TACOMA, Wash. —
Alaska State Troopers made a rare out-of-state recruiting trip to Washington state.
The department is capitalizing on the political climate and issues like the vaccine mandate to encourage Washington state officers to make the move up north.
The in-person recruiting event was held Saturday inside America’s Car Museum in Tacoma. Alaska State Troopers made a pitch that their state is open for business.
“If they want to see a difference, come to Alaska. We aren’t having those same types of issues. The environment is a lot more law enforcement friendly and we’ll treat you right. We want you to come,” said Sgt. Bryce Weight of the Alaska State Troopers.
“They’re concerned about the COVID vaccine mandates, they are concerned about being told not to do their jobs,” Weight continued.
The department knows many agencies in western Washington have lost officers, and they’re pitching Alaska as a replacement, offering as much as $20,000 in signing bonuses for lateral transfers — plus another incentive.
“The Alaska State Troopers does not have a vaccine mandate and we do not expect to have one,” Weight said.
Washington State Patrol lost more than 100 officers when the vaccine mandate took effect in October. The Seattle Police Department is also grappling with officer losses, operating at emergency staffing levels.
"I’ve always said we need 1,400 officers. Currently, in the department, we are right now deployable around 1,015. We have a number of officers out on leave. And we need to grow the department," Seattle Police Department’s Interim Chief Adrian Diaz told KING 5 Thursday.
The Alaska State Troopers have a similar goal – positions they hope to fill with Washington state officers that are willing to make a move to the so-called last frontier.
“Hopefully they stay in law enforcement, hopefully, they take a look at us and decide this is something that is possible, this is something that would benefit me and my family and is going to benefit law enforcement somewhere at least and hopefully, that somewhere is Alaska,” Weight said.