Memo on Olympia Police Structure

By Dan Leahy

The Olympia Police Department is organized under the Olympia Municipal Code (OMC) Chapter 2.36. Jay Burney, as Olympia City Manager, “shall appoint the chief of police and all city police officers, in accord with civil service rules.” In addition, Jay Burney, as Olympia City Manager, “may remove any member of the police department in accord with all civil service regulations.” (OMC 2.36.040)

The Olympia’s Civil Service Commission was “created to consider a variety of personnel matters relating to the civil service rules that govern the appointment, promotion, transfer, layoff, recruitment, retention, classification, removal, discipline and welfare of Olympia Police and Fire Department employees,” according to the City of Olympia’s website. The City Manager appoints Civil Service Commission members. The Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for July 21.

The Olympia Police Department, at the end of 2018, had 105 employees. Olympia citizens paid $10,792,395 in salaries for these 105 workers. There is the Police Chief and Deputy Chief, four Lieutenants, 10 Sergeants, 55 Police Officers including a Police Cadet, and six administrative support staff. (Source: Searchable Salaries: City of Olympia 2018. The Olympian).

For Police officers, Sergeants and Lieutenants the amount paid in 2018 ranged from $188,530 to $71,210. Of these 72 individuals, 52 received pay of $100,000 or more. These figures are salaries plus overtime. If the City didn’t pay full-time officers overtime, it would save $2 million. 

The Sergeants are represented by the Olympia Police Sergeants Association (OPSA). The 55 police officers are represented by the Olympia Police Guild.

Other police department staff include a Corrections Lieutenant, nine Correction Officers, three Jail Sergeants and 14 support staff. The 2018 pay received by these Correction Officers and Jail Sergeants ranged from $58,063 to $109, 888. All of these workers plus 14 support staff, except the Corrections Lieutenant, are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).

As of May 20, 2020, the City of Olympia has openings for six entry-level police officers. An entry-level police officer receives a salary of $6,593.58 to $8,163.50 per month. This is an annual salary range of $79,122 to $97,962. The requirements for this job are a high school diploma or GED, a Washington Drivers License, at least 21 years old at time of hiring, qualify to possess a firearm and passing various psychological, physical and medical examinations, as well as a polygraph test.

Olympia Municipal Code (OMC) 2.44.070 lists the reasons for discharge of an employee. Various reasons for discharge are listed including mental unfitness, disgraceful, immoral or prejudicial conduct, or any other act which in the judgment of the civil service commission is “sufficient to show the offender to be an unsuitable and unfit person to be employed in the public service.”

Olympia Municipal Code (OMC) 2.44.080 lists the procedure for removal. “… for cause and only upon the written accusation of the appointing power (City Manager Jay Burney) or any citizen or taxpayer, a written statement of which accusation, in general terms, shall be served upon the accused, and a duplicate filed with the Commission.” Any person then removed can ask the Commission for an investigation.