SPD Mug.jpg
Today the Seattle Police Department announced that, in response to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana use for adults in our state, the agency will

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SPD Changes Hiring Policy Because of I-502; Candidates Will No Longer Be Disqualified for Smoking Pot in Last Three Years

SPD Mug.jpg
Today the Seattle Police Department announced that, in response to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana use for adults in our state, the agency will no longer disqualify job applicants who have smoked weed in the last three years. It's a significant change, and according to SPD it makes Seattle's police force the first law enforcement agency in the state to modify its hiring process in accordance to the "this brave, new, and maybe kinda stoned world we live in," as a wise man once termed it.

*See Also: SPD Goes Big Lebowski in Latest (Rad) Pot Statement

According to SPD, up until now applicants were immediately disqualified if they had smoked pot within three years of applying to the department. That rule is now being relaxed to one year, and the agency indicates other marijuana-related hiring policies will be reevaluated in the future.

"In light of the changing cultural and political landscape, the three-year rule does not make sense," said SPD Assistant Chief Dick Reed in a Blotter blog post announcing the change. "We're trying to find a middle ground that doesn't exclude viable candidates."

"We are changing our policy as a direct result of the recent vote on I-502," says Assistant Chief Jim Pugel in the same post. "We are deciding to take a much more worldly view of our applicants."

According to SPD, less than five percent of potential candidates were disqualified for past pot use under the old rules, but nonetheless the decision marks "a big procedural shift for the department."

"We're on the forefront of change," Reed goes on to say in the Blotter blog post. "There is still a lot more to reevaluate."

For the record, SPD wants you to know that while it's being hella cool about weed, the agency "will continue to closely scrutinize applicants' backgrounds--including other drug use--during the department's rigorous hiring and testing process."

Find the full SPD statement on the following page ...

SPD on changes to its marijuana-related hiring policies:

Now that marijuana use has been decriminalized under Washington state law under Initiative 502, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is softening its restrictions on past pot use by men and women applying to be police officers.

"We are changing our policy as a direct result of the recent vote on I-502," says Assistant Chief Jim Pugel, who oversees marijuana-related issues for SPD.

Last week, SPD Chief John Diaz tasked Assistant Chiefs Pugel and Dick Reed with reviewing SPD's hiring practices to reflect the changes brought on by I-502, while continuing the department's mission of finding the best candidates to not only protect our city, but also reflect the city SPD protects.

Until this week, SPD applicants were immediately disqualified if they had smoked marijuana within three years of applying to the department.

The department is now changing the restriction from three years to one year, and will reevaluate other marijuana-related hiring policies over the next year. "We are deciding to take a much more worldly view of our applicants," Pugel says

These changes make the Seattle Police Department is the first law enforcement agency in the state to relax its hiring practices in light of I-502.

"In light of the changing cultural and political landscape, the three-year rule does not make sense," says Reed, who oversees hiring for the department. "We're trying to find a middle ground that doesn't exclude viable candidates."

While this certainly a big procedural shift for the department, Reed says it's "not often" that an applicant is disqualified for a job with SPD because of marijuana use. Reed estimates that out of the last round of applications in November, "less than 5" applicants out of the nearly 500 that applied were disqualified over pot.

While the department is easing restrictions on past pot use, the department will continue to closely scrutinize applicants' backgrounds--including other drug use--during the department's rigorous hiring and testing process.

"We're on the forefront of change," Reed says. "There is still a lot more to reevaluate."

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