FREMONT (KPIX 5) — Bay Area police departments are offering huge cash incentives to new recruits to fill the ranks during a shortage of police officers in the region.

According to a Fremont police lieutenant, all one must do is fill out an application online, go through the application process and if hired, the department will hand the applicant a $5,000 bonus check to get started.

“The day you get hired, we give you $5,000 dollars and the day you clear probation, you get your other $5,000 dollars for a total bonus of $10,000 dollars,” said Lt. Matthew Snelson of Fremont PD.

Fremont police aren’t the only ones to offer incentives to entice future cops. Many agencies are even turning to social media, including Instagram, to get the word out. Fremont PD even hired a PR firm to help recruit.

“We’ve actually received a few calls,“ said Geneva Bosques of Fremont PD Public Affairs. “Definitely millennials are calling. And people who have worked in an industry for last five or ten years and ready for a career change–it’s not too late. We have no age limit.”

But agencies are up against growing skepticism about law enforcement as a career choice.

“I’d say it would have to be more than $10,000 for me,” said one person.

Agencies also have to up the ante to compete with the current job market and job description.

“Nationally, people [are] asking the question, ‘Do I want to become a police officer?’ as policing is being questioned with some of the challenges going on with law enforcement in the community,“ said Snelson.

All you need to apply is a high school diploma. Applicants can also get paid during the six month police training academy.

“Other agencies have recently gone through contract negotiations and increased salary and benefits, even working conditions, some agencies are offering sleeping quarters, we actually have our own sleep room here,” said Bosques.

“Incentives are imminent–rent’s going up and people are struggling.“

Juliette Goodrich