SPD gets dollars for hiring bonuses, talent recruitment

Aug 17, 2022, 9:52 AM
FILE - A Seattle Police vehicle sits parked at Hing Hay Park on March 18, 2021, in Seattle. Seattle...

FILE - A Seattle Police vehicle sits parked at Hing Hay Park on March 18, 2021, in Seattle. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced a $2 million plan Wednesday, July 13, 2022, for dealing with what he described as a critical shortage of police officers in the city, including recruitment bonuses and possible tuition assistance. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) will start offering signing bonuses to new and lateral hires in an attempt to onboard 500 more sworn officers by 2027.

Tuesday, Aug. 16, the Seattle City Council passed a bill, sponsored by the mayor’s office, that affords the SPD the authority to issue one-time cash bonuses of $7,500 for new hires and $30,000 for lateral transfers.

Seattle Mayor Harrell commits to hiring 500 SPD officers by 2027

The legislation is retroactively taking effect as of July 13, 2022.

A number of additional provisions to jump-start the SPD’s hiring process are included: namely, the legislation grants the SPD funding to establish a new recruitment manager, two recruiters, and an administrative role to administer entrance exams.

The bill passed on a 6-3 margin, with Councilmembers Kshama Sawant, Tammy Morales, and Teresa Mosqueda opposed.

The council proposed three amendments to Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrel’s package: sunsetting the authorization in December of 2024, removing eligibility for reinstated officers, and acknowledging that some aspects of the legislation will be subject to collective bargaining with police unions.

“Council’s approval of Mayor Harrell’s recruitment and retention plan is a welcome acknowledgment that Seattle needs to rebuild its police department and take public safety seriously,” a spokesperson for the Downtown Seattle Association wrote in a statement.

“Downtown workers, residents, businesses, and visitors deserve to feel safe and secure, and enacting this plan is a fundamental step in the right direction. In the meantime, city leaders must stay focused on addressing the immediate safety concerns of our city.”

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SPD gets dollars for hiring bonuses, talent recruitment