Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn will include funding for 15 additional police officers in his 2014 budget. At a morning news conference today, McGinn said those numbers are in addition to the officers he said, after the downtown shooting of a Metro bus driver in August, that he would add next year.
McGinn said the 42 new officers will be recruited in partnership with community groups to ensure they reflect the diversity of the city.
“People want to know their officers, they want to see their officers on the street,” the mayor said.
The number of Seattle police officers in service has fallen from 1,300 in the first quarter of 2011 to 1,233 in the second quarter of 2013, according to a staff analysis prepared by the City Council. Hiring was frozen in 2010 and 2011 because of city budget cuts. The numbers also have fallen because of retirements and officers leaving the force.
The Downtown Seattle Association in July called for hiring additional officers to address downtown crime. “In the year 2000, there were 2.24 officers for every 1,000 Seattle residents compared to just 2.07 for every 1,000 residents today,” a letter from the group said. It was signed by 40 downtown business and hospitality leaders.
The mayor also released a new Code of Ethics for the Police Department that new recruits will be required to study and sign. The code includes the pledge to treat people fairly and act in good faith, work toward racial and social justice for all, listen to what other people are saying, ask questions and consider their concerns, and reduce harm to communities and individuals.