LOCAL NEWS

Mayor Durkan: Council needs to pass bill addressing SPD staffing ‘as soon as possible’

Jul 29, 2021, 12:59 PM | Updated: Jul 30, 2021, 6:19 am
less lethal, seattle police, SPD staffing...
Seattle police officers at a 2018 demonstration. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced newly-proposed legislation Thursday that’s designed to ramp up the police department’s hiring, and address the city’s recent increase in gun violence.

Chief Diaz: Seattle’s next mayor ‘needs to support’ SPD

Over a 36-hour period between Sunday and Monday of this week, 10 people were shot in six separate, unrelated incidents across the city, amid a year where gun violence in the region has risen to record highs.

In the days since, both Mayor Durkan and interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz have pointed to low staffing numbers within the police department as a contributing factor. Diaz estimates that SPD has lost roughly 250 officers to retirements and departures to other police departments over the last 17 months.

Durkan’s proposal would look to address that by asking city councilmembers to reinstate $15,000 hiring bonuses for lateral transfers into SPD from other cities, as well as $7,500 bonuses for new recruits. It would also look to add other incentives, including the addition of “precinct based mental health professionals for officers.”

“We don’t need to rehash the budget debates of last year on defunding, cuts, and out of order layoffs but Chief Diaz needs to act to address the current real hiring and staffing issues while we continue to advance alternatives that are critical to reimagining policing,” Mayor Durkan said in a news release.

Mayor, SPD chief stress need to hire more officers

As Durkan points out, the proposal wouldn’t add new dollars to SPD’s 2021 budget, and would instead lift existing spending restrictions to cover hiring bonuses. A separate piece of legislation proposed earlier this week would also include a specialized civilian-led 911 triage system for non-emergency calls, civilian crime prevention coordinators, and public disclosure officers.

For Diaz, he cited it as necessary to attracting new officers to a department that has struggled to maintain its staffing levels in recent years.

“Departments across the region and the country are competing for a limited pool of exceptional individuals committed to true relational policing and public service,” he said. “As we work to address the historic staffing crisis the department is facing – we need to do all we can to be competitive with other police departments and other local employers.”

This measure will next be transmitted to city council for further discussion and an eventual vote, with Diaz and Durkan stressing the need to pass it “as soon as possible.”

Local News

Washington State University...
Associated Press

One killed, another injured in shooting near WSU campus

Police say a man has been arrested in connection with a shooting that killed one person and injured another near the Washington State University campus early Saturday morning.
18 hours ago
homeless camp...
Andrew Scheinthal, KIRO 7 News

Seattle business attempts to clear homeless camp, backtracks after advocates step in

A Seattle business is facing heat from homeless advocacy groups after they attempted to clear out an encampment off of Lake City Way.
18 hours ago
COVID, hospitals...
Nick Bowman

‘Tough few weeks ahead’ as state’s hospitals continue to struggle with flood of COVID patients

While Washington's COVID crisis has begun to stabilize in recent weeks, health officials warn that the state's hospitals are not quite out of the woods yet. 
2 days ago
Eatonville COVID outbreak...
MyNorthwest Staff

Eatonville school goes back to virtual learning over COVID outbreak

Eatonville Middle School sent students home on Friday, and will be temporarily moving back to virtual learning until at least mid-October. 
2 days ago
Amazon Bothell...
Dalton Day

Permits indicate Amazon is behind planned new warehouse in Bothell, despite denial from county

Plans for a 105,000-square-foot warehouse in Bothell named as a “fulfillment center" suggest Amazon is behind the project.
2 days ago
Employment Security, audit reports, unemployment tax, unemployment suspect...
Nick Bowman

Former state unemployment worker arrested, charged for alleged role in payment scheme

A former ESD employee was arrested and charged on Friday, for allegedly defrauding the state out of thousands in unemployment payments.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Mayor Durkan: Council needs to pass bill addressing SPD staffing ‘as soon as possible’