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$15K vs. ‘unreasonable special interest policies’ — Seattle considers hiring bonus to attract new cops

Facing competition from departments across the country, Seattle might begin offering hiring bonuses up to $15,000 to attract new police officers.

“We have a responsibility to ensure we can hire and retain the best police officers in the country while continuing the important work of reform,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said about the proposal. “Our officers have already shown they can meet the challenge of delivering on reform, and we need to support them. I look forward to Council supporting this plan so that under Chief Best’s leadership we can continue to advance public safety and build the best community-based police department in America.”

The department has funding for 1,467 full-time positions in 2019, with 1,398 officers now working, the Seattle Times reports citing city figures.

“In recent years, SPD has faced new challenges in recruiting officers due to attrition, historically low employment, regional and national competition for officers, and hiring incentives offered by other jurisdictions in the region,” the announcement of the proposed legislation reads.

The city says it is falling behind other areas of the country — SPD applications from officers already serving in other law enforcement jurisdictions have fallen by 67% since 2015.

Some of that can be attributed to the long, drawn out negotiations on a new contract that was finally nailed down late last year. But with the new deal and a new leader in Chief Carmen Best, some of the department’s organizational struggles should hopefully be improved.

The police union was not exactly supportive of the announcement, saying SPD is “hemorrhaging officers” due to “unreasonable special interest policies.”

According to the mayor’s office, “several law enforcement jurisdictions in the Puget Sound provide similar lateral incentives” including Everett which also offers a $15,000 hiring incentive, and the Renton Police Department, which provides a $10,000 incentive in addition to 40 hours of sick leave and 40 hours of vacation leave upon hire.

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8 thoughts on “$15K vs. ‘unreasonable special interest policies’ — Seattle considers hiring bonus to attract new cops

  1. This will not help. The SPD is an awful place to work. It’s a minefield for officers. They are caught in the middle of the infighting in the city and forced to work with and around unreasonable policies and a review system that is neither fair or impartial.

    • I agree. The officers have to work in a city where at best many people distrust them…..and, at worse, are openly hostile towards them.

  2. SPOG fails to realize that policing and public safety ARE political. What is politics really but human relations? SPD have often done a piss-port job in that department. I still remember the cop who pulled me over for speeding in 1997; in response to a comment that I was going to meet someone and was kind of nervous about it, he said “well, you should have been nervous about meeting me.” WTO was two years later. I haven’t trusted SPD since.

    • You got pulled over in 1997 and thought being nervous was a good excuse for speeding? Also…yes….you should have been nervous about meeting an officer because of your speed.

    • Also. Policing on the street is not political. These officers should not, and can not, think of politics when enforcing laws. Leave the politics to command and city leaders….no place in asault investigations, traffic stops, etc…

    • How about trying to connect the dots on your 1997 speeding pull-over and the WTO riots.
      Do you think the SPD knew the riots were coming and decided to get a little practice in two years early seeing as how your speeding was suspiciously like a bunch of anarchists rampaging thru downtown?