August 27, 2008

Seattle Police Considering 28 of 750 N.Y. Applicants

Special to the Sun

Twenty-eight New Yorkers are in the application process for jobs in the Seattle Police Department, down from the 750 who signed up to apply in the city's recruitment drive, a spokeswoman for the department said.

Of the 28, the spokeswoman said, just six are current or former members of the New York City Police Department. "There's a little bit of a misunderstanding that we were targeting NYPD officers," a Seattle City Council member and chairman of the public safety committee who oversees the Seattle Police Department, Timothy Burgess, said. "In reality, we were targeting graduates from John Jay College. We weren't trying to steal NYPD officers. But we do have a very aggressive recruitment policy."

The Seattle Police Department spokeswoman said that only 250 of the 750 New Yorkers who signed up for the written and physical test in April showed up. Of the 69 who passed, 17 are now assigned for background checks, which take between three to six months on average, and another 11 are eligible to be assigned for background checks.

In April, the department launched a widespread recruitment campaign in New York City, including a billboard on the West Side Highway near 54th Street touting "A Job Like No Other" and advertisements on bus shelters around the city. The recruitment section of the Seattle police's Web site also points out that Seattle has a lower average rainfall than New York.

At the time of the recruitment drive, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, said: "Significantly higher top pay offered by the Seattle Police Department is very likely to attract fully trained and experienced members of the NYPD."

The police department's chief spokesman, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, said it is not unusual for police forces to try to recruit candidates from New York. "It's the nation's largest city, a very diverse population. Other cities have tried, too," he said.

Dallas and Washington, D.C., have also recruited police officers in New York City.

A spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Albert O'Leary, said he was not surprised that so few New York police officers had decided to move to Seattle, despite Mr. Lynch's warnings. "You don't have to travel 3,000 miles away to earn more than the NYPD earns," he said. "Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Port Authority Police, the New York State Police, they all earn more.