Seattle Restores Community Service Officer Program, Department To Recruit 12 Unarmed And Non-Commissioned Officers
Seattle is planning to restore the community service officer program of the department. It will recruit 12 unarmed and non-commissioned officers. These new officers will handle noncriminal calls and also support people to connect with social programs.
The aim of restoring the community service officer program is to free up police authorities of Seattle, allow them to concentrate more on criminal activity. These officers will enhance public safety. Among the twelve community service officers (CSOs), two officers will hold supervisors post. The CSOs will assist people to connect with city-related services from food banks to homelessness.
Police Chief Carmen Best mentioned in a statement, very happy to know that the community service officer program has restored and they will once again help police authorities in their duty to improve public safety in our neighboring region.
Council member Lorena Gonzalez- leads the Gender, Equity, Safe Communities, Education Committee and New Americans said we are delighted to see the CSO program is brought to life again and will work for our neighborhood.
The CSO program nearly worked for 33 years and was first formed in 1971, and in 2004 it was defunded.
The traditional police officer has the power to impose the law, but the CSOs will have no power to do so. The uniform and patrol vehicles of CSO will be uniquely marked to differentiate between traditional police officers.
Lisa Herbold, a Council member, mentioned the objective of this initiative is to “free up police officers to better respond to 911 calls and do other proactive policing work.” and also “help with SPD patrol staffing recruitment.”
In order to recruit CSOs, the committee will provide the fund to SPD. But before providing fund, any member of vote committee should listen to SPD on the duties and scope of CSOs, responsibility and suggestions and ways to measure the effectiveness of the program.
Assistant Chief of SPD, Adrian Diaz, will participate in the meeting, scheduled on Wednesday at 9.30 a.m. and present the SPD opinion.
However, Seattle Police spokesman mentioned the department will not comment on it or hold any interview will only do it after it has addressed the Council Committee members.
Gonzalez stated, CSOs are not traditional police officers; they will not have a gun or badge. CSOs are non-commissioned and only responsibility will be to free up police officers so that they can focus more on criminal activity and do active policing.
Role of CSOs:
The CSOs will be responsible for connecting the residents to the city’s programs like substance abuse, food access, and homelessness. Apart from this, they will also be accountable for community outreach, conflict mediation, and at-risk youth programming.
The role of CSOs is mentioned on the public job posting as ‘liaison personnel between the community and the SPD.’ The department will recruit people belonging to groups ‘currently underrepresented’ and will consider immigrants, elders, and individuals having experience in the criminal justice system.
The CSO program will work under the Collaborative Policing Bureau. A new department set expected to be formed within the new budget.
Gonzales informed the department is looking out for more candidates to work for SPD and this is not a secret anymore. People will have an opportunity to do similar police work, and this will help them in the future to step into police law enforcement work if they like to.