Mayor Harrell, council members come to terms on SPD hiring incentive proposal

File image of a Seattle Police Department emblem.

SEATTLE — Mayor Bruce Harrell and two city council members announced plans for a unified approach to passing legislation related to hiring incentives for the Seattle Police Department on Monday.

The announcement made by Harrell, together with councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Sara Nelson, comes after his office said that he is working on a comprehensive plan to address “historic” staffing issues with SPD last week.

“My collaboration with the Mayor’s office on this topic has been focused on doing something to address recruitment issues now, not just for hiring police officers, but including critical but hard-to-fill city jobs like carpenters, truck drivers and civil engineers,” said Herbold.

Herbold’s proposed ordinance asks the Seattle Department of Human Resources to provide relocation bonuses for a variety of citywide job positions that are typically challenging to hire, with prioritization given to police officers.


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SPD would be granted $650,000 to pay for the relocation benefits for officers and to hire a recruiter who would help attract more qualified candidates to Seattle.

Nelson intends to offer an amendment to Herbold’s ordinance, which would increase SPD’s recruitment advertising and outreach budget by $350,00 and support the nationwide search process for the department’s next police chief.

Nelson is also proposing a resolution that would lay the groundwork for a staffing incentive program at SPD by signaling the city council’s support.

“Both councilmembers Nelson and Herbold understand and appreciate that we need to gain more dedicated and compassionate public servants following considerable attrition over the last few years,” said Harrell. “I hope that between these two councilmembers’ efforts, and following a robust policy debate, we can work together toward what we’re all striving for: A safe and healthy Seattle.”

Both council members’ proposals will be considered during the council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee meeting on Tuesday.

Harrell intends to present a more comprehensive recruitment strategy for SPD with specific funding recommendations to the council and general public before this summer.