FPD has faced challenges recently that come with bringing in qualified new officers, Musselman said, noting that many of the concerns his department faces are not unlike those faced by the rest of the Flagstaff community.
“We struggle with everything everyone else does in our community: cost of living, lack of affordable housing, limited compensation and a somewhat limited job market for trailing spouses and partners,” Musselman said.
One way the FPD is looking to address these challenges is by making sure officers are compensated in ways beyond pay, such as tuition reimbursement, uniform reimbursement and the city’s first-time homebuyer program.
“It may not be hourly compensation, but we are looking at other compensation that helps keep people here,” Musselman said.
Musselman added that it involves a yearlong process and costs his department nearly $100,000 to train a new officer. Further, the selection process is rigorous — requiring a large pool of applicants as the department only hires about one out of 17 applicants — a number that reflects national averages. Because of this, he said, it is disappointing to lose officers to other departments.
“We expect more out of our people. We don’t like training great people to have them go to another agency,” Musselman said.