Amendment Would Not Have Impacted the Size of the Current Force or Resulted in Layoffs
Seattle – The following statement is attributable to Council President M. Lorena González:
“Interim Chief Diaz grossly mischaracterized my budget amendment and the record must be set straight. Interim Chief Diaz inaccurately implied that my proposed budget action would result in the firing or elimination of 101 currently-employed police officers. He also implied that the revised budget and past Council actions also “cut” currently-employed police officers. This is not true. My proposed budget action would not have impacted the Seattle Police Department’s staffing plan, budget or operations. Interim Chief Diaz is incorrect to imply that the amendment would have cut filled positions at the police department or impacted the size of the current force. The budget amendment, which did not pass, would not have cut 101 police officers from SPD. Rather, the proposed but unadopted amendment would have removed 101 vacant positions that SPD does not expect to hire in 2022 or 2023. Interim Chief Diaz knows this and regrettably implies otherwise.
“My proposed budget amendment would not have reduced the current number of officers at SPD nor would it have reduced the SPD’s plan to hire 1,357 sworn officers. The amendment would have ensured that the funding appropriated to SPD salaries in future years match what is actually needed, preventing the over-spending of taxpayer dollars on vacant positions that SPD admits it cannot and will not be able to hire in 2022 or 2023.”
SPD currently has the authority to hire 1,357 sworn officer FTEs department wide. Position authority in such a large department is typically greater than the number of deployable officers, and due to resignations, retirements, and the hiring freeze ordered by the Mayor during 2020, the department currently has much fewer officers than that. In fact, SPD believes next year they can hire and retain a maximum of 1,223 officer FTEs. Council President González’s amendment would have allowed SPD to maintain all those proposed positions and would have left an additional 33 positions for a total of 1,256 sworn officer position slots.
See SCC Insight for a useful explainer on this proposed but unadopted budget amendment.