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Seattle approves plan to ‘accelerate’ police hiring with new recruitment and retention program

(Image: SPD)

Seattle City Council president Sara Nelson and chair of her public safety committee Bob Kettle are celebrating the council’s passage of legislation this week they say will “accelerate” police hiring in the city.

“One of our most fundamental responsibilities as a city government is to provide public safety. Right now, we are losing too many officers to achieve that goal,” Nelson said in a statement. “This bill to streamline recruiting and hiring, working along other efforts, will give the Seattle Police Department the tools it needs to reverse that dangerous trend.”

The full council approved the plan in a vote Tuesday afternoon.

Sparked by the city’s terrible showing in hiring new recruits — last year, the Seattle Police Department hired only 61 police officers out of 1,948 applications — Nelson’s bill moved forward with a plan she says will make for a better, more efficient path by creating a new Recruitment & Retention program “to implement best practices
and innovative new recruitment approaches,” requiring the exam for entry-level and lateral police officer positions “be offered in a manner that supports flexibility and accessibility for exam-takers,” and improving outreach to candidates.

The program will require three full-time employees set to be transferred from the city’s human resources department plus a full-time manager. A fifth role would be added to “enable personalized communication with candidates within 48 hours of applying to SPD and establishing a point of contact to support them throughout the hiring process.”

The personnel cost of the program will be around $611,000 a year, the city says. The new legislative effort has formed as SPD has failed to reach hiring goals despite the approval of a new bonus program for recruits in 2022. The council is also considering the addition of elements to help address issues raised in the investigation of sexual harassment allegations at SPD. The legislation shaping the new program will now move to the full council.

Downtown rep Kettle used the approval as an invitation to officer candidates.

“To anyone who is interested in joining law enforcement and wants to spend their career in service of their community, let there be no doubt — Seattle welcomes you,” Kettle said.

The Seattle Police Department continues “to have difficulty recruiting and retaining officers,” the council reports, recording a net loss of 345 officers since 2020.

SPD currently counts just over 900 sworn officers in its ranks.

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Hillery
Hillery
1 month ago

When I’m in other cities I see patrols. Here they just wait to show up after there is an event. Hopefully if they get more they can. E more proactive instead of reactive like most things in the city.

DD15
DD15
1 month ago

So, we’re going to lower standards for people who need someone to hold their hand throughout the hiring process, but then give them guns, a starting salary of over $100k, and qualified immunity in a police department that has shown it is more than willing to harass and abuse other police officers as well as the public at large. Great. I can’t see anything that could possibly go wrong with this plan.

zach
zach
1 month ago
Reply to  DD15

Never miss an opportunity to bash the SPD officers!

Nation of Inflation Gyration
Nation of Inflation Gyration
1 month ago
Reply to  zach

How would you know what a bashing looks like when you consider Broadway a canyon?

zach
zach
1 month ago

Nonsensical reply. Your references to something I said years ago is getting kind of old. Give it up.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  DD15

Lower expectations and raise pay, it’s how we handle employment in any situation in this town!

SeattleGeek
SeattleGeek
1 month ago

How many of the lost officers were due to their refusal to take the COVID in 2021 and 2022?

In January 2022, SPD reported they lost 170 officers in 2021 and 180 in 2020 making up 350 lost officers and were reporting that they had 948 officers entering 2022. That means that the majority of that 350 net loss was in 2020 and 2021 (probably due to refusal to take the COVID vaccine or Mayor Durkan and Chief Best’s abuses of power during the protests of 2020). Surprising citation: Jason Rantz: https://mynorthwest.com/3306940/rantz-seattle-police-shed-170-officers-2021-more/

Given that there have been nearly 2000 deadbeat applicants, it strikes me less that Seattle is losing officers to other cities than people who still want to be cops in 2024 are literally the worst.

Because, let’s face it: the cop shortage isn’t just in Seattle. The cop shortage is nationwide. And, even with the cop shortage, we’re still hiring cops who run over young women with impunity, cops who pull over bus drivers for honking, and cops who finish their dinner before responding to a shooting (and that’s just the on duty cops).

I finally got a response from CM Joy Hollingsworth when I said she needed to push for more accountability. She didn’t say that she would be pushing for more accountability in the future. She didn’t say that she would be trying to reign in the police. She’s a coward.

zach
zach
1 month ago
Reply to  SeattleGeek

You ask the question (a valid one) about how many officers were lost due to vaccine refusal, then you answer it: “(probably due to refusal to take the COVID vaccine or Mayor Durkan and Chief Best’s abuses of power during the protests of 2020).”

Do you have any data to back up your assertion? Were the reasons for leaving asked of the officers whom left? Unless you have such data, you are just guessing. Other possible reasons are that many officers were fed up by the lack of support by Seattle citizens, especially those on the left, and by the low salaries compared to other local police departments.

SeattleGeek
SeattleGeek
1 month ago
Reply to  zach

Oh, my sweet summer Zach.

You never come in with any data, but always come in defending the SPD.

I came in with a bunch of data to back up my assertions. In fact, a lot of my assumptions of SPD leaving due to the vaccine mandate are also corroborated (that means supported by) by the SPD electing racist ultra-conservatives for SPOG president and vice president and the Trump symbols hanging in every break room. If you click through to the Jason Rantz article, even he says that “over 100” had been sidelined due to the vaccine mandate.

Now, run along and kindly do some research of your own and bring back some data points before defending your precious police officers again.

zach
zach
1 month ago
Reply to  SeattleGeek

There were over 500 officers lost during those years (2000-2003), so 100 is only a minority who left because of the vaccine mandate.

Your comment is very condescending.

SeattleGeek
SeattleGeek
1 month ago
Reply to  zach

Citation?

That Guy
That Guy
1 month ago
Reply to  SeattleGeek

At least you got a response from Joy, which is something her predecessor never deigned to do. And we only have your word for what she said, unless we can see the response ourselves. For that matter, it’d be great to see what you sent her and what her response was to that. You know, context and all…

SeattleGeek
SeattleGeek
1 month ago
Reply to  That Guy

I used to get responses from her predecessor, but I also wasn’t a wealthy white homeowner bitching about off leash dogs in Volunteer Park.

That Guy
That Guy
1 month ago
Reply to  SeattleGeek

You’re showing your ignorance. You have no idea my socio-economic background or ethnicity. You also have no idea how I feel about leashes in the park (leashes in the bedroom, though – va va VOOM!). You just like to insult people, and you have mistaken bitchiness for intelligence. You’ll get no more attention here.

SeattleGeek
SeattleGeek
1 month ago
Reply to  That Guy

You’re right. I don’t know anything about you. You could be somebody I know IRL, or you could be that rich dude demanding speed cameras on Lake Washington Blvd.

That said, you were plenty bitchy yourself. In April, I said that, as a member of the safety committee, she should be requesting more accountability in the SPOG contract before passing and, this week, she mostly said “sorry we didn’t see eye to eye on that.”

Like, gurl, you’re giving 25% raises and not demanding accountability? It’s also not the first time I’ve mentioned needing accountability directly to her face and to the mayor’s office. It’s obvious where their allegiances lie, and it’s with the cops who are running over pedestrians.

Nandor
Nandor
1 month ago
Reply to  SeattleGeek

At the date of the deadline for getting the vaccine only 93 officers had submitted proof of vaccination, but had applied for exemptions and 6 chose to leave, 2 of whom simply retired – which implies they were already short timers… So even if none of them got an exemption or got vaccinated in the end, no, the majority of resignations, which would imply at least more than 50% of 350 (176 or more), were not because of the vaccine mandate…

SeattleGeek
SeattleGeek
1 month ago
Reply to  Nandor

So, where is Jason Rantz getting the “over 100 had been sidelined” number? Where is your sourcing from?

Nandor
Nandor
1 month ago
Reply to  SeattleGeek

Directly from the city… A lot of not only police, but firefighters and EMTs left it to the last minute.. there were quite a few who waffled right up to the deadline, but by midnight only 6 SPD sworn officers had outright refused to do anything – either get vaccinated or file for an exemption- and offered up resignations.

This isn’t the exact release, but it’s close enough, the one I read broke it down slightly more – 103 employees, but 10 of them were civilian employees, not officers. https://spdblotter.seattle.gov/2021/10/19/department-statement-on-employee-covid-19-vaccination-status/

SeattleGeek
SeattleGeek
1 month ago
Reply to  Nandor

That only says 103 employees filed for exemptions. That does not say how many employees had already left by the time of the blog post.

Feel free to find some data that accurately says ONLY ### employees separated from the department due to the COVID vaccine. I’m willing to listen if you have a correct citation. This ain’t it.

Nandor
Nandor
1 month ago
Reply to  SeattleGeek

And BTW, no profession is immune.. I work in a hospital. We are still required to be COVID vaccinated and up until about a month ago we were still required to mask in all areas with patient contact, not only because of COVID, but the high rates of community transmission of many respiratory viruses, flu and RSV as well as COVID. Most of us greeted the vaccine with a great amount of enthusiasm… but there were people who quit over it. No physicians, at least that I know of, but at least one nurse, a physical therapist and a number of medical assistants.

Nandor
Nandor
1 month ago
Reply to  SeattleGeek

Darn it… there’s a not missing in my first sentence.. only 93 officers had ••not•• submitted proof of vaccination…

Recline Of Western Civilization
Recline Of Western Civilization
1 month ago

Back to normal. Get back to work everyone. Be productive or else.

Nation of Inflation Gyration
Nation of Inflation Gyration
1 month ago

lmao at the banner on the HQ boasting 25k in hiring bonus, like, would love to see the audit on who the banner printer is given its affixed to police HQ and barely visible.

Below Broadway
Below Broadway
1 month ago

The influence of “Defund” and the ACAB movements continue to be felt in Seattle. Why would any cop choose to work for a public who will blame them, heckle them, and try to light their precinct on fire. Thanks to some of you, you got what you wanted: Crime is way up in Seattle, police enforcement of everything is way down.

Tom C
Tom C
1 month ago
Reply to  Below Broadway

Was it the protestors who violated folks first amendment rights in 1999 and teargassed downtown? Was it the protestors who violated folks first amendment rights in 2020 and teargassed capitol hill in violation of a federal restraining order?

Was it protestors enforcing laws with a racial bias? Was it protestors held under a federal consent decree?

No.

So why do you blame those speaking up wanting police accountability as the reason SPD lacks accountability?

Oh and for what it’s worth, protestors protected the abandoned precinct against the (probably right wing) attempt to burn it down. As it was shown it was boogaloo bois in Minneapolis doing the precinct burning that spooked SPD into thinking the same would happen here.

Protestors also asked for services to be set up as alternatives to the police. Seattle’s tried some pilots that show promise, while cities like Denver are farther down that path and reaping the rewards already. It’s people like you holding Seattle back from actually having public safety.

Here’s a drawing to help you understand what Defund was actually about, and for the record, SPD has never been defunded. https://mudcompany.thecomicseries.com/comics/148/

Survey Says
Survey Says
1 month ago
Reply to  Below Broadway

Why would any cop choose to work for a public who will blame them

Did you miss the part about the hiring bonuses?

butch griggs
butch griggs
1 month ago
Reply to  Below Broadway

Hey man…There’s like 5 dozen of them and about 100K minimum of us in downtown and around. I live on the west side of CHAZ and the cops have really stepped up their game lately.

I don’t know about you but. The areas around Capitol Hill have been cleaned up pretty nicely. People are figuring out Cal Anderson and QFC are not open air drug bizaar’s and fencing flea markets. It’s NOT the homeless. They have their own set of issues. But they are not criminals folks.

Yunno man, sometimes people just steal stuff for the sake of stealing stuff. My daughter Bug is a klepto. She’ll steal anything. She stole her friends gift cards at her friends birthday party. I’m dead serious.

Then there’s just people taking the opportunity during covid. That’ll never happen again.

Nation of Inflation Gyration
Nation of Inflation Gyration
1 month ago
Reply to  Below Broadway

lmao, your burly protectors read capitol hill blog and get in their feels about my posts and feel nothing about your boot licking. What a theory.

butch griggs
butch griggs
1 month ago

Now that we have highest pay combined with the even more critical no accountability. We should see all kinds of characters.