SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward is inviting police officers who were laid off in other cities that downsized their departments to come work in Spokane.
"Other cities have taken a much swifter, more aggressive approach that has abruptly displaced officers and downsized departments," Woodward wrote on her Facebook Tuesday night. "To officers who have lost jobs, Spokane has a message for you: we're hiring."
The Seattle City Council recently voted to cut the city's police budget as a part of police reform efforts in the city, which could result in job losses for 100 officers.
"We are looking for people who will put safety at the center of all of our efforts. The safety of our community, people officers encounter, and our officers who are part of those interactions," Woodward wrote.
Woodward also talked about the city's ongoing conversations surrounding police reform.
"We're approaching the reform discussion a little differently than most," Woodward wrote.
On Aug. 6, Mayor Woodward, Spokane Police Chief Craig Miedl and select city council members held a press conference to declare their intention to hold formalized talks on police reform, but no concrete policies were outlined.
"We have made a lot of significant strides and are continuing to better ourselves for the health and safety of our officers and the community we all serve," Woodward wrote. "If this describes you, please give me a call."
KREM 2 reached out to NAACP President Kurtis Robinson for his reaction to the mayor's post.
He provided the following statement:
I believe this shows great opportunity and much promise. Although we were not a part of the original conversation our organization looks forward to being consulted on this and participating on behalf of our communities of color. I can say for sure that there have been huge historical gaps in the spaces of statements leading to meaningful, equitable and accountable outcomes for law enforcement to our Impacted & BIPOC. We have definitely seen a historic shortfall and much disparity in Eastern Washington. This has become especially evident under COVID-19, George Floyd and many other situations that are coming to light. We look forward to what may hopefully, finally be some humanizing, meaningful and sustained outcomes as such this proposal can manifest if done well and done right.
What I highly appreciated is the Mayor's naming of the increased emphasis on programming, implicit bias and de-escalation yet make no mistake that we are deeply concerned about what may be received as an open invitation to some of law enforcement that may have been removed from their positions for reasons other than downsizing. We have seen the lack of a "bad actor " database when it comes to this. And we have also seen how the unions will protect those who have consistently violated the spirit and letter of community safety, service and accountability. One other noticeable is the lack of openly calling out for persons of color and other marginalized aspects of the law enforcement community to be encouraged to apply.
Spokane Police spokesperson Julie Humphreys said the department appreciated the mayor's support and her commitment to provide the best possible policing for the community.
Humphreys said public safety testing is required to apply and scheduled for the end of August.