Seattle Mayor’s Office Requests Fewer White Men, Veterans Be Represented In Police Recruitment

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell speaks onstage. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
4:39 PM – Wednesday, August 2, 2023

According to a memo obtained by “The Jason Rantz Show” on the Seattle radio station KTTH, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office recently issued guidelines calling for fewer White men and veterans to be featured in Seattle Police Department (SPD) recruitment materials.


The memo, titled “SPD Marketing More and Less,” was authored by Ben Dalgetty, the mayor’s office’s Digital Strategy Lead in charge of SPD recruiting efforts.

Dalgetty requested that more images and video clips of “officers of color” who are “younger” and of “different genders” be used in the department’s marketing materials in the document, which was originally reported by Rantz.

Dalgetty demanded that there be “fewer” photos and videos of “White, male officers” and “officers with military bearing,” a command that opponents have dubbed “blatant discrimination.”

“This doesn’t mean no officers who are White or male or only young officers of color, but guidelines to shift the proportions of our photo [and] video collateral to more of some things and less of others,” the March 2023 memo to SPD human resources staff said.

Officer Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, was enraged by the new memo.

Sloan told Rantz that while the police union supports “95% of what is listed in this recruiting document,” it cannot tolerate “discrimination.” 

“What I condemn and will forever continue to push back on is the verbiage within the recruitment document that calls for less white male officers. Less of people in leadership positions, and less of humans with military backgrounds. This is flat-out discrimination. Period. It is an affront to decency, reasonableness and further divides our communities,” Sloan wrote in a statement to KTTH. “When politics is intentionally inserted into the public safety policing conversation, we all lose. It is embarrassing, shameful, and detrimental to a healthy functioning society.”

The announcement appeared to be related to Harrell’s vow to establish a diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) plan while police recruiting lags.

The Seattle City Council approved the mayor’s Comprehensive Police Recruitment and Retention Plan last year, which favors candidates with “diverse racial and immigration backgrounds.”

Dalgetty collaborated with SPD human resources employees in March 2023 to design promotional materials for the anticipated recruiting drive in April.

The campaign would run advertisements on the Seattle Medium and Urban Contemporary stations KYIZ, which cater to the city’s Black population, as well as on the classical regional Mexican radio station El Rey and the International Examiner, a publication geared toward the Asian American community.

Authorities who discussed the new memo with the radio station host expressed disbelief that the state’s mayor would sign off on any marketing materials declaring racial and gender preferences.

“I thought, ‘Are you kidding me? You put this in writing?'” one SPD source said. “It shows not only a lack of respect for officers, but a lack of respect for the military. They have no understanding of someone willing to put their lives on the line for their fellow man. They don’t have respect.”

According to the revision history on the document file, the mayor’s staff reportedly sought to amend the memo after discovering that it was causing controversy.

Dalgetty eliminated language demanding fewer images and videos of White men in one edit. In another edit, he deleted the mention of officers with “military bearing.” Dalgetty also omitted the phrase, “This doesn’t mean no officers who are White or male or only young officers of color, but guidelines to shift the proportions of our photo [and] video collateral to more of some things and less of others.”

“The Jason Rantz Show” stated that a public records request for the initial memo went ignored for months before the mayor’s office eventually issued an amended version.

In response to the request, a public disclosure officer also falsely claimed that the original form of the document could not be recovered after the alterations were made.

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