Seattle police union president counters city council criticism of staff attrition

Aug 13, 2021, 1:57 PM | Updated: 2:41 pm
SPD staff attrition, less lethal weapons...
Seattle police officers carry boxes with warning stickers and a slip of paper that reads "blast balls" as police clash with protesters following a "Youth Day of Action and Solidarity with Portland" demonstration in Seattle, Washington on July 25, 2020. (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan broke down his perspective on recent Seattle Police Department staff attrition on KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show. He unapologetically leveled outspoken criticism against the Seattle City Council for their recent critique of SPD staff retention strategies.

“Their actions over the past year are the direct result of us losing a third of our people and having difficulty recruiting new people to fill the uniforms. They are alone to blame for the crisis that we are currently in when we have one hour response times because of the lack of staffing,” Solan said.

On Aug. 10, the city council reviewed SPD’s quarterly budget. The budget forecasts over $15 million in savings, much of which can be attributed to salary savings resulting from officer separations in 2020 and continued staffing attrition into 2021. The budget memo characterizes the attrition as an “extreme staffing shortage,” and that “police separations continue to outpace police hires.”

“In 2020, SPD lost more officers than any other year on record. Of the 186 separations, 46% had 7 years of service or less,” the budget update reads. “With recruitment and hiring significantly constrained in the context of COVID, SPD realized a net loss of 135 officers. This year, SPD is continuing to separate officers at an alarming rate. Through June 30, SPD separated 100 officers, suggesting 2021 will soon be the department’s second highest attrition year on record. The department is unable to precisely predict how many officers will leave this year and next. However, our current trajectory indicates SPD could separate as many as 160 officers in 2021.”

The update predicts that roughly $15 million of that savings can be reallocated in the form of separation pay, overtime, and more. The proposed budget allocates over $1.5 million for “community safety reinvestments,” which include civilian staff in the form of a triage program, a new dispatch system that better accommodates third parties, and the Peacekeepers gun violence prevention program.

The Seattle City Council had the opportunity to review these budget requests before passing future amendments to the supplemental budget ordinance. Within that context, Councilmember Gonzalez —  addressing SPD’s Executive Director of Strategic Initiative Dr. Chris Fischer — claimed that SPD has “significant room for improvement for retaining new … and existing officers.”

“We have fully funded y’all to do the hiring that you need to do. And where I’m 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 has funded and green-lit to be able to move forward with those hiring processes,” she added.

Councilmember Gonzalez was among those who called for defunding SPD’s budget by as much as 50%. Recent budget proposals, like the one passed in December, have been more modest, cutting SPD’s 2021 budget by 17%.

A year later, more questions than answers over Seattle council’s stance on defunding SPD

U.S. District Judge James Robart, who oversees the 2012 Department of Justice’s consent decree intended to curtail SPD’s patterns of use of excessive force, has on several occasions chastised the council’s approach to police reform.

Federal judge rebukes Seattle council for running afoul of SPD consent decree in 2020

“It was the DOJ settlement agreement that allowed us to maintain order to a degree with this city,” Solan claimed. “If we wouldn’t have had it [last] summer, I believe we would have lost another precinct, let alone had more cops hurt and more civilians impacted by this crime wave.”

In the interview, he further intimated that negotiations with the council have been and will continue to be fraught.

“As a union president, I’m supposed to work with politicians to try to curry favor labor wise to develop good relationships,” Solan said. “These people have been so diabolically hard set against policing. It would be impossible with the current people still running for office for us to try to engage in some form of reasonable conversation.”

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.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Bothell Mayor...
KTTH staff

Former Bothell mayor cautions ‘defund the police’ is on November ballot

Former Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb breaks down November's municipal elections, and why the city has to mobilize against 'defund the police.'
2 days ago
Kathy Lambert...
KTTH staff

Councilmember Kathy Lambert decries recent demotion as ‘unacceptable, dirty politics’

In a KTTH interview, King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert explicates her belief that she's being silenced over her political positions.
4 days ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle school cancels Halloween over ‘equity,’ says Black kids don’t celebrate

A Seattle school canceled a Halloween parade because they don't think Black males celebrate the secular holiday.
5 days ago
tahoma, TikTok...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School equity leader out after racist and vulgar TikTok videos spread

A local school district's equity team leader is no longer in her role after parents discovered her racist and vulgar TikTok videos.
6 days ago
Tina Podlodowski...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Whoa! WA Dems chair Tina Podlodowski voted for Donald Trump twice?

Did WA Democrats chair Tina Podlowdowski twice vote for Donald Trump? Shocking, if true!
7 days ago
long-term care tax...
KTTH staff

State lawmaker calls for halt on new long-term care tax, claims ‘it’s not set up to work’

State lawmakers are fighting back against a long-term care tax, claiming the law has inconsistencies that must be addressed before it can proceed.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles


How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Seattle police union president counters city council criticism of staff attrition