ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Elkins Police Department is looking to fill some vacancies within its department and is offering hiring incentives to encourage qualified officers to apply.

The department is currently three officers short of its ideal goal of having a team of 15.

“We’ve been this way for quite a while,” said Travis Bennett, Police Chief for the City of Elkins. However, Bennett said that the department is in better condition than it was just a few weeks ago. According to Bennett, one officer who resigned a few months ago has since returned, and another officer who resigned decided to stay with the department and continue his employment there.

Bennett said that he doesn’t see the Elkins PD as any different from other police departments in the state or country. “I think everybody is having difficulty recruiting and retaining police officers right now,” he said.

To encourage patrolmen to apply, the Elkins PD is offering $20,000 to new hires. $15,000 will be paid upfront and the remaining five thousand will be given after the new hires complete two years of service.

“We wanted to be an attractive place to work, and to do that, we had to do stuff that other people weren’t doing,” Bennett said. He added that police officers play a “pivotal role in the community” in the city of Elkins and that the Elkins PD are the first people that people see when visiting the area. “It’s important that everybody who lives here, works here and visits here feels safe.”

The department is aggressively seeking certified police officers to fill the vacancies. Bennett said that it’s important to fill these vacancies within the department because the workload remains constant on a daily basis.

“Regardless of whether we have five officers, or whether we have 50, the amount of calls that we get doesn’t change, and the number of officers that we have to put on the street 24 hours a day-seven days a week doesn’t change.” Therefore, he said that he feels a fully staffed department would take a big burden off of the current officers who are often tasked with working overtime.

Anyone interested in working for the Elkins PD can contact the department directly to discuss hiring procedures and incentives. The Elkins City Police Department can be reached at (304) 636-0678.