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Seattle Police Department reveals plan to shift officers from specialty units to emergency patrol

The Seattle Police Department is shifting 100 officers from specialty units to the emergency division to improve 911 response times.

The Seattle Police Department and Mayor Jenny Durkan announced this week that 100 officers would be reassigned from specialty units to the 911 division, in an effort to improve emergency response times. 

"We will continue to deliver comprehensive police services, with our focus on preventing and responding to crimes in the community," Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz said Wednesday. 

Now SPD has revealed which specialty units will be affected.

According to the police blotter, here are the number of officers being reassigned from their divisions: 

  • Precinct Community Police Team (CPT) officers/sergeants: 29                
  • Traffic and TCI Detectives/officers/sergeants: 21       
  • Precinct Burg/Theft Detectives/sergeants: 20   
  • Community Outreach officers: 2                              
  • Crisis Intervention/SHA Liaison officers: 4         
  • Drug Court Detective: 1                                            
  • DV Unit Detectives: 5        
  • Intelligence Unit Detectives: 5   
  • Narcotics Detectives: 1               

The SPD blotter reports, "In addition to these 88 officers resuming responsibilities in Patrol, the department is also forming the Community Response Group, made up of 100 officers and 10 sergeants whose priority will be to address the increased response times to 911 calls throughout the city."

RELATED: Seattle Police Department shifting resources to improve response time, engage with community

Citing that they have "consistently heard" from Seattle residents wanting to see officers more and have them respond to calls faster, the city's police department started the process of adding more than 100 personnel to the 911 response team.

The department will re-assign resources in order to accomplish its goal, which also includes increasing the time officers get to "know neighbors and working with them to solve issues leading to criminal behavior." 

"In recent weeks, every day we have seen the demands placed on patrol - from working in the community throughout the COVID-19 crisis to responding to on-going civil unrest," a blog post from Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz reads.

The department is working with the Seattle Police Officers Guild and affected personnel. The anticipated start date for the re-assigned officers and supervisors is Sept. 16. 

"Everyone in the department has been doing amazing work," Diaz wrote. "Patrol has been asked to continue to respond to a growing number of issues without additional resources. We begin to address that today. We will continue to deliver comprehensive police services, with our focus on preventing and responding to crimes in the community."

Diaz said the reassigned officers will largely come from community policing, traffic enforcement, and similar units, rather than from those focused on violent crime, sexual assault, or domestic violence. 

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the reassignments lay the "ground work" for future changes, with the intention of improving community interaction and ensuring the next generation of police serve the city in appropriate ways. She said she believes the city council will support the changes being made.

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