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Council committee favors returning Seattle parking officers to SPD

caption: Seattle Police Department patch.
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Seattle Police Department patch.
Facebook Photo/Seattle Police Officers Guild

The Seattle City Council budget committee has voted to return parking enforcement duties to the Seattle Police Department.

The full council will vote next week on this proposal, as well as the entire amended budget for the next two years.

This unit was shifted to the city's Department of Transportation under former Mayor Jenny Durkan, who was responding to calls made in 2020 to shrink the police department.

A special task force will meet next year to determine if the switch back to the SPD should be permanent. Opponents argue the move would cost the city millions of dollars in officer salaries and expenses; supporters say the opposite, arguing that the change would free up millions of dollars for the city's emergency reserves.

Mayor Bruce Harrell originally proposed returning parking enforcement to SPD in his budget proposal. The proposal comes after the move from the police department to SDOT did not go smoothly. The city was forced to refund $4.5 million in parking tickets following the shift to SDOT, because Seattle did not officially give the officers the legal authority under the Department of Transportation to issue tickets. And city surveys state that about 80% of parking enforcement officers favor returning to SPD.

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