Rantz: Seattle PD lost 153 police officers in 2022, over 500 since defunding

Jan 3, 2023, 5:39 PM | Updated: 5:59 pm
police officers...
A man holds a sign during the Seattle Police Officers Guild rally to stop defunding of the Seattle Police Department on Sunday, August 9, 2020 at Seattle City Hall. (Photo by Noah Riffe/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
(Photo by Noah Riffe/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Seattle Police Department’s staffing crisis shows no end in sight. There were 153 separations in 2022, marking 509 officers leaving the force since the city council’s embrace of the defund movement. As a result, the department is now left with under 1,000 deployable officers, the lowest staffing seen in 30 years.

There were 170 separations in 2021 and 186 in 2020, according to the Seattle Police Department, which did not confirm the 2022 data provided by the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG). Separations are an all-inclusive term that counts resignations, retirements, and terminations.

Officers have been leaving the department in record numbers since 2020, when the city council defunded the police by 18% (though it promised to cut 50%). Council members demonized officers, stayed silent during physical attacks by Antifa and other agitators, and one council member, Teresa Mosqueda, even defended a man who threatened to murder cops. Add to the mix a COVID vaccine mandate, a lack of contract, and Democrat reforms that favor criminals and officers had enough.

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Seattle won’t hit recruiting goals

As of December 31, 2022, there were only 966 deployable officers (with 91 listed as unavailable due to illness, extended time off, etc.), down from 2020’s 1,215 total deployable staff. The staffing crisis continues along with the city’s crime surge. In 2022, Seattle saw 57 homicides, up from 42 in 2020 and 52 in 2021 (which was a 26-year high).

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said his goal was for the department to reach 1,400 police officers by 2027. But the goal is not possible. During the last budget debate, the Seattle City Council again quietly defunded the police department, permanently cutting 80 police officer positions with the support of council members Mosqueda, Lisa Herbold, Dan Strauss, Debora Juarez, and Andrew Lewis. Socialist council member Kshama Sawant voted no, in part, because there were not enough SPD cuts. The lone council members to stand up for the police were Sara Nelson and Alex Pedersen.

At the time, SPOG President Officer Mike Solan criticized the cut.

“The big picture is quite clear that we can’t recruit enough people to be cops in this city, mostly because of the political climate we still find ourselves in,” Solan explained on the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “And as I look at this in a broad perspective, in terms of the budget, I’m seeing more activist moves to take the money away from police and put it to projects that fulfill an activist talking point. For me, we need cops, and we need people that want to be cops. And we need to be given the confidence to go forth and conduct policing to hold criminals accountable. Because we’re seeing the decay of the city.”

Neither the Mayor’s office nor the SPD responded to requests for comment.

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Rantz: Seattle PD lost 153 police officers in 2022, over 500 since defunding