Seattle City Council passes ordinance offering incentives for hard-to-fill jobs, including police

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance in a 6-3 vote that will allow departments to offer relocation assistance to new hires for hard-to-fill jobs, including police officers.

The ordinance authorizes $650,000 for the Seattle Police Department to pay relocation assistance for new hires and an additional recruiter. It will also allow the department to spend $350,000 on recruitment promotions, including the search for the next police chief.

Two pieces of legislation were recently passed out of the council’s public safety committee following Mayor Bruce Harrell and two councilmembers recent announcement of plans for a unified approach to passing legislation related to hiring incentives for SPD.

Councilmember Sara Nelson proposed the resolution, which laid the groundwork for a staffing incentive program at SPD by signaling the city council’s support.

The resolution, with the help of a separate ordinance proposed by Councilmember Lisa Herbold, authorized the use of salary savings to fund staffing incentives at SPD.

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

Nelson offered an amendment to Herbold’s ordinance, which increased SPD’s recruitment advertising budget by $350,000 with support of the nationwide search for the next chief of police.

Harrell said, “Both council members 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.

“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.”