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Seattle hoping to draw experienced cops with $15,000 hiring bonus

(Matt Pitman, KIRO Radio)

Police are in demand across the country, and Seattle is hoping attract more than a few by offering a $15,000 hiring bonus. It’s been difficult for the SPD to recruit of late as a result of historically low unemployment, officer retirement, and hiring incentives offered by other jurisdictions both regionally and nationally.

With the bonus, SPD wants to attract more experienced officers who can transition into the job without additional training, reports The Seattle Times.

“They like the experienced ones because they don’t have to send them to training and spend all the money on training, and they can bring them in and then break them of their spirits,” joked KIRO Radio’s John Curley.

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The contract dispute over the past few years caused the SPD to fall behind in salaries, though the new contract with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild makes them the highest paid in the state, and retroactively covers the lowered pay during the contract dispute.

“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,” said Mayor Durkan in a statement. “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.”

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At the moment, Bellevue is offering hires with two years of experience a $16,000 bonus, Everett a $15,000 bonus, and Renton Police a $10,000 incentive, along with 40 hours of sick leave and 40 hours of vacation.

“Here’s the question: If you’re trying to get a veteran, I’m assuming the veteran would go to some website like and read ‘Seattle sucks, don’t go to Seattle, they treat you badly.'” Curley said. “The veteran would know what it’s like to have some bureaucrat run you through the ringer.”

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