Seattle Police Detective Bob Shilling hopes to be packing his belongings and moving to France by the end of December for the opportunity of a lifetime - to run the Crimes Against Children Group for Interpol. But a glitch in who will cover his living expenses is threatening to kill the deal.
Interpol, based in Lyon, France, is the largest crime fighting organization in the world. Several months ago, the agency offered Shilling a three-year assignment coordinating efforts by the agency’s 190 member countries to fight the exploitation of children worldwide.
Mayor Mike McGinn agreed to let Shilling go and to continue paying his salary and benefits while he was abroad. A request was made to the Department of Justice to cover Shilling’s living expenses, set by Interpol at $200,000 for three years. The Department of Justice said no.
Shilling said the problem is that he is the only municipal police officer ever to be offered a position on Interpol. The job is usually reserved for federal police officers representing their member countries. Because he’s not a federal employee, Shilling said the U.S. Department of Justice balked at paying his living expenses. Now the Seattle Police Foundation is scrambling to raise the money.
Shilling said the City of Seattle must give Interpol a guarantee his living expenses will be covered to the tune of $200,000 for the three year assignment, or they will withdraw the job offer. Interpol originally demanded a guarantee by Dec. 1, but extended the deadline to Jan. 1.
“I’m still hopeful we’ll be able to pull this off,” Shilling said. “Citizens here in Seattle and all over the world believe combating child exploitation should be a priority."
During his two decades leading the sex and kidnapping unit of the Seattle Police Department, Shilling made hundreds of arrests, and set up a program of community notifications, alerting residents about sex offenders moving into their neighborhoods. Other cities followed suit and he became a nationally sought expert.
It’s personal to him. Shilling said he was sexually abused by his grandfather when he was a child. Now he works to help victims of sex crimes.
“I tell them that they were a child. This was an adult. This was somebody who knew better. They abused their power and authority. You did nothing wrong,” he said.
The Seattle Police Foundation said donations to support Det. Shilling are tax deductible and can be made at http://seattlepolicefoundation.org