Will More Funding Make Yakima a Safer Place?
The Yakima Police Department like police agencies around the country is hoping to attract more officers to the force this year. Last year 18 officers left the local department and 1 officer so far this year. Capt. Jay Seely says many left or took early retirement because of police reform laws passed by the state legislature.
Now cities and counties are looking for ways to hire more officers
Now departments like Yakima left with vacancies say they're having a tough time replacing the officers. Senator Jeff Holy, a retired police officer is proposing legislation that would provide more funding for cities and counties to hire more officers. Seely says more funding may give the city of Yakima a better chance at competing with other departments around the state. He says for example cities like "Redmond are giving away a $25,000 hiring bonus to new officers in an attempt to lure qualified candidates to their city." He says it's a trend that's happening all around the nation.
What the state needs is more academy classes to qualify more officers asap
Seely says however what really needs to happen is the state needs to fund more academy classes every year so officers can "receive their mandatory training immediately after they are hired."
The problem right now? Police agencies like Yakima can hire officers but there's currently a 7 month wait to get the officers into the state training academy. Seely says "waiting up to 7 months is putting Washington State agencies in a difficult situation since a new recruit’s overall training takes up to one year before they are deployable contributing factors to a police agency. While the proposed legislation doesn't call for any more academy classes it does cover the cost of sending officers to the academy when the spots are available.