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Mayor Announces Changes to SPD Recruitment Policy

Mayor McGinn speaks to the changes on recruiting policy at El Centro de la Raza on May 6, 2013

Mayor McGinn speaks to the changes on recruiting policy at El Centro de la Raza on May 6, 2013

This news release is from the Office of Mayor Mike McGinn

New outreach strategy and hiring standards will target diverse candidates representative of Seattle community

SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn today announced that as part of SPD 20/20:

A Vision for the Future, new recruitment policies and outreach strategies have been adopted to encourage more diversity among Seattle Police Department officers.

“When we announced SPD 20/20, we promised to do everything possible to make sure we’re recruiting new officers for our police force who reflect the diversity and values of the community they serve” said Mayor McGinn. “We project that in the next 5 years we will hire more than 300 police officers to replace officers who will be completing their careers. We are determined to make the most of this opportunity to shape the police department of the future.”

The mayor also announced the next round of testing for new officers – the test will be conducted on July 13th, with enrollment opening May 6th. Interested applicants can attend a workshop tonight at the Filipino Community of Seattle from 5:30-7:30. More information can be found on community workshops at SPD’s new recruitment website

“SPD is in a period of transition. It is essential that as we move forward with implementing the Settlement Agreement and charting a new path for SPD’s future, we recruit candidates who are ready and willing to make that transition with us” said Assistant Chief Dick Reed. “We’re looking for men and women who are committed to serving their community, and we’ll do everything we can to support their success in the application process.”

Policy changes and initiatives affecting recruitment include:

  • Elimination of $25 application fee
  • Partnerships with community-based organizations including Atlantic Street Center, Filipino Community of Seattle and El Centro De La Raza
  • Community based workshops to prepare candidates for testing
  • New advertising and recruitment materials based on community input
  • Changes to the minimum hiring standards policy including:
    • Marijuana policy has been updated to require that new hires have not used marijuana in the past year, rather than fewer than 25 times overall
    • Elimination of some clauses under Traffic Record that may have unnecessarily disqualified applicants
    • Changes in Professional Appearances standards regarding tattoos, scarification, and elimination of the policy regarding dental ornamentation. Tattoos and scarification will now be reviewed on a case by case basis.
    • Additional context included for applicants: during the background investigation process SPD is interested in learning greater detail about challenges applicants may have faced, as well as the lessons the applicant has learned and the changes the applicant has made as a result. This context will be included in the review process
  • Strategic ethnic media advertising plan in partnership with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
  • Full redesign of website designed to make application process more accessible
  • Recruitment outreach through social media

“I’m proud to have been a part of this effort” said community leader Kip Tokuda. “SPD needs diverse perspectives to be able to police effectively and build bridges with the community. These changes will bring more diversity and connection with the communities they serve to the SPD.”

Application  for the July 13th entry-level police exam opened today. Find out more at