Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a civil emergency order this week offering signing bonuses of up to $25,000 to police officers as the city struggles to recruit new cops amidst funding cuts and low morale.
The order allows for experienced officers or dispatchers to get $25,000 as a bonus. New recruits can get a $10,000 bonus, according to local news outlet KING-5.
“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 in a statement.
Durkan’s order comes after the Seattle City Council voted 7-1 in August 2020 to defund the city’s police department by $3 million.
As a result of the city’s anti-law enforcement policies, more than 250 police officers have left their positions within the past two years, according to Durkan’s office.
The Seattle Police Officers Guild, a union representing more than 1,300 officers and sergeants, said the mayor’s attempt to bring these officers back is too little 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,” Solan continued.
“When totaled, that is just under half the department gone/unavailable in almost two years,” Sloan said. “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.”
Many of the Seattle police officers who left the department shared in their exit interviews that they felt little support and concern from city officials. They cited the city’s policies forbidding police officers from taking action against violent rioters and accused city council members of adopting a socialist agenda that put the entire city at risk.
“You could pay me twice what you’re paying me now and I would not work for Seattle under this current political mayhem, Marxist collaborations, and lack of government and police leadership,” one officer, who had been with the Seattle Police Department for more than 10 years, wrote.