To get a police officer to any address within seven minutes of a priority 911 call, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is expected to propose hiring 105 more officers over the next five years, the Seattle Times reports. A reorganization would smooth out inconsistent police response to emergencies, balance officers’ workloads and give them more time to work on preventing crime instead of running from one call to another, Nickels said. “This is the most significant redeployment in 30 years,” he said. “It’s putting officers where they are needed when they are needed, in addition to having new officers.”
Neighborhood police staffing is expected to be the highlight of his State of the City address today. Nickels’ plan for new officers would cost $12.2 million, or between $2 million and $2.5 million annually. Since 2005, 49 new officers have been added. The department has more than 1,200 officers. Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said the current average response time of seven minutes to highest-priority 911 calls is in line with comparable cities. But the Seattle response times vary from four to eight minutes, depending on whether it’s a busy Thursday at 5 p.m. or slow at 3 a.m. Monday. Kerlikowske hopes to negotiate new shift hours with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild so he can assign more staff to work during busier hours. Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer said officers would be assigned based on computer-generated statistics, a strategy some cities call geopolicing.