While the Seattle City Council is poised to cut the police budget once again, the mass exodus continues with at least 34 more officers having separated from the department.
The newest staffing data puts the number of officers leaving Seattle in 2020 at 144 and counting. This is historically high.
The council is wrapping up deliberations on the 2021 budget with a Monday afternoon vote planned. It will likely see a 17% budget cut to the Seattle Police Department, far short of their pledge to defund by 50%. Still, the move continues to put Seattle on a downward spiral toward even higher crime.
The latest separation stats account for October and the first half of November, according to multiple sources. But the number is still underreporting the true number. At least one other officer quit in the third week of November and scores of others are still applying elsewhere.
Rumors swirl within the SPD that separations could hit 200 by the end of the year.
“I am sad and yet, I’m not surprised that many of the great human beings that do the job of policing in Seattle are still leaving SPD at an alarming rate,” Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) President Mike Solan tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “It saddens me because I’m witnessing a professional police agency revered by many fall victim to radical activism that is swallowing Seattle.”
The Seattle Police Department is already dangerously understaffed.
With just about 1,200 so-called “deployable officers,” the SPD is at lower levels than they were in 1990. The population has increased by 44% since then. Meanwhile crime is surging, with reportedly year-over-year increases in homicides. Homelessness continues to worsen, too.
The mayor’s office believes the number of deployable staff could drop to 1,072 officers if the trends and hiring freeze continues.
The Seattle police staffing situation is already dire. Service calls aren’t getting reasonable response times, and the city can’t safely handle two major, concurrent incidents. The city council is about to make it even worse.
Thanks to activist pressure disconnected from reality, the council will defund vacant officer positions as a way to cut the budget. They’ll funnel funds to different programs, like embedded social workers who can respond to 911 calls for people in crisis. This will simply result in assaults — or even murders — of social workers. They aren’t trained to defend themselves during emergency service calls.
Still, the council has walked back promises to defund the police by 50% — a ridiculous goal they took to placate violent, criminal activists during the notorious “summer of love” in Seattle. Walking back politically-driven positions isn’t a shock from this council, of course.
Then-candidates Dan Strauss and Andrew Lewis, and incumbent councilmember Lisa Herbold all campaigned on the promise of hiring more officers. They were lying for the votes of Seattleites justifiably concerned with crime in their neighborhoods.
They surely realize the path they’re putting this city on is untenable and dangerous. But they still have to satisfy the anti-police bloodlust of the activist movement here in Seattle. Their political futures depend on it. So they’ll make some cuts now, pray it doesn’t lead to more chaos, then continue down the path and pretend to be visionary heroes.
From a staffing perspective, it’s hard to believe the SPD could get much worse. Though the city will have to hire some officers next year to make up for the exodus, who would want to work here?
Hating cops is a sport in Seattle. The council says nothing when criminal activists try to murder them. The mayor is only a tepid defender of the police. If she supports police too strongly, she becomes more vulnerable to a farther-left mayoral challenger. And when activists want their way, they know all they have to do is “peacefully protest” with Molotov cocktails and a threatening mob outside a councilmember’s home.
Still, officers are showing up and doing their job for now.
“SPOG will continue to stand up for Seattle’s public safety and for officer jobs,” said SPOG president Solan. “False narratives about the fantastic human beings that do the job of policing are not only grossly wrong, but dangerous for our society. We will continue to answer that call for help even if were down to just one cop left in our city. That’s the kind of people we are. We will never give in to mob justice and we will right the false narratives about us and our profession. We love Seattle, and we love our job!”
But as the force dwindles, it’s fair to ask how many officers will be left. Plus, how will the city recruit quality candidates to take their places?
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.