Rantz: ‘Sick out’ likely gutted Seattle police weekend patrol, special events
Jul 22, 2023, 6:26 PM | Updated: 6:31 pm
(Photo from Seattle Police)
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) is down nearly 50% of staffing minimums in patrol, while special events staffing is down around 40%, according to the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) and multiple sources. The especially dire staffing situation may be due to a “sick out.”
Multiple sources tell the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that many officers either called out sick or did not show up for work Saturday. Patrol was hit especially hard with just around 40-50 officers on duty. That number is normally around 65-70, though that number is also low due to the general lack of SPD staffing.
“Despite the hard work all of us are continuing to do, today patrol operations is dangerously close to being 50% down from minimum safe staffing levels,” Seattle Police Officer Guild (SPOG) president Mike Solan said in a statement to his membership obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Today’s Special Events’ staffing is also down by at least 40%. I’ve heard rumblings that this was a ‘sick out’ [as] the reason today is difficult. I can assure you that SPOG has had nothing to do with this so called ‘sick out.'”
Seattle police ‘sick out’ coordinated?
Solan, in his statement, noted that a “sick out” is illegal.
While there was no indication of a coordinated “sick out,” aside from SPOG’s mention, officers have been severely overworked due to the blue/gold scheduling from the MLB All-Star Week. That schedule mandated 12-hour shifts and no days off. One officer speaking anonymously said that Seattle cops were “salty” about that schedule.
“What is also deeply troubling is how patrol operations is being impacted. This is unsafe. These words aren’t easy for me to find but I feel compelled to state them,” he continued.
The department has lost nearly 600 officers since 2020 due to the Black Lives Matter movement and the Seattle City Council’s embrace of police defunding. The council vowed to cut funding by 50%, but in the end cut around 18%. As a result, there was a mass exodus of officers. Councilmembers Andrew Lewis, Tammy Morales, and Dan Strauss all backed police defunding and are running for re-election. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, one of the most extreme voices on the council, is running to fill a vacant King County Council seat.
“Every employee, board member and subcontracter friend are working tirelessly. We are all driven by the belief that you deserve to not lose any more of your peers. You deserve to be the highest paid police officer in Washington state. You deserve to have outstanding benefits. You deserve to be proud of your profession,” Solan wrote.
A spokesperson for the SPD could not be reached for comment.
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