(The Center Square) – A tentative agreement between the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Officers Guild has been submitted to the city council with retroactive wage increases that make Seattle police officers among the most competitively paid in the state.

Once the agreement is approved by the city council, Seattle police officers will see wage increases of 1.3% retroactive to 2021, 6.4% retroactive to 2022, and 15.3% retroactive to 2023. These wage increases are the first for Seattle police officers in three years.

According to a news release from Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, the increased wages will help strengthen the city’s ability to retain and recruit qualified police officers.

The agreement only covers the first three years of a potential four-year contract, meaning upcoming negotiations for the year 2024 continue with the assistance of a mediator.

The Seattle Police Department has lost nearly a net of 340 fully trained officers since 2019, with the force now at its lowest staffing level since the late 1990s.

“There’s no way to address Seattleites’ concerns about their well-being and safety without fully staffing our police department – and recruiting the number of officers we need is impossible without paying them a competitive wage,” Seattle City Councilmember Bob Kettle said in a news release.

All Seattle police officers required to wear body-worn video cameras after the first pay period in January 2018 will receive an additional 2% of their base monthly, top-step salary, once the contract is approved.

This comes after the Seattle Police Department received backlash from the community for body camera footage that showed Seattle Police Officers Guild Vice President Daniel Auderer on a phone call making a comment on a Seattle civilian who was hit and killed by a marked Seattle police vehicle.

The tentative collective bargaining agreement also adds accountability measures to ensure allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated. This includes requiring an arbitrator in discipline appeals when misconduct is found to give deference to the discipline imposed by the police chief.