to do with law enforcement in bigger cities.

“I think that community involvement and that personal relationship is one of the reasons we’re so successful. Not only in Murfreesboro but Hertford County in general,” he explained. “We all have positive relationships with our communities.”

He continued, saying, “We work for the people. I work for the citizens of Murfreesboro. As cliché as it sounds, it’s customer service. We want to treat people with respect and treat people how we want to be treated.”

People interested in applying for the open position can apply through the Town of Murfreesboro’s website or pick up an application at the police department located at 115 East Broad Street.