Seattle Police Department loosens pot use, tattoo rules for new recruits

May 6, 2013, 1:55 PM | Updated: May 7, 2013, 7:41 am
The Seattle Police Department is loosening some regulations about past pot use and tattoos as part of a big new push to recruit new officers who better reflect the community. ( file)
( file)

The Seattle Police Department wants its officers to better reflect the communities they serve and that means loosening some of its rules for new recruits when it comes to past pot use and tattoos.

Mayor Mike McGinn announced Monday the department plans to hire more than 300 new officers over the next five years and he wants them to be more diverse.

“We are determined to make the most of this opportunity to shape the police department of the future,” he said in a statement.

In the past, potential new hires had to swear they hadn’t used marijuana in the past three years and fewer than 25 times overall. Now, they can’t have used it within the last year.

The department will also now consider tattoos and scarification on a case-by-case basis. Previously, recruits couldn’t have tattoos on their “face, ears, neck, heads or hands,” according to the old department policy.

“SPD is in a period of transition. It is essential that as we move forward with implementing the Settlement Agreement and charting a new path for SPD’s future, we recruit candidates who are ready and willing to make that transition with us” said Deputy Chief Dick Reed in a statement. “We’re looking for men and women who are committed to serving their community, and we’ll do everything we can to support their success in the application process.”

The department is also stepping up its minority recruiting efforts by partnering with a number of community groups including El Centro De La Raza, Filipino Community of Seattle, and Atlantic Street Center.

Police will also develop an ethnic media advertising plan in partnership with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, along with widespread social media recruitment outreach.

“SPD needs diverse perspectives to be able to police effectively and build bridges with the community. These changes will bring more diversity and connection with the communities they serve to the SPD,” said community leader Kip Tokuda.

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Seattle Police Department loosens pot use, tattoo rules for new recruits