New SPD hiring policies could mean Capitol Hill cops more like Capitol Hill* people

*Not every person on Capitol Hill does drugs or has a tattoo. Probably.

Seattle Police will change how the department finds new officers in an effort to find cops that better reflect the communities in which they serve, officials said Monday.

As part of the program to overhaul the Seattle Police Department to live up to Justice Department requirements over policing and constitutional rights in the city, SPD will loosen its guidelines over everything from tattoos to drug use to driving records. More substantive might be a planned increase efforts at the community level to recruit and hire new police.

Policy changes and initiatives affecting recruitment include:


  • · Elimination of $25 application fee
  • · Partnerships with community-based organizations including Atlantic Street Center, Filipino Community of Seattle and El Centro De La Raza
  • · Community based workshops to prepare candidates for testing
  • · New advertising and recruitment materials based on community input
  • · Changes to the minimum hiring standards policy including:

o Marijuana policy has been updated to require that new hires have not used marijuana in the past year, rather than fewer than 25 times overall

o Elimination of some clauses under Traffic Record that may have unnecessarily disqualified applicants

o Changes in Professional Appearances standards regarding tattoos, scarification, and elimination of the policy regarding dental ornamentation. Tattoos and scarification will now be reviewed on a case by case basis.

o Additional context included for applicants: during the background investigation process SPD is interested in learning greater detail about challenges applicants may have faced, as well as the lessons the applicant has learned and the changes the applicant has made as a result. This context will be included in the review process

  • · Strategic ethnic media advertising plan in partnership with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

  • · Full redesign of website designed to make application process more accessible

  • · Recruitment outreach through social media

If you’re interested in being a Capitol Hill cop, here’s your chance:

The mayor also announced the next round of testing for new officers – the test will be conducted on July 13, with enrollment opening May 6. Interested applicants can attend a workshop tonight at the Filipino Community of Seattle from 5:30-7:30. More information can be found on community workshops at SPD’s new recruitment website

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12 thoughts on “New SPD hiring policies could mean Capitol Hill cops more like Capitol Hill* people

  1. This sounds like a very good change in application requirements. For those of you who are SPD-haters, please note that at least they are trying to change.

    And…what the heck is “scarification”?

    • Policy said no tattoos on “face, ears, neck, heads or hands” — looking forward to teardrop cops :)

  2. And for new applicants require that they live in city limits, or perhaps 5 miles out max. Not like the former chief who lived in Issaquah. In other words he had no real ties to the city safety issues because he went home to the burbs at 5pm. You see and hear more when you live in the community. Get back to community policing and involvement. It doesn’t matter what you look like, just live in the community that you police and treat people with respect.

  3. Requiring that is illegal. You sign up, become an officer, see if you want to live in the middle of your patrol beat.

  4. Caphilllover, I think I understand the point ej was attempting to make in that police officers who actually live in the city (living in the neighborhood would be REALLY nice but that’s ridiculous, I know) might tend to have more of an emotional and economic investment in reducing the crime in the particular city in which they reside. Just by way of example: Cal Anderson Park. I know that everyone is always trying to convince me that the crime stats are actually down there but come on, it’s across the street from the East Precinct, ferhevinsakes, and there are still entirely too many incidents occurring there.

    You are right on target with your point regarding possibly NOT wanting to reside (if only for the protection of your family) in the area in which you work for safety reasons, however. I can well understand that rationale.

  5. Other cities, like Chicago, have requirements that firefighters and police officers live within city limits and has been shown to be constitutional after challenge. I imagine Seattle could devise its own residency requirements if they so chose.

  6. So new recruits can and will have to afford an apodment, here on cap hill, with a growing family that will work out well.

  7. The only way you are invested in your job is if your employer requires that you also live in your cubicle.

    Let’s hope nobody listens to that idea.

  8. Alex: “It’s impossible! I can’t believe it!”
    Georgie: “Evidence of the ol’ glassies! Nothing up our sleeves, no magic little Alex! A job for two who are now of job age! The police!”