In this photo taken March 2, 2016, Seattle Police officer Eric Pisconski, of SPD's crisis response unit, responds to a call in Seattle.
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In this photo taken March 2, 2016, Seattle Police officer Eric Pisconski, of SPD's crisis response unit, responds to a call in Seattle.
Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Seattle is losing police officers. There's a $1.6 million plan to fix that

Seattle's police department is losing officers faster than any time in the past six years, going back to 2012.

Ten percent of Seattle police personnel quit in 2018, according to a new SPD report out Tuesday about police hiring, retention and recruitment.

"Looking at our data we found that we were seeing a significant number in the amount of resignations from our patrol officers, particularly those in their first five years of employment," said Kathryn Aisenberg, who works in the city's Budget Office and helped conduct a study of officers over the past six months.

The report found that the majority of officers who quit still work in law enforcement, and left SPD for another department in Washington state. Also, many officers who left were young and/or early in their police career.

Another problematic trend in the report is the low number of new police recruits.

City of Seattle data shows it takes an average 184 days between application and hiring for police candidates. The slow pace is one of the reasons blamed for low officer recruitment and retention in Seattle.
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City of Seattle data shows it takes an average 184 days between application and hiring for police candidates. The slow pace is one of the reasons blamed for low officer recruitment and retention in Seattle.


Just as the report is being made public, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best are proposing a $1.6 million package in the 2020 budget to help fix the officer shortage.

It would fund 12 initiatives in recruitment and retention, all of which came recommended in the new police retention report.

Among the proposals: give bonuses to officers who refer successful candidates, change the work week to four days on/three days off, speed up the hiring process, and clear officers' records of any accusation against them that went unfounded.

This post will be updated.