Bellevue Police Department aims to attract officers from other cities with hefty signing bonus
While the Seattle Police Department continues to face staffing problems, Bellevue is facing issues of its own, albeit on a much smaller scale.
According to Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett, BPD typically has anywhere between three to five officer vacancies at any given time. Right now, it’s “hovering” between 13-15.
“For a department our size, that’s a problem,” he told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show.
Mylett says the extra vacancies were created when several senior officers decided to retire, some of which did so unexpectedly.
In order to fill those gaps, the department is offering a $16,000 signing bonus for officers signing on from other cities. That comes with a few caveats, mandating at least two prior years as a certified peace officer, the completion of a field training program, and then going through a probationary period after being hired on.
Combined with a base pay of $100,000, the hope is that BPD can solve its staffing problem quickly.
“We’re using all the tools that we have available to us,” Chief Mylett described, noting that its efforts have come with the support of Bellevue’s City Council and city manager.
This is similar to programs other cities have employed in the past to attract new police officers. That includes Seattle, which approved a $15,000 hiring bonus for trained officers coming in from other departments in 2019. That same year, the Everett Police Department offered a $20,000 signing bonus for new hires from other cities, while both the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the Renton Police Department offered $10,000 as recently as early 2020.
Bellevue has used its $16,000 signing bonus to fill vacancies in the past as well, as part of a bid to fully staff the department that spanned nearly five years between 2015 and 2019.
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