Photo courtesy of Bellevue Police Department
                                Bellevue recruits (not in order) Dimitry Kulibaba, Jennifer May, Jonathan Palmer and David Swinney are sworn in on July 11. The police department has hired 21 total officers this year.

Photo courtesy of Bellevue Police Department Bellevue recruits (not in order) Dimitry Kulibaba, Jennifer May, Jonathan Palmer and David Swinney are sworn in on July 11. The police department has hired 21 total officers this year.

Police fill commissioned officer openings for first time in eight years

Department attributes success to increased hiring bonus.

After hiring 21 officers this year, the Bellevue Police Department has no openings for commissioned officers. It’s the first time in more than eight years that the police department has been fully staffed for officers.

Police departments across the Eastside have dealt with a hole left by a retiring Baby Boomer generation and others exiting police positions, given the current national narrative on policing, police said. The department attributed the success in hiring this year to an increased bonus for lateral officers transferring in from other departments.

Late last year the city council voted to increase the bonus — for those with three or more years of experience transferring from another department — to $16,000. Additionally, the Bellevue PD increased recruiting staff, background investigators and trainers.

Bellevue PD targets laterals because they’ve already completed their academy training and have a quicker process for getting trained on Washington laws and out on the street, PD spokesperson Meeghan Black said.

In 2018, the department received 27 lateral applications. After the increased bonus, the number grew to 133 applications during the first six months of 2019. The department hired 16 lateral officers in 2019. One of those hired officers had transferred from a state police department, while the remaining 15 were from out of state.

“The (bonus) allowed lateral officers to say ‘With that I can pick my family up and move them. I can come to Bellevue and that’s going to help me make that transition,’” Black said. “It got them looking at Bellevue, and once we got their attention … the sell was pretty easy.”

Black declined to provide a list of the names and past departments of the incoming officers. A public records request for the information was submitted by Reporter staff and is pending with the department.

New Bellevue recruits Dimitry Kulibaba, Jennifer May, Jonathan Palmer and David Swinney are sworn in on July 11. The police department has hired 21 total officers this year. Photo courtesy of Bellevue Police Department

New Bellevue recruits Dimitry Kulibaba, Jennifer May, Jonathan Palmer and David Swinney are sworn in on July 11. The police department has hired 21 total officers this year. Photo courtesy of Bellevue Police Department

More in News

Federal Way resident Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, 17, died Jan. 27, 2017. Courtesy photo
Law enforcement challenges report on sting operation that killed Federal Way teen

King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight’s findings rattle Sheriff’s Office, police union.

Unstable housing? Apply for Section 8

Applications open in February for housing vouchers

In 2018, the city of Seattle approved and then repealed a head tax within a month. It would have levied a $275 per employee tax on businesses grossing more than $20 million annually. Sound Publishing file photo
County head tax bill passes committee

Bill would let King County levy a tax on businesses to fund housing and address homelessness.

Gov. Jay Inslee signs the first bill of the 2020 legislative session into law. On the right stands the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, who is wearing a red tie. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gov. Inslee signs tax bill to help fund higher education

Law shifts a portion of the tax burden to large tech companies.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County Metro bus fleet will be electrified by 2035

Future base in South King County would house hundreds of the zero-emission vehicles.

Three-quarters of the suicide deaths among children ages 10 to 14 are caused by firearms, according to a new report from the Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at the University of Washington. File photo
King County studies youth gun violence amid rising suicides

It’s unclear what’s driving the trend.

A King County work crew clears a road near Preston on Feb. 7, 2020. Heavy rains appear to have caused multiple landslides along the road. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
The future could look a lot like this year’s flood season

Climate change is expected to lead to more winter flooding in King County.

Exterior of Bellevue City Hall. Photo courtesy city of Bellevue
Economic development plan data analysis shared at recent council meeting

Research was conducted by Avalanche Consulting.

Most Read