In 2019, Seattle Police Department Hired Highest Percentage of People of Color in its History

2019, Seattle Police Department Hired 108 Officers, 39 Percent of Whom Are
People of Color

“This is My Neighborhood” Campaign to Hire and Recruit Local Officers

Seattle (February 24, 2020) – Standing
alongside officers and community members at Hing Hay Park in the
Chinatown-International District, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and Police Chief Carmen
Best lauded the Seattle Police Department’s 2019 hiring data. The Seattle
Police Department (SPD) hired 108 officers in 2019, which is the highest number
of officers hired in over a decade at the department. Of those 108 hires, 39
percent were people of color, which is the highest percentage of people of
color hired in single year in the department’s history. On December 31, 2019,
SPD had 1,369 total sworn officers, plus 56 recruits who were either in the
Academy or waiting for a spot in the Academy. In 2020, SPD continues its
positive trend in recruitment, and has hired 11 officers as of January 31.

To continue this positive trend, SPD launched the new
“This is My Neighborhood” campaign to hire and recruit local officers. “This is
My Neighborhood” continues the City’s work to advance hiring, recruitment, and
retention at the Seattle Police Department. Last year, the City released the 2019
Recruitment & Hiring Retention Workgroup report
, which outlines 12 key
strategies the City can take to recruit and retain more police officers
dedicated to reform and true community policing.

“Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the
country over the last decade, but our police department has not grown
proportionally, and we’re working hard to catch up. In 2020, we’re a big city
with big city challenges, and we need a robust police department with officers
committed to true, community policing,” said Mayor Durkan. “With this new
campaign, we’re doubling down on our work to hire new officers who represent
the diverse communities we serve. The Seattle Police Department is the best in
the country, and we’ll continue to lead the way in hiring women and people of

“The Seattle Police Department is committed to the ideal
that we are a part of the community, not apart from the community. It is so
important we continue to highlight the great work our hiring unit is doing to
build a diverse department that represents, and connects, with the communities
we serve. The goal for the team at SPD focused on this project was to tell the
stories of department employees with strong connections to neighborhoods across
the city. These billboards, and the storytelling associated with them, is the
next step in showcasing the amazing work the department has done to hit
historic hiring and diversity numbers. I want to thank Mayor Durkan and the
City Council for supporting our hiring initiatives,” said Seattle Police Chief
Carmen Best.

“A police department that reflects Seattle’s
diversity is a primary pillar of our effort to grow the number of officers
available to serve. The Council supported recruitment in the 2020 budget by
providing funding to implement the Recruitment & Hiring Retention work
group and we’re requesting monthly updates on progress toward meeting 2020
hiring goals. The Council has increased funding for the Seattle Police
Department by $110 million over the last four years,” said Councilmember
Lisa Herbold (District
1, West Seattle/South Park

By the end of 2018, SPD lost a net of 41 officers, which
caused the Mayor and Chief to research and revamp the department’s hiring and
recruitment practices. However, this experience is not unique to Seattle;
America’s growing officer shortage is a recognized national crisis. As the
nation’s population has increased, the number of sworn officers has failed to
keep pace. From 1997 to 2016, the total U.S. population increased by 21
percent, but the number of full-time sworn officers in law enforcement
increased by eight percent.

In 2019, the City released the 2019
Recruitment & Hiring Retention Workgroup report
, which outlined 12 key
initiatives to improve hiring, recruitment, and retention at SPD. The City’s
2020 Adopted Budget includes $1.2 million to fund and operationalize these initiatives.

The “This is My Neighborhood” billboard seeks to expand
the size and diversity of the police force. Through this effort SPD will tell
the stories of 12 officers between February 2020 and February 2021. Each month
a different officer will be the focus of social media stories, video
storytelling and appear on a neighborhood billboard. These 12 employees come
from a broad representation of positions throughout the department – including
patrol and other specialty units.

Officer Judinna Gulpan, the first officer featured in the
“This is My Neighborhood” campaign, says a career in law enforcement never
crossed her mind until a few years ago. Officer Gulpan, who was born in the
Philippines and grew up in Southern California, was focused on two things while
attending college in Hawaii: being a member of the school’s competition
cheerleading team and her fashion advertising and marketing degree. That love
for fashion led to incredible jobs in Hawaii, Hong Kong and eventually the
Seattle-area. Though she enjoyed her work, she says she wanted to find
something where she could help people and give back to her new community. She
met with a Seattle Police Department recruiter and is  now part of the
downtown Community Police Team. To learn more about Officer Gulpan, please take
a look at her department biography and corresponding

For more information on SPD’s recruitment and hiring
initiatives, including information on how to apply to become an officers, visit


Author: Seattle