SPD Chief Best: Cops are leaving Seattle, but contract will help
Now that Seattle police have reached a tentative agreement with the city, Chief Carmen Best believes it will go a long way toward attracting new officers, and improving the environment in the department.
The contract comes amid rumors that the Seattle Police Department is losing officers at a greater rate than usual. Alleged reasons range from a toxic relationship with the city council, to the fact officers worked years without a contract with the city. The result has police leaving to other agencies.
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“We are seeing an uptick (in people leaving the Seattle Police Department),” Chief Best told The Jason Rantz Show. “It’s hard for me to put it into actual numbers because the rumor is obviously a lot bigger than the reality. At one point I heard 60 or 80 people. I haven’t seen that.”
“(Any number of people leaving SPD) is too high,” she said. “Because we need people. We need more people. Every person we lose is not a good situation for us. It’s hard for me to characterize it, other than to say I don’t want anybody to leave. We want to bring more people in. But we have seen an increase of some officers leaving.”
Best says the new contract agreement will likely smooth things over for some officers, while helping with recruitment. The deal would reportedly make Seattle cops the highest paid in the state.
“Yes I do, we’ve had a gap in recruiting,” she said. “There are a number of reasons that contribute to that, but certainly the fact that we needed … competitive compensation with other agencies … We are really hopeful that this contract will be certified and validated by the officers.”
“We think that making sure we have compensation for folks is going to bring people through the door,” Best said. “We are hiring, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that. It’s a wonderful job, a great career.”
As for the relationship between city leadership, residents, and police, truth is the Best response.
“When I hear things that aren’t true, I’m going to make sure I counter with the truth,” Best said. “That’s it. All we can do is put the truth out there the best way we know it and people are going to decide for themselves how they feel about it. What I do know is that officers are working hard every day, saving lives, they are dealing with people who are in crisis – whether that’s mental health crisis or addiction … so I will counter everything with the truth.”
“To be honest, sometimes mistakes are made, and when that happens, we’ll bring the truth out then, too,” she said.
- Tune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.