Montgomery County police car. Credit: Annabelle Gordon

This post was updated Wednesday at 2.15 p.m. with additional information and statements.

Montgomery County and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #35 are offering a $20,000 bonus to new sworn police recruits, according to a Montgomery County news release on Tuesday. 

According to the release, the funding for the initial part of the initiative comes from savings accumulated from personnel vacancies within the Police Department. For the bonus program to be fully implemented, the County Council will need to approve the initiative for the fiscal 2024 budget and beyond. 

According to Police Chief Marcus Jones, the department is down 129 officers. A staff report for the County Council’s public safety committee shows persistent issues with staffing, recruitment and retention within the department. 

Data from the report shows a 64% increase in officer resignations and retirements from 2021 to 2022, with a current vacancy rate of 10%.  In 2021, there were 46 vacancies. County Executive Marc Elrich and other council members have spoken on this police shortage in recent years, saying police recruitment remained a core issue related to public safety. 

Elrich told reporters during a news briefing Wednesday that the $20,000 bonus was set at that level in order to make the county more competitive with other nearby jurisdictions—including Anne Arundel County, who also have set bonuses at $20,000.


Elrich said that the pay won’t help with the “broader environment” when it comes to policing, but added that the bonuses should be a compelling reason for new recruits to consider Montgomery County.

“At the end of the day, when the officer is evaluating where they’re gonna go work, no one should be surprised that pay [would] factor into that decision,” he said. “And when you’re talking about $20,000 versus no dollars, even if your annual pay is close, $20,000 is pretty compelling.”

Earl Stoddard, an assistant chief administrative officer, told reporters during the briefing that the bonus—which requires County Council approval—is part of a pilot program, but added that officials are considering whether to make the bonus a long-term solution. Hiring more officers will also help the county’s goal in terms of providing better training for them, Stoddard added.


“We know we need to do more training, and so we need to have a greater pool of officers that we so we have a frontline staff and an ability to do training on the backend,” Stoddard said.

The bonus comes amidst a recruiting shortage across the region and in preparation for the new police recruitment class, which begins training in June 2023 at the Public Safety Training Academy. 

Jones said the signing bonus will help put the county on a level playing field with other competitors for potential police recruits. “Without these bonuses, we would be at a disadvantage,” Jones said in the release. 


The payment will be made in stages. The first payment will account for 10% of the total payment and will be made on the new hire’s first day as an employee of the county. 

Lee Holland, president of the FOP, thanked the county executive for providing this incentive in the release and said, “We hope that the County Council approves these much-needed increases so we can again be a competitive agency when it comes to wages and benefits.”