(Headline USA) Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell introduced a $2 million plan this week to recruit additional police officers just a couple of years after the city council voted to defund the Seattle Police Department’s budget.
Harrell said he will present his plan to the Seattle City Council with an “approximately $1 million price tag,” according to the Washington Examiner.
The council has already approved a separate part of the plan, which will pour another $1 million into the Seattle Police Department for retention and hiring incentives.
The plan would allow the Seattle Police Department to offer hiring incentives up to $30,000 for lateral transfers and $7,500 for new recruits, the Examiner reported. The department would also be able to reimburse applicant fees and cover the travel expenses and relocation costs of officers who are hired.
“Officers have options, like anyone else. So we are competing and we want the finest officers here,” Harrell said on Wednesday.
The Seattle Police Department has been hemorrhaging officers over the past couple of years, according to police chief Adran Diaz, who said he’s lost more than 400 officers to retirement and resignations. The department is down 372 deployable officers, he added.
“Our staffing levels currently do not allow us to ensure the high level of public safety the people of this city deserve,” Diaz said.
In 2020, the city council voted to slash the police department’s budget by about $3 million.
The result has been low morale among the officers who have stuck around, and rising crime throughout the rest of the city. In fact, crime rates have increased so dramatically over the past year that Starbucks announced it would be shutting down its Seattle location – one of its original spots – to deal with theft.
“We’re seeing unprecedented cultural division and economic trauma [in the United States],” and presented a plan to “modernize and transform the Starbucks experience in our stores and recreate an environment that is relevant, welcoming and safe.”
“In a world that is increasingly isolating and often divided, we can operate in a way that knits together the fabric of our neighborhoods,” Schulz wrote.