Mukilteo Police Chief Andy Illyn holding the graphic he created. He is currently attending the 10-week FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. (Photo provided by Andy Illyn)

Help wanted: Unicorns for ‘pure magic’ career with Mukilteo police

“There’s a whole population who would be amazing police officers” but never considered it, the police chief said.

MUKILTEO — Calling all unicorns.

Mukilteo police want you on the force.

What’s up with that?

A uniformed unicorn police officer with rainbow hair is featured in a new recruitment strategy that reads: “Unicorns may not be real but a career with the Mukilteo Police is pure magic.”

The city has two openings on its force slotted for 32 commissioned police officers. Entry-level pay is $81,544 to $105,295. Rookies must be at least 21 with a high school diploma or equivalent.

“There’s a whole population who would be amazing police officers that had probably never even thought about the job before,” Police Chief Andy Illyn said.

He wants to get the attention of prospective hires. Demand is high for officers nationwide. Mukilteo is competing with other local departments to fill positions.

On the other side of the Edgewater Bridge, base wage for Everett’s new officers is $94,104, increasing to $103,056 in the second year. Seattle officers start at $83,000, plus a $7,500 incentive.

Elsewhere, recruitment efforts have gotten creative, but not to the unicorn level.

Illyn said it is a way to differentiate from other agencies and build Mukilteo brand awareness.

“I want someone who wants to work for Mukilteo, not necessarily who just wants a job,” he said. “One of our biggest strengths at the department is our culture. When it’s time to work, we buckle down. We also have an environment where people enjoy coming to work, they joke around and we have a pretty good team atmosphere.”

Mukilteo is largely a bedroom community of about 22,000 people, with the average house valued at $839,000. Go above the speed limit and the city’s Tesla patrol car might pull you over.

The working conditions in the job listing include: “Contact with irate and combative citizens may occur. Must have the physical ability and willingness to effect an arrest or restrain a hostile prisoner. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.”

Officers also engage with the community at barbecues, blood drives, festivals and other events.

Illyn, 37, joined the force in 2013 and took the helm last year. He initiated murals painted on two of the station’s holding cells and led the push for automated speed cameras on Mukilteo Speedway. His side hustle to unplug from work is making edgy greeting cards, a business he calls Cardstalked. The unicorn cop is his artwork.

“I was playing around with some AI generators on my day off and came up with that,” he said.

He currently is attending the 10-week FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He presented the unicorn in a social media class there.

“They were the ones who prompted me to actually post it,” he said.

The public response has been mixed.

“Brilliant!!” was one reaction on Facebook.

“Bud Light is happy someone finally out did their marketing department,” another read.

Others included:

“Make that your patch.”

“Somebody dropped acid before coming in to work to write this.”

More recruitment ads are to come, Illyn said, but not with unicorns.

“I want to be known as a creative, unique department, not necessarily a unicorn department,” he said.

As for rainbow hair?

“Not right now. That’s not a change we’re looking at doing. Nor can they wear a unicorn costume,” he said. “They’ve still got to follow the uniform guidelines and have a professional appearance.”

Is there a person, place or thing making you wonder “What’s Up With That?” Contact reporter Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443;; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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