GEE AND URSULA

Mayor Harrell: Seattle needs ‘comprehensive’ plan to bring in new police officers

Mar 25, 2022, 12:43 PM | Updated: 3:30 pm

As the Seattle Police Department has continued to struggle with low staffing and high turnover amid growing concerns over public safety, Mayor Bruce Harrell believes that bringing more officers into the fold will require a multi-faceted approach in the months ahead.

Mayor Harrell unveils plan to ramp up police presence downtown amid surge in violence

Currently, SPD has over 900 sworn officers on duty, well short of its goal of having between 1,400 and 1,600. And while offering hiring bonuses was a sizable focus of the previous mayoral administration, Harrell believes those types of financial incentives are a small piece of a larger puzzle.

“The notion of incentive bonuses has come up — I’m not fully convinced that is the enticer,” he told KIRO Newsradio’s Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin. “We’re talking to the officers themselves and talking to public safety advocates. What is it that motivates you? Is it being on a great team, being appreciated, being respected, having the opportunity to build trust in schools with children?”

“What we’re looking at is a comprehensive package that we’ll develop before the budget,” he added. “We want to know that.”

And as Harrell pointed out, based on his own conversations with officers, “sometimes it’s not the money, it’s the other intangibles.”

So, what will entice officers to come to Seattle from other departments? Harrell says the city itself should be a significant selling point.

“This is still a phenomenal city,” he noted. “You want an industry, whether it’s high-tech, or biotech, or maritime, or port, or manufacturing, we have it here; freshwater, saltwater, mountains. We compete because we are the best city in this country and that’s not me being an evangelist, that’s just data.”

As for the officers who either left the department or were terminated as part of the COVID vaccine mandate for city employees, Harrell expressed that hiring them back is not currently under consideration.

“On the vaccine issue, I believe that we mandated it for a reason,” he explained. “I understand why someone may not want it and I support our first responders, make no mistake about this, but I think the data and the science would suggest that the vaccine is the way to go, and so I expect to lead by example.”

Seattle continues to struggle with police staffing, increase in crime

“I’m going to make this clear too, I don’t beg police officers to come back — I’m not in the begging business,” Harrell added. “We’re giving you an opportunity to protect and serve, if that’s what you want to do, in one of the greatest cities.”

That said, the mayor acknowledged concerns among many departing officers who have cited low morale and a lack of support from city hall as a reason for leaving the department, while stressing that improving morale is a two-way street.

“There’s one thing you have control of — you know what that is? Your own attitude, your own morale,” Harrell said. “When organizations say, ‘Well, we’ve got a morale problem,’ that’s something you have control over every single day you get out the bed. You have the ability to control your own attitude.”

“So I’m not begging officers to come back,” he clarified. “I’m inspiring them to come back.”

Listen to Mayor Harrell’s full conversation with Gee and Ursula: 

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

parking...
Dalton Day

Pierce County executive vetoes safe parking policy citing skirt of community feedback process

A measure to designate additional parking facilities for homeless communities in Pierce County has been struck down.
13 days ago
pot...
MyNorthwest Staff

City leaders lobby Congress to relax pot shop banking laws amid recent spate of armed robberies

Seattle city leaders called on Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would allow pot stores to access traditional banking services.
20 days ago
rates...
MyNorthwest Staff

Economist: ‘Particular concern’ for first-time homeowners amid rising mortgage rates

Prospective homeowners might be wondering if now is the right time to buy before interest rates get raised.
23 days ago
Cars at Pike Place Market...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Local officials attempt to kick out ‘Pike Street Drummer’ Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson, a street jazz drummer often performing at Pike Place Market, is facing the wrath of nearby residents who want him and his music gone after years of bringing entertainment to the area
25 days ago
COVID vaccine students...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Reykdal: Board of Health ‘landed in right place’ by not mandating COVID vaccine for students

Superintendent Chris Reykdal explains the reason behind the Board of Health not requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for students this fall. 
1 month ago
Trygve (The Gee and Ursula Show)...
MyNorthwest Staff

‘Not enough to just say ‘no’ to drugs:’ Bereaved Mukilteo mother on the need for fentanyl education

A mother who lost a son to an accidental Fentanyl overdose calls on the Mukilteo School District to improve their drug education curriculum.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Mayor Harrell: Seattle needs ‘comprehensive’ plan to bring in new police officers