The Seattle police department is offering its staff part-time jobs in a two-year pilot program, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “Over time, people have said they wished they could work part time, and that option was never available,” said one officer. “You either worked full time or you resigned.” Losing trained officers is the last thing Seattle wants, Assistant Chief James Pugel said. When an officer leaves the department, it typically takes a year to recruit and train a replacement.
Though 1,240 people expressed interest in becoming Seattle police officers at a recent job fair, only 110 remained viable applicants after the classroom and physical testing was complete. “That’s why we have to retain who we have and make the job attractive,” Pugel said. The part-time positions are one way to do that, particularly for female officers. More than 15 percent of Seattle’s officers are female, placing the city above the national average. Part-time work doesn’t benefit women alone. Those who have expressed an interest include officers considering college courses, others who have relatives needing care and those nearing retirement who would like to cut back on hours.