The long-delayed report on officer-staffing bolsters Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to add 200 officers to the Seattle Police Department. There is already mention of a property-tax levy to pay for new hires.
The Seattle Police Department released a long-awaited report on its staffing needs Friday, bolstering Mayor Ed Murray’s goal of adding 200 cops between 2014 and 2020.
The report by consultants Berkshire Advisors, completed about a year later than expected, recommends growing the force by more than 100 officers.
That recommendation is based on 2015 staffing levels, and the Murray administration has added some officers since then.
When Murray took office in 2014, the mayor promised to add 100 officers by 2018, the end of his first term. The force is now about 50 officers larger than it was then.
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During his State of the City address last month, Murray set the new goal of 200 officers by 2020, assuming he wins a second term.
“This report confirms what we have known for some time: that we need more officers on the street engaged in proactive policing to protect our neighborhoods,” Murray said Friday in a statement.
During his February speech, the mayor said the department is the largest it has ever been but strained nonetheless. He mentioned property crime as a problem.
He said he would be sending a proposal to the City Council to pay for the additional increase.
Murray said hiring “will require the city to raise taxes.” One possibility would be a new property-tax levy.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, in a letter presenting the report to Murray, said the staffing recommendations were driven by two key goals: one is for the department to respond to top-priority calls within seven minutes at least 90 percent of the time; the other is for equal resources to be dedicated to emergency responses and crime prevention.
Murray didn’t address the delay in completing the report, for which the council allocated up to $500,000.
Last month, he said 30 percent of the department’s recent hires have been people of color.