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Seattle mayor orders hiring bonuses up to $25,000 for police

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 11/2/2021 Elizabeth Faddis
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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a civil emergency order offering bonuses to potential hires for the city's police department as a way to tackle staffing shortages.

The order, which offers incentives through the end of the year, allows for experienced officers or dispatchers to get $25,000 as a bonus and a $10,000 bonus to new recruits with the Seattle Police Department or the Community Safety and Communications Center, KING 5 reported.

"The City of Seattle strives to maintain a highly qualified, diverse, and engaged first responders for public safety and emergency services to meet the complex demands of the Seattle communities," Durkan said.

Within the past two years more than 250 officers have left their positions with the department, the Democrat's office said.

The Seattle City Council has a deadline of the end of the day Monday to decide whether to go ahead with the mayor's hiring bonuses, according to KIRO 7.

Durkan's order comes after the Seattle City Council voted 7-1 in August 2020 to cut funds from the department's $400 million annual budget by $3 million.

The Seattle Police Officers Guild, representing more than 1,300 officers and sergeants, criticized the mayor's order as coming too late.

"The result of this betrayal has caused 350 police officers to flee Seattle since the riots. Many of these former police employees left for lower-paying agencies just to escape Seattle’s toxic political climate," Mike Solan, president of the union, said in a statement, according to Fox News. "We also have another 100 officers now off the street due to the Mayor’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate and another 130 officers currently unavailable for service who are out on extended leave. When totaled, that is just under half the department gone/unavailable in almost two years. Seattle’s current police staffing crisis was caused by our current politicians and sadly it all could’ve been avoided. This political betrayal will forever be their legacy."

Durkan's order also cites the coronavirus pandemic.

The city's "public safety departments have been unable to keep pace with the record-setting attrition in 2020 and the first half of 2021," the mayor said.

"When residents call 911, they expect an officer to show up — and when they call the 911 emergency line, they expect that someone will answer the phone," Durkan said. "Hiring, recruiting, and training takes months, and we need to act now to ensure we can have trained and deployable staff."

HOLD DEMOCRATS ACCOUNTABLE FOR INSURRECTION AGAINST SEATTLE CAPITOL HILL POLICE PRECINCT

In 2020, Seattle recorded the highest number of murders within the past 26 years and the city has continued to experience a rise in crime and violence into this year. Durkan's order addresses the increase in violence, saying the city reported a 35% increase of to-date "shots fired incidents" compared to 2020, and a 76% increase in to-date gunfire incidents from 2019.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, requiring all state employees, education, and healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. Under the mandate, workers are allowed to opt out if they receive a medical or religious exemption. Ahead of the deadline, the department said it had roughly 403 employees who had not yet submitted proof of their vaccination status out of the 1,433 officers and 631 employees in the department.

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The Washington Examiner reached out to Durkan's office for a statement but did not immediately receive a response.

 

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Tags: News, Seattle, Police, Coronavirus, Jay Inslee

Original Author: Elizabeth Faddis

Original Location: Seattle mayor orders hiring bonuses up to $25,000 for police

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