Seattle police union warns pending retirements may delay action on high priority calls
The Seattle Police Department has 350 sworn officers eligible for retirement but cannot afford to lose more than 100 officers, according to the Seattle Police Guild President Mike Solan.
The department has roughly 875 deployable officers and requires 1,400 to be considered fully staffed.
That deficit is reflected in median response times for priority calls where risk to life is imminent: Seattle Police take upwards of five minutes to respond to those calls, depending on the precinct, according to information presented by interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz in June.
“What I think is incredibly alarming is that we have 350 current people eligible to retire right now,” Solan told KTTH’s Jason Rantz.
“If we lose even 100 more people, I don’t know what’s going to be left of this agency moving forward. I don’t know who they’re going to get to answer a [priority] call … Already [we have] long waits for priority one calls for service.”
Tuesday, the Seattle City Council approved a measure that allows the SPD to spend on new and lateral hire bonuses to the tune of individual payments of $7,500 and $30,000, respectively.
The department will also establish a new talent recruitment wing with a hiring manager and several recruiters.
Pundits such as Rantz claim that decision signals a potential new direction in the council, an abrupt departure from 2020 when progressive Democrats on the council rallied behind “defund the police,” arguably culminating in Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s move to allow Black Lives Matter protestors into Seattle City Hall during the peak of Seattle protests over the murder of George Floyd.
“They’re going to be up for election soon. The optics are on all of their minds … This is how far we’ve shifted. Now, they’re politically supporting more cops,” Solan continued.
Listen to Jason Rantz’ entire interview with SPOG President Mike Solan here: