ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) – The embattled Antioch Police Department continues its attempt to clear some of the stain caused by a federal investigation launched in August against eight officers on the force. On Tuesday, the interim police chief updated his department’s efforts to recruit and retain officers while trying to reform the agency. 

Interim Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford shared during a news conference at police headquarters Tuesday that his agency has 10 vacancies for sworn officer positions, and that he’s working hard to fill them. This as he tries to work through the challenges caused by a joint investigation by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI into eight officers on the force.

Interim Chief Ford said, “excluding the investigation, I think across the board, law enforcement agencies in the country are having challenges with hiring and recruiting. It’s not the same profession it used to be and truthfully, young people have other outlets to make a living.”

Interim Chief Ford is hopeful a recent council-approved incentive program will attract more candidates. The department can offer up to a $30,000 signing bonus for lateral and entry level officers upon employment.

Interim Chief Ford is looking at possible programs to retain current officers who may be considering a move elsewhere. This is in addition to the reforms Interim Chief Ford announced last month, which are currently under development.

Interim Chief Ford said, “we are looking at a top down assessment of our dog bite policy, as well as instituting an EIS system, and also looking at better ways to manage our department issued cell phones.” EIS, meaning an early intervention system, to track and monitor use of force.

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Interim Chief Ford said, “I think its important to emphasis that our officers deserve their due process as mandated by law, and they should not be judged and tried in the court of public opinion.” He says there is no timeline for when the investigation into the officers on paid administrative will wrap up.