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2.020 - Appointments & Probation

Effective Date: 10/01/2015

2.020-POL-1 General Policy

1. Definitions

Non-sworn employee: Any Department employee other than a sworn employee.

Sworn employee: A Department employee commissioned and empowered to enforce the criminal laws of the City of Seattle and State of Washington.

2. The Chief of Police Shall Be Appointed by the Mayor, Subject to Confirmation by a Majority Vote of all Members of the City Council

3. All Subordinate Sworn and Non-Sworn Employees Shall Be Appointed by the Chief of Police under Civil Service Rules and Regulations

Except for the Chief of Police (appointed by the Mayor), Deputy Chief(s) and Assistant Chief(s) (appointed by the Chief of Police), all other sworn appointments are made by the Chief of Police on from a certified Public Safety Civil Service list.

4. Employees Are Assigned a Unique Serial Number

An employee’s unique serial number is used for official identification with the Department.

Each employee shall be responsible for including their name and serial number on all official reports and records prepared by them.

5. Human Resources Section Issues Employees Official Department Identification Cards

6. Employees Are Excused from Duty Between Some Assignment Changes

Employees who are transferred, detailed or temporarily assigned to a different section or unit from their  current assignment, are excused from duty the eight hours proceeding the start of their new assignment.

7. If Deficiencies are Identified in Performance Appraisals, the Department Will Provide the Employee Remedial Training, as Appropriate

2.020-POL-2  Recruits, Reserves & Other Commissions

1. All Police Recruits Shall Satisfactorily Complete the Course of Instruction for the Basic Law Enforcement Academy Conducted by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission

The duties of a police recruit shall be to attend the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission accredited Police Academy until graduation and to perform other duties as assigned by the Chief of Police. The duties of a police recruit shall not include law enforcement duties, nor shall any employee holding such position be considered a law enforcement officer for purpose of any State law relating to police pensions.

The Chief of Police may appoint and swear police recruits as police officers upon their graduation from the State-accredited Academy.

2. Police Reserves are Unpaid, Volunteer Personnel Selected From the Community

Reserves are under the command of the Field Training Unit and are responsible for aiding and supplementing the Department in matters of routine police duty and assisting in the event of emergencies.

3. Special Police Commissions May be Approved by the Chief of Police

The Employment Services Section is responsible for processing all applications. The duties of Commissioned Special Police will conform to City Ordinance. Special Police Commissions are valid only during the performance of duties for which the commission was issued.

4. The Chief of Police May Issue Honorary Police Commissions

Honorary Police Commission holders shall have no authority or responsibility to enforce laws and ordinances, beyond that of any other citizen, as provided for by law.  Honorary Police Commissions may be issued by the Chief of Police to:

- Non-sworn employees - Legal Advisor, etc.

- Professional Consultants - Chaplain Corps, etc.

- Any other individual whose activities warrant formal Departmental recognition or identification.

2.020-POL-3  Probation

1. The Probationary Period for Non-Sworn Employees Shall Be Equivalent to Twelve (12) Months Full-Time Service From the Date of Hire

2. The Probationary Period for Sworn Employees Shall Be Twelve (12) Months From the Date a Police Recruit Successfully Completes the Washington State Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy

Minor absences due to vacations, annual military leaves, illnesses, etc., shall not be construed as interrupting the probationary period. If absences become excessive, the Executive Director of the Public Safety Civil Service Commission will approve a Departmental request for an extension of the probationary period. (Public Safety Civil Service Commission Rule 12.02)

No later than the end of the eleventh month of probation, the sworn probationer’s section captain or the non-sworn probationer’s supervisor shall submit a written report encompassing the probationer’s work performance record and qualifications and shall include a recommendation as to whether the probationer should be granted permanent status. This report shall be sent to the Human Resources Section no later than one week after the end of the eleventh month of probation.  Nothing in this section shall preclude a supervisor from addressing issues in the work performance of a probationary employee prior to the eleventh month of the probationary period.

2.020-POL-4  Promotion or Selection For Field Training Officer, Specialty Unit, Follow-Up Unit or Higher or Bonus Pay Position


1. Review of an Employee’s Performance History When Considering Promotion or Selection for Field Training Officer, Specialty Unit or Higher or Bonus Pay Position

The data underlying an employee’s performance and disciplinary history  (PAS, use-of-force, OPA complaints, EEO complaints, on-duty collisions, vehicle pursuits, being named in police action claims or lawsuits, K9 apprehension-bite ratio and unexcused failure to appear in mandatory training)  may be considered when an officer applies for promotion or for selection for a specialty unit, as a training officer, or for any higher or bonus pay position to the degree that the subject matter is relevant to the position or assignment sought.  Closed complaints with findings of lawful and proper or unfounded, Early Intervention Mentoring Plans successfully completed by an officer, and complaints that do not trigger early intervention thresholds are generally not relevant to a promotion or assignment decision.

Nothing in this policy manual precludes the consideration of performance-related criteria for promotions, selection for field training officer, specialty unit, or higher or bonus pay positions.

2. The Lieutenant or Captain of Specialized and Follow-Up Units Facilitates Appointments to Fill Open Positions

The lieutenant or captain of specialty and follow-up units must advertise an open position in the Department Notices at least 30 days prior to filling the position. (See 2.020-PRO-1 Advertising Open Positions in Specialty and Follow-Up Units.) The lieutenant or captain will request that applicants submit a memo of interest and/or resume for the position.

The lieutenant or captain will send a memo to each applicant stating that their memo of interest/resume has been received.

The lieutenant or captain will submit a memo to their bureau chief noting the top three candidates in order of priority. The memo will also list the names of all the employees applying for the position, in alphabetical order. The bureau chief will decide who will fill the position after consulting with the lieutenant or captain.

The lieutenant or captain will send a memo notifying the person selected for the position. A memo will also be sent to each person who applied for the position and was not selected. This will be done before any official or unofficial announcement.

In an effort to assist candidates to be more competitive for future openings, captains, lieutenants and sergeants will provide appropriate feedback and recommendations, (e.g. training, experience, improved skills, etc.) to the employees not selected for the position.

3. Police Detective or Investigator Assignments Will Require Successful Completion of a Course of Training Established by the Captain of the Education & Training Section

The Captain of the Education & Training Section shall establish a training schedule to best maintain a sufficient number of eligible candidates for the detective vacancies within the Department.

The Detective Course shall be scheduled and administered by the Education & Training Section and will include academic blocks of instruction as well as practical exercises for skill related training. The course will be structured around three core elements:

a. Criminal law

b. Criminal investigations

c. Department policy related to criminal investigations

Competency in all three core elements must be shown by successful completion of an examination at the end of the course.

Upon the successful completion of the Detective’s Course, the employee’s training record will be updated to reflect their eligibility status. Detective unit sergeants may verify a prospective candidate’s eligibility by contacting the Education & Training Section. The employee’s eligibility for a detective’s position will not expire.

Selection of personnel for a detective assignment shall be at the discretion of the respective bureau chief.

In the event a particular individual is needed for a specific detective assignment and that individual has not completed the Detective’s Course or has not worked a detective assignment, said individual must successfully complete the next scheduled Detective Course.

Failure to pass the Detective Course will eliminate their eligibility to work in a detective assignment. Eligibility may only be regained by passing the next scheduled Detective Course.

2.020-POL-5  Voluntary Transfer Requests

1. Employees May Submit Voluntary Transfer Requests

The initial request for transfer is made by submitting a Department Memorandum through the employee’s chain of command to the appropriate section captain. Requests to transfer from one precinct to another shall be made on the Cross Precinct Preference Request Form (26.1) and forwarded to the Patrol Operations Bureau for consideration.

When a transfer is likely to occur, the section captain will advise the employee or section administrative assistant to submit an EMT move request. (hyperlink)  EMT move requests will be authorized through the employee’s current and new chain of command, up to the Deputy Chief or Chief Operating Officer. 


2.020-PRO-1  Advertising Open Positions in Specialty and Follow-Up Units

Lieutenant or Captain

1. Develops advertisement, which shall include the following:

- Position description

- Shift hours

- Required qualifications

- Desired qualifications

- For sergeant positions, includes service in the Office of Professional Accountability as a desired qualification.

2. Forwards advertisement, via the chain of command, to the relevant bureau chief

Bureau Chief

3. Reviews advertisement

3a. If approved, forwards advertisement to the Director of Human Resources.

3b. If not approved, forwards advertisement back to the lieutenant or captain with an explanation as to why.

Director of Human Resources

4. Reviews advertisement

4a. If approved, forwards advertisement to the lieutenant or captain.

4b. If not approved, forwards advertisement back to the bureau chief with an explanation as to why.

Lieutenant or Captain

5. Forwards approved advertisement to



Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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The Seattle Police Department (SPD) prevents crime, enforces laws, and supports quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services. SPD operates within a framework that divides the city into five geographical areas called "precincts".

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