JOPLIN, Mo. — Once again, the City of Joplin is focusing on police recruitment.

City Council members approved an emergency ordinance to increase the City’s current recruitment incentive.

The Joplin Police Deparment originally offered a $5,000 incentive to lateral police applicants. It will now be raised to $10,000 for anyone already certified as a law enforcement officer.

Any city employee that refers a police officer will now receive a $2,000 incentive instead of the original $1,000. Right now the Department has 12 police officer openings and says three more officers will retire in 2022.

“We are hoping with some of the future things the City of Joplin is looking to do with pay and benefits that this will give that extra incentive for officers to come across and refill our ranks,” said Chief Sloan Rowland, Joplin Police Department. “I think it makes us very comparable as far as just on the incentive side. It also makes us comparable on some areas in Arkansas and Oklahoma. It gives us a broader region to recruit from.”

When the incentive went into effect last year, it helped the Department hire four police officers.

The new incentive program will go into effect immediately.

To qualify, prospective officers would need to sign a two-year contract with the department.