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Rantz: ‘Mass exodus’ as Seattle police officers ditch city for KC Sheriff, Everett PD

A police officer engages with a protester Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Seattle, where streets had been blocked off in an area demonstrators had occupied for weeks. Seattle police showed up in force earlier in the day at the "occupied" protest zone, tore down demonstrators' tents and used bicycles to herd the protesters after the mayor ordered the area cleared following two fatal shootings in less than two weeks. The "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest" zone was set up near downtown following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seattle’s anti-police rhetoric is, unsurprisingly, pushing officers out of the city. In just over a month, nearly 40 Seattle Police Department officers applied to work for the King County Sheriff’s Department. The Everett Police Department saw over 30 applications.

The Seattle City Council is moving forward with a dangerous plan to cut the SPD budget by 50%. They committed to this goal without first coming up with a plan. It could result in a city that looks like the CHOP and officer layoffs would be imminent. But the council may not have to push too hard to get rid of the police officers. They’re leaving on their own.

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It’s a new Seattle police mass exodus

According to the King County Sheriff’s Department, between May and July 16 of this year, 38 officers applied for lateral positions from the SPD. The Everett Police Department saw higher-than-normal numbers of applications from the SPD. According to Everett PD, over 30 SPD officers put in applications and even more expressed interest in joining the department over the last several weeks.

Separately, officers have told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that they’re applying to other departments. These numbers are staggering.

To put the data into context, in July 2018, I exclusively reported a “mass exodus” of officers leaving the SPD, sick and tired of being mistreated by city leadership. By the end of June, the SPD had seen 58 sworn officer “separations” — an all-inclusive term that includes retirements, resignations, and firings. At the time, the SPD referred to the separations as historic. By the end of 2018, during the staffing crisis, 109 officers separated.

Last October, just before the general election, then-candidates Dan Strauss and Andrew Lewis said we needed more officers on the streets, not less. Now, less than a year later, they’re pushing to lay off over 700 officers. If they get their way, the positions leaving the SPD will likely not be replaced, followed by hundreds of layoffs.

“Can you blame officers?”

The president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) is Officer Mike Solan. He’s been passionately defending his membership during this crisis. Unfortunately, when it comes to dealing with city officials, the advocacy has been falling on deaf ears. Police officers that spoke to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH believe city leadership will never be on their side. So, they’re leaving. And Solan isn’t surprised.

“The mass exodus continues and can you blame officers?” Solan tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “This comes at a time when we are already well below minimum safe staffing levels almost on every patrol shift. This is a reflection that there is only so much a human being can take when elected officials clearly do not publicly support the professional men and women of the Seattle Police Officers Guild that serve our great city.”

An officer’s recent, heartbreaking open letter to the public garnered national attention by detailing how little support they feel. The officer said they felt “broken” by the Seattle City Council and hopes that people will start to speak up.

“When criminals won’t get prosecuted for their crimes, when our reasonable majority of community members are being held hostage by unreasonable activism, officers will look elsewhere for employment where they do feel supported,” Solan explained. “I dislike losing quality people and I feel sorry for the ignored majority of our city that will feel the repercussions of less police staffing. Less staffing will lead to an increase in crime and a profound reduction in the quality of life for us all.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook

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