Seattle council approves police retention, recruitment plan

The plan, proposed by Mayor Bruce Harrell in July, aims to reduce the impact of more than 460 officers who have left the department in recent years.

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance focused on improving police recruitment and retention.

The plan, proposed by Mayor Bruce Harrell in July, aims to reduce the impact of more than 460 officers leaving the department over a period of about two and a half years.

The plan provides hiring incentives of up to $30,000 for cross-promotions and $7,500 for new hires. Officials are also reimbursed for their fees, travel and relocation costs when they are hired.

The plan passed 6-3, with councilors Kshama Sawant, Tammy Morales and Teresa Mosqueda opposed.

The Downtown Seattle Association released a statement shortly after approval, saying the plan was a “welcome affirmation that Seattle needs to rebuild its policing department and take public safety seriously.”

“Workers, residents, businesses and visitors to the inner city deserve to feel safe and secure, and implementing this plan is a fundamental step in the right direction,” the statement continued. “In the meantime, city leaders must focus on addressing our city’s immediate security concerns.”

Additional staff will be hired for recruitment as part of the plan. A new marketing plan is also being developed. A redesign of the systems and the modernization of the application process are also part of the plan.

In a statement, an SPD spokesman said the ministry welcomed the adoption of the hiring plan.

“After the loss of more than 400 officers over the past two years, it has become very clear that the SPD’s personnel crisis is negatively affecting all people of Seattle and is affecting the department’s ability to respond quickly to emergency calls and a level of public safety offer that the community deserves is severely impacted. ‘ said a spokesman.

The statement went on to say that the current staffing crisis continues to negatively impact the SPD’s remaining officers, who are “routinely drafted to work overtime and extended shifts simply to meet the boroughs’ minimum staffing needs.”

The department also called for a retention bonus for existing officers to “maintain the continued employment of the dedicated, loyal, and fully trained officers who remain on duty for all the people of Seattle.”

109 employees parted ways with the SPD in the first six months of 2022 – about twice as many as expected, according to previous information from the council’s central staff.

The department estimates that implementing the measure and offering hiring incentives will cost more than $5 million over the next three years.

WATCH: KING 5 top stories on YouTube Seattle council approves police retention, recruitment plan

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