Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Adrian Diaz Issue
Seattle (September 13, 2021) Ahead of the Seattle City Council’s 2022 meeting on the Seattle Police Department budget, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and Police Chief Adrian Diaz released the following statement urging the Seattle City Council to support funding for a hiring and retention plan that helps our City reimagine policing while addressing the urgent staffing crisis at the Seattle Police Department.
“We don’t need to rehash the budget debates of last year on defunding, cuts, and out of order layoffs, but as a City, we need to address the real hiring and retention challenges at the Seattle Police Department,” said Mayor Durkan. “It’s a false choice to invest in alternatives or hire and retain officers to meet our current 911 response – we have shown we can invest tens of millions in new alternatives like HealthOne, civilian Community Service Officers, and prevention programs. I urge Council to approve a plan to address our staffing crisis and give the Seattle Police Department the critical resources it needs to hire and retain officers committed to community policing and public service. “
“It is essential that the Department have the tools and resources these amendments support to mitigate our staffing crisis, invest in current and future solutions, and continue to have the ability to address the on-going surge in violence,” Said Chief Adrian Diaz. “Just a few weeks ago, several members of Council expressed their concerns about our hiring and retention. I believe these amendments support many of the identified strategies to address the sources of these concerns.”
In recent months, Mayor Durkan and Chief Diaz announced $10.4 million towards resources for violence prevention, $2 million for the King County Regional Peacekeepers Collective pilot program to address the steep rise in gun violence using a public health approach, and new alternatives to sworn officers including the expansion of civilian Community Service Officers and a new specialized triage response.
On July 23, 2021 SPD and Mayor Durkan sent a $15 million plan using SPD’s allocated 2021 budget including a plan that addressed hiring and retention. By lifting the restrictions imposed by City Council, the City could create significant alternatives to 911 response and addressing gun violence including:
Additional Community Service Officer Unit in addition to hiring of six new CSOs
CSCC dispatch protocol
Regional Peacekeepers Collective
Specialized triage response
New civilians at SPD including two North Seattle crime prevention coordinators, public disclosure officers, a Bias Crimes Coordinator, and a CID Public Safety Liaison
To address ongoing hiring and retention of officers at the Seattle Police Department, SPD and Mayor Durkan proposed a series of wellness steps, incentives and hiring bonuses. This builds off the work previously done to examine retention and recruitment, including the addition of precinct based mental health professionals for officers.