Bellevue City Council members Monday approved hiring eight additional firefighters and six police officers to meet rapidly expanding public safety needs.
Bellevue consistently ranks as one of the safest cities in the nation, with rates for both property and violent crimes continuing to fall in recent years. At the same time, residential fires have decreased over the past two years to their lowest level since 1997.
Nevertheless, the rapid growth of the downtown area, as well as an aging and increasingly diverse population pose significant challenges to maintaining public safety services at present levels, city officials say.
The city expects to hire the new firefighters and police by early summer.
The council also approved a new position in the city’s Transportation Department to update the city’s computerized traffic signal and communication system. The current system was installed in the late 1980s, and cannot be updated to meet current needs.
All 15 new positions will cost the city an estimated $680,000 annually.