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Rantz: 66 more cops ditch Seattle Police Dept. as mass exodus crisis worsens

Seattle police make a targeted arrest at an Antifa rally outside the West Precinct. (Photo: Jason Rantz/KTTH)

The mass exodus at the Seattle Police Department continues with 66 police officers separating so far this year. By the end of May, that number is expected to hit nearly 100. Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz confirmed these numbers.

There is a police staffing crisis with no end in sight. In fact, the current deployable staff is just 1,088. That brings the city back to deployable numbers matching at least the 1980s.

Though the city has not yet officially released staffing numbers, officials have expressed significant concern publicly and privately about the staffing situation. The city does not have enough officers to safely protect our neighborhoods or respond to emergencies.

Mass exodus continues

In 2020, 193 officers officially left the SPD. That is a historic number, one that came after nearly a year of relentless attacks from the Seattle City Council and radical activists.

During that time, the council cut the SPD’s budget dramatically, despite a clear uptick in crime. Seattle hit a 26-year-high homicide rate as a result. But that didn’t stop the council from trying to cut even more from the budget. That attempt was a failure, though the council promises to revisit.

At the time, the SPD’s deployable staff hovered just above 1,200 officers, the lowest since 1990. It’s why, many times throughout the week, precincts are at minimum staffing requirements. At times, they dip below minimum staffing. The SPD has to move staff around to fill gaps when they occur and they rely heavily on overtime. Still, 911 response times are lagging and SPD is usually only able to respond to priority one calls (emergencies in progress that demand immediate assistance).

Speaking to KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show on Tuesday, Chief Diaz revealed that SPD currently has 1,080 deployable officers, far below the 1,400 officer benchmark he says is necessary to adequately cover calls for service, investigations, and more.

That has department’s current staffing levels at “drastically low” levels relative to the growth of Seattle’s population.

“That is where the staffing crisis hits,” Diaz described “That is when you see low amounts of officers in patrol, that is where you see low amounts of officers in investigations.”

That also has Diaz concerned about “the stress and the toll that it takes on officers” to operate an under-staffed department.

“If they don’t get the adequate time to rest and be able to (recuperate), the stress and wellness is going to be huge in the years to come,” he warned.

The exodus makes sense

Seattle City Councilmembers have done what they can to demoralize police.

Kshama Sawant has been quick to label officers murderers. Teresa Mosqueda defended a man who threatened to murder officers, calling his anger “justified.” Lorena Gonzalez and Lisa Herbold even tried to fire officers on the basis of their race. If you are white and work for the SPD, you were at risk of losing your job.

Concurrently, officers took on months of Antifa and radical Black Lives Matter activist violence. Union headquarters suffered Molotov cocktail attacks while radicals tried to seal shut the front door to the East Precinct, while others tried to burn the building down. Police were inside at the time.

Officers also spent the last year being assaulted with impunity. The council said little to nothing to defend the police.

In one high-profile case, prosecutors charged Jacob Greenberg, the stepson of former Democratic state lawmaker Laura Ruderman, with assaulting a police officer and planning sophisticated attacks against police. The video of the assault, showing an officer hit in the helmet with a bat, went viral after a night of intense, escalating violence against police officers.

This will continue

There’s little doubt that the mass exodus will continue. After all, it started in 2018, before the anti-police venom reached a fever pitch in 2020. Now, as the mood against police continues to worsen, morale is low and officers are looking to escape Seattle.

This has real-world consequences that anti-police activists continue to ignore.

Violent crime is going up at the exact time we have fewer officers on the streets. Homelessness is exploding and with it comes crime. Crimes are going unsolved because detectives are overworked due to staffing shortages and too few resources. And as vaccines continue to get in arms, more people are returning to normalcy. Seattle saw a surge in crime when people were staying at home during the pandemic. Imagine what will happen when you have people walking around as targets.

The council has no plan to address the staffing crisis. They see this as an opportunity to further defund the police. By keeping the positions empty — and forcing more officers out — they can tell anti-police activists that they’re cutting the budget. But as the council plays politics with public safety, people die and Seattle becomes less safe.

Did you like this opinion piece? Then 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,  Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook

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