Seattle police hire liaison for East African community

SEATTLE – Habtamu Abdi will be the first ever civilian liaison to work between the Seattle police department and the East African community.


Mayor Ed Mayor called for the position to be created last year, stating that it was part of his public safety strategy and would serve as “a first step to reconnecting officers to the communities they serve.”

The full time position was posted under the title Immigrant and Refugee Coordinator for the Seattle Police Department. The salary range for the job is between $37.87 and $56.82 hourly.

Seattle police received about 300 applications, according to Deputy Chief Carmen Best. Abdi, with a background in law and two master’s degrees, was selected.

“I want him to foster relationships and trust within our very large East African community. We hope to have a police department that reflects the community that we serve,” said Deputy Chief Best.

Abdi says it is a position long overdue, and he has personal reasons for wanting to take on the role.

“I lost friends last year and I attended four funerals,” said Abdi. “It is about me stepping in and seeing if there is a way to work with this department to stop this violence.”

Four East African friends were lost to gun violence in Seattle, according to Abdi. With his community behind him and the police department counting on him, Abdi sees this as a new beginning.

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