Mayor Nadine Woodard and Police Chief Craig Middle discussed the challenges police face in holding criminals in Spokane to account.
According to the latest data from the Spokane Police Department (SPD), the city has seen 13 murders this year, an 8% increase over this time last year.
Property crime is up nearly 24% across the city.
“I support more police officers,” Mayor Woodward said. “I’ll tell you something the president talks about all the time, the two biggest challenges right now in the department are hiring and retention.”
Mayor Woodward and President Middle held a town hall phone Tuesday night as the mayor prepares to share her proposed $1.2 billion budget for 2023 with city council members.
“A budget that invests in people,” Woodward said. “The people in our neighbourhoods, the people who need shelter, the people who provide essential services to our city.”
Woodward said she’d like to hire 70 to 100 additional police officers in the future, but that’s not something that can happen in a jiffy.
“Even if we had all the money in the world to hire 100 plus more officers, we wouldn’t be able to do it overnight.” Woodward said.
Currently, there are 115 officers assigned to patrol, says President Middle. They will appoint an additional 40 officers in January.
“We’ll also go into a slightly different sector, and dismantle how to divide our patrol sectors so that officers have a smaller area to patrol,” Middle said. “Hopefully we’ll be reducing the commute time between calls as well. We expect the community to see a difference in January as we bring more of these patrol officers back into the field.”
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