By Denise Koch

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is offering new correctional officers $5,000 to join the department.

Across the country, there is a real shortage of people interested in working in public safety, and the Maryland Department of Public Safety is doing their part to entice recruits.

The best incentive is always money, and that’s what the state is offering to solve a dangerous problem with vacancies in the ranks of correctional officers.

Maryland’s secretary of public safety and correctional services announced a $5,000 incentive to anyone who’s ready to enter the academy and join the ranks.

“People are no longer interested in working in this profession, and I think that has a lot to do with the perception of public safety across the country right now,” Stephen T. Moyer said.

In 2015, public perception in Baltimore was tarnished by a corruption scandal at the city jail, where officers were convicted of working with black guerilla gang members running drug operations behind bars.

“In addition to those corruption cases, we also looked at what was happening to our officers behind the wall,” Moyer said. “I have hired two prosecutors who focus on bringing charges against anybody who assaults one of our officers.”

And that includes pushing, shoving, and spitting.

Safer working conditions, less forced over-time, and a bonus of $5,000 to try and solve the problem of dangerously understaffed institutions.

“Today, a new life begins. We will be recruiting, we will be providing incentives, and we want people to join this team that we call public safety,” Moyer said.

The state is hoping to train and eventually hire 200 to 300 new officers.

This new $5,000 incentive comes on top of $500 already being offered to officers who enlist a successful officer candidate.

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