Sue Rahr, SPD’s New Chief, Pledges a Stable Department and Boosted Recruiting Drive!

The new Seattle Police Department Chief, Sue Rahr, assumes her role with a focus on retaining and recruiting staff, as the department faces a shortage of over 345 officers due to ongoing staffing issues. In an exclusive interview with KOMO News, Rahr discusses her vision for the department and plans for swift action.

Previously, Rahr, a former King County Sheriff and the former Director of the State Police Academy, expressed the urgent need for leadership and crisis management in policing, stating “we’re in a crisis right now. Let’s just be honest.” Addressing concerns about Deputy Chief Eric Barden and Assistant Chief Tyrone Davis, who were both put on administrative leave last week, Rahr believes their investigations can proceed with both members returning to active duty.

To tackle staffing challenges, Rahr intends to make the application process more efficient, so prospective officers do not face cumbersome and complicated web interfaces. She aims to open up recruitment avenues to attract a larger pool of candidates and embrace flexibility in scheduling as a strategy for retaining officers. This, in turn, could create more opportunity for part-time and diverse work schedules, enhancing the appeal of the Seattle Police Department for officers seeking a family-friendly environment.

With $30,000 signing bonuses, ratified guild contracts with pay increases, and a starting salary of $103,000, Rahr is optimistic about addressing concerns of compensation and benefits for incoming and current officers. Ultimately, she aims to establish a solid foundation in the coming six months, ensuring continuity for the next chief as the Seattle Police Department works towards achieving balance, stability, and growth in the department’s ranks.