Mass exodus: Seattle police lose 34 more officers as cops resign, retire or transfer out at frantic rates

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SEATTLE, WA – Can’t say the outgoing police chief didn’t warn her city council – former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best accurately predicted more demise and dwindling numbers of officers.  Now, 34 more officers have recently resigned, retired, or otherwise transferred.

Chief Best, at the time of her retirement, was previously quoted on the matter:

“This is not about the money. And it’s not about the demonstrators. Be real. I have a lot thicker skin than that.  It really is about the overarching lack of respect for the officers, the men and woman who work so hard day in and day out.”

That was from August.  The movement to defund the Seattle police department is still strong.  While the Seattle City Council is poised to cut the police budget once again, the mass exodus continues with at least 34 more officers having left the department.

The newest staffing data shows the number of officers leaving Seattle in 2020 at 144 and counting. This is historically high. 

The council is wrapping up deliberations on the 2021 budget with a Monday afternoon vote planned. It will likely see a 17% budget cut to the Seattle Police Department, far short of their pledge to defund by 50%. Still, the move continues to put Seattle on a downward spiral toward even higher crime.

You read that correctly – the goal of the Seattle city council is to defund the police budget by at least 50%.

It is projected, and rumored, that over 200 officers will have left Seattle PD by the end of the year.

Mike Solan, President of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) spoke on the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH Seattle:

“I am sad and yet, I’m not surprised that many of the great human beings that do the job of policing in Seattle are still leaving SPD at an alarming rate.  It saddens me because I’m witnessing a professional police agency revered by many fall victim to radical activism that is swallowing Seattle.”

The numbers and problems create a Catch-22.  With 1,200 active officers, staff is at lower levels today than in 1990.  Population has increased more than 44% since then.  Crime has surged, including homicides, partly due to relaxed prosecution and bail policies. 

The number of homeless is multiplying.  Fewer cops, less respect, fewer police resources, with more people, more crime, and bad prosecutorial judgement, and riots, protests, and demonstrations, it’s vicious cycle.

Jason Rantz has been an active voice in Seattle journalism, speaking frequently on Fox’s Tucker Carlson Show:

“Homelessness is exploding in Seattle. Tents engulf city parks, kids find needles on playgrounds & many homeless people get violent. The only effective tool the city had to tackle the problem was gutted by an ideologically-driven City Council.”

From Jason Rantz’s article in MyNorthwest:

“The Seattle police staffing situation is already dire. Service calls aren’t getting reasonable response times, and the city can’t safely handle two major, concurrent incidents. The city council is about to make it even worse.

Thanks to activist pressure disconnected from reality, the council will defund vacant officer positions as a way to cut the budget. They’ll funnel funds to different programs, like embedded social workers who can respond to 911 calls for people in crisis.

This will simply result in assaults — or even murders — of social workers. They aren’t trained to defend themselves during emergency service calls.”

SPOG President Solan added:

“SPOG will continue to stand up for Seattle’s public safety and for officer jobs.  False narratives about the fantastic human beings that do the job of policing are not only grossly wrong, but dangerous for our society.

We will continue to answer that call for help even if we’re down to just one cop left in our city. That’s the kind of people we are. We will never give in to mob justice and we will right the false narratives about us and our profession. We love Seattle, and we love our job!”

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Councilmember warns cuts to a sheriff’s department will make rural, urban areas ‘unsafe’

November 16, 2020

KING COUNTY, WA – The sheriff’s position in the Seattle metro area, to include many suburban and rural communities, is now a politically-appointed position. King County is now the only county in the state of Washington where the sheriff isn’t elected by the county’s citizens.

While that may not be a significant issue to a casual observer, turning the sheriff into a political pawn may create huge issues for King County’s residents.

For reference, King County contains the cities of Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Redmond, Bothell, and Federal Way.

Reagan Dunn, a King County councilmember, went on Seattle’s Dori Monson Show and spoke out about the potential for conflict and loss that this change presents:

“Well, King County just decided here today to follow suit with what has happened in downtown Seattle, where 118 officers have been pushed out, fired, terminated, whatever — left the force.

And what we’re seeing, of course, down there is literally near record homicides, dramatic increase in shootings.

You all saw CHOP where the police chief actually had to resign because she couldn’t capitulate to what the downtown Seattle politicians were doing.

 “Seattle’s going in the very same direction, and there’s just been huge cuts to the sheriff’s budget that will pull another 40 law enforcement officers off the streets this year alone in King County.”

Dunn went on to explain that many of the budget cuts may be hidden in legislation:

“The devil’s in the details when you look at the budget.

So they’re doing an immediate number of cuts, and then what they’ll do is they hide cuts by putting them into the contract cities and adding sheriff deputies to the contract cities because they’re being paid for by the contract cities, but those people aren’t policing the rest of King County, and then they don’t allow vacancies to be filled.”

And so our turnover is around 40 to 60 officers per year. So year one, we’re going to lose 40. We’ll lose even more in year two.

Add that to the near 120 — I think, 118 officers — in Seattle and you’re starting to get a police force all throughout King County that is just not prepared for the type of crime we’re going to continue seeing.”

Seattle is the county seat for King County, and that city has certainly seen its share of budget issues, with calls to completely defund the department, or at least restrict funding severely.

The movement to defund the Seattle Police Department, the loss of their remarkable police chief, months and months of occupation and protests in the “CHOP” and “CHAZ” area, and the recent resurgence of promised protests, likely has the Seattle Police Department caught short in their ability to handle the protests, especially the ones on election day and the days after.

Nearly 120 officers have left the police force since the end of September. Most were patrol officers, and either retired or transferred to other agencies.

Seattle now maintains only 1,200 officers that are deployable for contingencies, the lowest number since 1990, when the city’s population was 516,000 – and now that population has grown to 783,000.

The explosion of the surrounding suburban areas also increases the number of citizens routinely inside the city limits. 

Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz made a bold statement two weeks ago, saying:

“You have to have close to about 1,400 to then have a reasonable number, which puts us at about 1,250, 1,275 that are deployable. So you really need about 1,400 people to have a much more reasonable staffing when it comes to having enough in patrol investigations and special operations.”

The alternative to having good staffing numbers is to work officers on twelve-hour shifts with no days off as long as it is necessary.

It goes without saying that if that is how the officers are required to work, it will cause stress and exhaustion of the officers, all while being critiqued and micro-managed – a formula made for failure and likely the departure of even more officers.

The King County sheriff’s department has been tasked to support the Seattle Police Department during a crisis, but Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht has a similar concern about staffing once their department is thinned out:

“We have prepared for and will stand up a command post and support King County Elections if called upon to do so. My worry is that we do not have enough deputies and officers if protests or rallies get out of hand.” 

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