Seattle’s police union is lambasting the city's mayor for granting up to $25,000 hiring bonuses for police officers as part of a last-ditch attempt to amend staffing shortages brought on by the defund the police movement and exacerbated by the COVID-19 vaccine mandate before she leaves office next year.
Mayor Jenny Durkan, who is not seeking a second term, issued an executive order Friday creating an immediate incentive program for the hiring of 911 dispatchers and police officers, citing a "civil emergency" as staffing shortages have worsened with the onset of the vaccine mandate, Fox News reports.
The order allows the Seattle Police Department to offer police officer candidates a hiring incentive of up to $25,000, depending on experience and training level, to be paid after beginning employment. New recruits may be given up to a $10,000 incentive, half of which will be paid in the first appropriate paycheck and the second half to come upon the completion of a probation period.
The Seattle Police Officers Guild, representing some 1,300 officers and sergeants, argued that the move is too little, too late for the mayor and other politicians the union accuses of "politically betraying" the police department as riots broke out after George Floyd’s death.
"The result of this betrayal has caused 350 police officers to flee Seattle since the riots. Many of these former police employees left for lower paying agencies just to escape Seattle’s toxic political climate," Mike Solan, president of the union, said in a statement. "We also have another 100 officers now off the street due to the Mayor’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate and another 130 officers currently unavailable for service who are out on extended leave. When totaled, that is just under half the department gone/unavailable in almost two years. Seattle’s current police staffing crisis was caused by our current politicians and sadly it all could’ve been avoided. This political betrayal will forever be their legacy."