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Seattle police official: Reforms ‘damaged’ incentive to be a proactive officer

(KIRO Radio,Matt Pitman)

An official with the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) noted in a recent interview that many of the federally mandated police reforms have hurt officers ability and willingness to solve crimes.

Rich O’Neill, the director of labor and media relations for SPOG told NPR that “The incentive to get out and be a proactive officer I think has been damaged,” he said. “And something the city cannot deny anymore is that we have had a real hit in recruiting — retaining officers.”

The interview came in the midst of U.S. District Judge James Robart’s examination of whether aspects of the guild’s new contract violate terms of the 2012 agreement under a two-year sustainment period, potentially overturning his finding of compliance in January 2018, reports The Seattle Times.

RELATED: District court releases findings on Seattle police contract

“O’Neill is saying, ‘Listen, they’re confused by this stuff, they don’t feel they get the support, it’s harder for us to retain these guys, they leave and it’s harder for us to recruit.'” said KIRO Radio’s John Curley.

“When they went to Indiana and they put up a big billboard and had a three-day seminar — ‘Hey, come work in Seattle, we’ll pay you all this money’ — they had one guy show up. Who wants to work in Seattle?”

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By the end of August 2018, the SPD had lost a staggering 77 officers, with 29 officers resigning, outpacing the 63 officers they hired, many of whom are recruits not in the field. Alleged reasons range from a toxic relationship with the city council, to the fact officers worked years without a contract with the city.

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to approve hiring bonuses for new police officers, which include $15,000 for new officers coming over from other police departments, and $7,500 for new recruits.

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