JASON RANTZ

Rantz: After defunding and demonizing police, Seattle council blames chief for mass exodus

Aug 11, 2021, 2:37 PM | Updated: Aug 12, 2021, 4:59 pm
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Council President Lorena Gonzalez. (Seattle City Council, Flickr Creative Commons)
(Seattle City Council, Flickr Creative Commons)

Members of the Seattle City Council had the audacity to blame Seattle Police Department management for the mass exodus of officers from the city.

Council President Lorena Gonzalez is running for mayor and looking to avoid blame for the city’s rising crime problems. The surge happened thanks to her leadership as she attempted to dismantle the police department and reimagine it through a fringe, progressive worldview. She took the lead in attacking police management during a Tuesday morning council meeting, claiming there was a retention problem due to poor management.

It doesn’t take much brainpower to realize why Seattle police are leaving. In fact, it’s so clear even a Socialist city council member could figure it out. The council has run them out of the city.

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Councilmembers blame SPD management for problems the council caused

During a Public Safety & Human Services Committee meeting Tuesday, council members reviewed a quarterly staffing report from the SPD.

The new report showed the staff crisis worsening as officers dump Seattle for cities less antagonistic toward officers. As of July 2021, sources tell the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that the department has lost about 300 officers since last year. Consequently, the SPD’s deployable staff number is the lowest its been since the 1980s.

Council members do not want to take the blame for the mass exodus. Nor do they want to own their roles in why recruiting new officers to the department is so difficult. So they claimed the actual problem for the exodus is SPD management. They offered maddeningly dishonest and laughably transparent bad faith arguments and statements to back up their claims.

“I am focusing in on retention, which is where I see the issue,” Gonzalez angrily preached. “I think these numbers tell a story about how SPD has significant room for improvement. Management of SPD has significant room for improvement for retaining the new officers and existing officers that have been hired or that have continued to be an officer at SPD.”

SPD Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives Dr. Chris Fisher got emotional as he responded.

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Cops say the Seattle City Council is to blame

Fisher explained that the perception of working in law enforcement in Seattle is incredibly negative. He explained that recruiters talk to officers to assess their feelings about working in the city. They use a test commonly used in corporations that grades perceptions of a workforce. The score is abysmal.

“It’s basically what percentage on a scale of negative 100 to positive 100, how strongly would you endorse a friend or family member coming to work where you work,” Fisher explained. “SPD’s is negative 50, which is bad.”

Then he got emotional, struggling to hold back tears. He said that in the last year, elected officials did not show support for police officers. He said cops heard support from Interim Chief Adrian Diaz, some members of the community, and some members of the press. But the council? Silence.

“Sorry, I’m getting a little emotional because a lot of these people I’ve built relationships with, and I know how much it hurt them,” he said. “I’m not out there on the front lines getting yelled at, it’s a place of privilege I have to sit in an office, but I know how much it hurt them to feel that they were, especially younger ones, being told they might get laid off. I think that was a message that maybe this wasn’t the place to be a police officer.”

“So many of these folks came to serve and to help their community, and I think they just want to feel that people see that,” he added.

Gonzalez isn’t moved; she’s on a brand mission

Fisher then jumped into a detailed rundown on simple strategies that can be undertaken to help officers feel like the city is invested in them. It got to the heart of Gonzalez’s question.

From paying for gym memberships to helping to cover tuition for classes to get advanced degrees, relatively inexpensive perks could be offered. Beyond that, he explained the command staff would be more visible and work with supervisors to create a more collaborative team.

Gonzalez apparently wasn’t listening. Or perhaps she was upset she was called out for her year’s worth of anti-police rhetoric and action.

“So I didn’t hear an answer to my question, and I’m really disappointed about that,” she said with a snide and demeaning tone. “What I heard is a lot of language, again, on the hiring side, and I’m not interested in politics, I’m interested in actual policy solutions, because that’s my job. So I would like to get an understanding from command staff what specific things, strategies, investments, interventions, other recommendations are being advanced to address the reality of recruitment — I’m sorry, retention.”

But Fisher quite literally did answer the question. He offered strategies, investment suggestions, and more to help keep officers.

“We have fully funded y’all to do the hiring that you need to do,” she continued. “And where I am seeing that there continues to be a significant concern – and I think this is on management – is how do we retain officers that we have spent time hiring that the department is funded and green lit to be able to move forward with those hiring processes.”

Unfortunately, Fisher isn’t free to respond to Gonzalez in a way that she deserves to be addressed. Given I don’t work for the city and I’m most definitely not scared of Seattle’s most incompetent lawyer-turned-incompetent council member, I think I’ll take a stab at an answer.

The best recruitment tool for cops is for most of the council to resign

Most of the Seattle City Council is the reason why cops are leaving the force.

Neither management issues nor a lack of a retention strategy explains the mass exodus. It’s having pride in what they do and enough self-respect to know that Gonzalez and her colleagues are morally bankrupt, hyper-partisans who will sell out their mothers, children, and pets for an opportunity to stay in power. The council leaned into the defund activists and sold cops out. So cops told the council to pound sand, and they bolted.

The council threatened to fire 50% of the workforce. They called cops racist murderers who purposefully target innocent people — particularly if they’re Black — as if they were satisfying some bloodlust. Council members, including Gonzalez, even said they’d try to fire white police officers for the crime of being white. Any reasonable or semi-intelligent person recognizes the error of announcing your intent to fire people based on race. But we’re dealing with this council, so they just shouted their racist and illegal strategy.

And if you don’t think defunding and daily demonization played a role, perhaps Gonzalez can stop verbally accosting a low-level staff member for not picking out the olives from one of the specialty salads she has them fetch and go pick up copies of officer exit interviews. Officers quite literally say they’re leaving because of the council.

Exit interviews are revealing

Cops explain clearly and succinctly why they leave the SPD. They’re asked directly in their publically available exit interviews.

“The council wanting to defund us and gaining ground doing it. Rioters not being charged even when they assault officers,” one officer wrote in his exit interview.

“I refuse to work for this socialist city council and their political agenda. This agenda sacrifices the health and well-being of the officers and ultimately will destroy the fabric of this once fine city,” a patrol sergeant said in his exit interview.

“You could pay me twice what you’re paying me now, and I would not work for Seattle under this current political mayhem, Marxist collaborations, and lack of government and police leadership,” another officer wrote.

The department also lost former Police Chief Carmen Best, who cited the council for her decision.

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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Rantz: After defunding and demonizing police, Seattle council blames chief for mass exodus