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City Council Approves Mayor Ferrell's Public Safety Plan

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - 1:00pm

CITY HALL

33325 8th Avenue South

Federal Way, WA 98003

Media Contact: Steve McNey | Mayor’s Office

(253) 835-2402

Steve.McNey@cityoffederalway.com

 October 20th, 2021

For immediate release:

City Council Approves Mayor Jim Ferrell’s Public Safety Plan

Federal Way, WA – Last night, the Federal Way City Council unanimously approved Mayor Jim Ferrell’s public safety plan, which included the approval of 13 new Police Officers positions. Federal Way’s is now at an historic high of 150 budgeted Police Officers and is rapidly recruiting to fill and staff those spots.

“Public Safety is the number one priority of my Administration and as Mayor I must do everything within my power to keep Federal Way safe,” said Mayor Jim Ferrell.  “Last night, our City took a major step in providing the resources needed to keep our residents safe and to deter crime.  I would like to thank the City Council for their thoughtful discussion and commitment to our community” Ferrell continued.

 Federal Way’s population and calls for service support an authorized strength of 150 police officers.  150 officers would be 1.49 per thousand, based on last year’s population of 101,030.

In addition to adding police officers, two additional specialists will be hired in order to maintain the current level of service to the public.  The increased number of sworn officers and the additional expectations of the public mandate that the Records Section keeps pace with its internal staffing.

Allocation of 13 Additional Police Officers (137 to 150)

By adding the new positions, PD will be able to add:

  • 6 officers to patrol, one to each of the six patrol squads
  • 4 officers to form a pro-act unit
  • 2 officers to Special Operations Unit (SOU)
  • 1 officer to the Traffic unit

Patrol is the first pillar of local public safety.  They are on duty, in uniform 24/7/365.  Adding six officers to patrol puts more police on the streets in neighborhoods, responding to 911 calls and deterring crime. 

Pro-act.  This unit is made up of officers with different titles and functions.  They constantly supplement each other in order to accomplish the various functions.  Pro-act is part of the Special Investigations Unit, responsible for gang suppression, highway/downtown patrol, narcotics investigations and drug houses, neighborhood complaints of criminal activity, asset seizure management, adult business monitoring, and prostitution prevention enforcement. 

We have not had the “pro-act” portion of this unit since 2007.  Impacts of this force reduction include:  the unit’s response time to complaints being reduced, sometimes taking several weeks before a complaint can be evaluated.  In addition, the officers do not spend as much time on each complaint.  The current reduced size of the unit prohibits it from doing proactive, crime prevention activities, as well as operations like “John” stings.  Four more officers will restore the unit to a more effective group.

SOU (Special Operations Unit):  This unit of six police officers was created at the end of 2009 to address increasing violence in and around the Sound Transit Center in the downtown core.  A patrol shift (the fourth/”power” shift) was dissolved in order to provide staffing for this unit.  SOU was intended to provide bicycle patrol in the downtown core and City parks.  They established relationships with business owners and retailers in the area.  They work closely with the SafeCity program.  The presence of SOU resulted in a significant decrease of crime in the downtown core. 

The Costs of the approved program are:

Salary + benefits for 13 police officers$1,275,378.  That is $98,106 per officer for the first year ($73,764 B-step salary + $24,342 benefits).  All entry-level officers are hired at A-step.  We chose a B-step average for this estimate because lateral officers are hired at a step commensurate with their years of law enforcement experience. 

Salary + benefits for two records specialists:  $126,386.  That is $45,792 yearly salary plus $17,401 benefits = $63,193 x 2 employees.

Equipment & uniforms + BLEA registration for entry officers:  $183,000.  $13,000 + $3,400 = $16,400 per officer.  $131,200 for 8 entry officers + $52,000 for 4 lateral officers.

Hiring bonus:  $98,000.  Our proposed hiring bonus is $20,000 for lateral officers and $2,000 for entry-level officers.  Based on our normal hiring rates, we estimate four of the 13 may be laterals ($80,000) and nine will be entry ($18,000). 

Fully equipped patrol vehicle:  $962,000.  $74,000 each for 13 vehicles.  This includes the vehicle, FWPD markings, installation of police radio and other items, IT equipment, and police equipment.

The police department needs 15 more police vehicles (beyond the 13 listed above) to accommodate existing police staff.  Most of our comparable agencies have take-home cars.  This is an important issue for recruiting and retention.  We request those 15 vehicles here.  Total cost:  $1,110,000.