Smithfield Police Officers To Receive $7,500 Retention Bonuses, $5,000 Incentive For New Hires

SMITHFIELD – In a move to stabilize staffing, Police Chief Pete Hedrick has received approval from town leaders to offer hiring and retention incentives.

The police department is budgeted for 37 full-time sworn officers and 5 civilian positions. Currently there are only 22 sworn officers on the street. Two others are enrolled in Basic Law Enforcement Training and will join the department when they are certified. That leaves 13 open positions that must be filled.

“We need stability. I need to maintain the people we have now,” Chief Hedrick said Nov. 14 when he appeared before the Smithfield Town Council.

To assist with filling the positions and holding on to the officers Smithfield has now, Chief Hedrick received authorization to give a $5,000 bonus to all new hires, who currently have their BLET certification.

Existing Smithfield patrol officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and the captain will receive $7,500 each over the next year of employment.

Part-time officers, animal control, and administrative staff will receive $2,000 each. The Accreditation civilian staff member will be paid a $5,000 retention bonus. The hiring and retention incentives will be paid in installments, instead of a lump sum.

Councilman Dr. David Barbour said, “This feels a lot like a band aid. It’s not a long term sustainable thing…. I don’t see a year from now this as a fix. It’s like putting a finger in the dike kind of thing.” He questioned what will happen a year from now when the hiring incentives and retention bonus payments have ended. He called it at best a “temporary fix.”

Chief Hedrick said, “I don’t want to be an alarmist. I’m a realist.” He said the police department has good leadership, good officers, but stability and assistance with hiring is a must. He added another goal was to have “less bosses and more people on the street.”

In the last 15 months the department has lost 12 officers, a few to retirement, but the majority to other law enforcement agencies.

The starting salary for a Smithfield police officer, with no experience, is $49,977. In comparison, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office pays $54,280, Clayton Police $51,763, and the Selma Police Department $47,000.


  1. It sounds like the pay is fine. Ive stayed at a low paying job i loved and ditched a good paying job i hated. Prob a terrible work environment but the only solution govt know is throw more money at the problem.

  2. This is a great idea. The officers deserve it. It’s just a shame the idea came from McDonalds. It’s true but it works.

  3. To be competitive you have to beat the pay that is around us Not by a couple dollars. Pay these officers 60,000 and I bet you will have a full department!! the money is there Town manager want agree to release more funds for them But wants to try to make the town look better on the outside with lights and trees down the streets but on the inside their suffering. The mayor is also at fault. When a employee like the town manager has so many complaints as he has in any other job they would be gone

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