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The original item was published from 3/23/2022 1:31:10 PM to 5/1/2022 12:00:18 AM.

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Police: News

Posted on: March 23, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Update: Police Staffing Levels

A message from Interim Chief Paula Schwan:

I was appointed your Interim Police Chief in November of 2021. I felt it was important to explain how I became the Interim Police Chief and what precipitated that. IPD’s command staff includes a Chief of Police and two Commanders. One commander had left to go to another agency, and the previous chief had retired. At that time, I had all the necessary working knowledge of IPD to run the agency and therefore became the Interim Police Chief.

IPD like so many other law enforcement agencies across King County and across the nation was suffering from significant staffing shortages.

Regardless of the challenges, it was my mission to reverse course and build our department back up, raise morale and get us on a positive trajectory.

One of the first things I did as Interim Chief was to reassure our existing staff that I had a plan for our agency and this City. I made it clear that I was committed, motivated and goal-oriented, and asked them to trust the processes I was putting into place to recruit and hire only the very best for our department. I also needed to retain our officers, who, despite many challenges, care deeply about the city they serve.  

In recruiting top-tier talent for our department, all civilian and commissioned staff must go through a rigorous background investigation. Past practice was to use an outside company to do this type of work. Because so many police agencies were suffering staffing shortages, there was a bottle neck at backgrounding agencies.

To get around this log jam, I chose to hire a retired King County Sheriff’s (KCSO) Sergeant with 32 years of experience to help with our hiring and background process. I hired her on a temporary basis as the Patrol Operations Commander and asked her to focus on nothing but hiring. She came highly recommended and was familiar with hiring, training and retaining only the very best candidates. During her tenure with KCSO, she trained over 100 recruits. Since bringing her on board we have hired 15 highly qualified employees.  

We are now at a point where our jail and our communications center are nearly fully staffed again. In addition to this, I hope to select our new records supervisor soon. I have also posted a job announcement for a new position — Crime Analyst.  A Crime Analyst will be a tremendous asset as we move forward with new and innovative crime fighting tools.

The mission is to keep progressing, stay innovative and to continue to push our agency into 21st century policing, while maintaining our level of service and call response! It’s been a busy four months and I am proud of the progress we have made. The men and women of IPD continue to give our community everything they have, and I appreciate their belief in me.

Stay tuned for more IPD updates.

Thank you all for your support,

Interim Chief Paula Schwan