Report: Seattle “police oversight committee” agrees with previous decision to abandon East Precinct during riots

Share:

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

SEATTLE, WA- According to reports, a police oversight committee found that former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best and one of her assistant chiefs did not violate law or policy when they ordered officers to withdraw from the East Precinct station house during riots in June 2020. 

On June 9, 2020, Seattle police officers were ordered to abandon the police station amidst nightly riots that were plaguing the city following the death of George Floyd.

On October 4th, the Seattle Office of Police Accountability (OPA) announced that its investigation had determined that evacuating the police precinct located in what at the time was called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) was a “reasonable decision.”

Based on information available to protect the safety of both protestors and police officers, the oversight committee seemingly agreed it was the right decision. OPA Director Andrew Myerberg said in a statement:

“Evidence indicates that the chief and assistant chief made the best decisions they could under high-stress, unprecedented circumstances.”

Police struggled for more than a week to keep the East Precinct safe, but on a nightly basis, several protesters removed the barricades they erected around the building. On June 8th, just a day prior to brass making the decision to abandon the station, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered police to remove the barricades around the station.

OPA’s investigation found that Best delegated the specifics of maintaining East Precinct operations to her assistant chief, who ordered police to evacuate the facility after consulting with other commanders.

The move led to complaints to OPA that Best failed to take her responsibility for her command and that the evacuation led to the establishment of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), which has been criticized on several occasions for criminal activity.

Reportedly, the zone experienced four shootings in just 10 days, including two shootings that killed two teens. 

OPA stated that it did not find any consensus among Seattle police command or the mayor’s office that reopening the streets around the precinct or evacuating it would result in CHOP. Myerberg said:

“To find otherwise would be to engage in hindsight analysis divorced from the immense pressures and time constraints that the assistant chief faced at the time. No one can definitively say that any alternative strategy, even if one were feasible, wold have produced better results.”

OPA recommended that in the future, the department better communicate such a major move to the public ahead of doing it as to avoid the panic and speculation that occurred when officers abandoned the East Precinct.

In a statement, Seattle police said that the department continues to learn from the protests that took place in 2020. The statement said, in part:

“The turmoil outside the East Precinct during the summer of 2020 presented the SPD with opportunities to learn and improve.

The Department’s revisions since then incorporate recommendations made by members of the community and our accountability partners, including the Office of Police Accountability, Office of the Inspector General and the Community Police Commission.

The Seattle Police Department appreciates these valuable partnerships and acknowledges the future of public safety is something we need to create together.”

However, the OPA recommendations didn’t seem to acknowledge that the problems at the East Precinct continued for months after that initial evacuation.

On July 24, 2020, at least 59 law enforcement officers were injured when rioters blew a hole through the wall of the East Precinct, looted and destroyed nearby businesses, and set occupied buildings aflame.

At the time, Best stated that the protest was not a peaceful demonstration at all and many people were put at risk.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Already defunded Seattle Police facing losing nearly 300 cops – or more than 1/4 of their force – this month alone

October 7th, 2021

SEATTLE, WA – According to reports, the Seattle Police Department could lose as much as 27% of their sworn officers by mid-October due to the city’s mandate that state employees and healthcare workers be fully vaccinated by October 18th.

Back in August, Governor Jay Inslee announced a vaccination mandate that would require most state employees and healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by October 18th.

Said mandate by Governor Inslee was also adopted in King County and the city of Seattle, which has set the stage for the current debacle regarding the potential loss of as many as 292 sworn officers for the Seattle Police Department.

In order for employees to be considered fully vaccinated by October 18th, those employees would’ve had to have received either their final dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by October 4th.

According to an update from the Seattle Police Department as of October 6th, 292 sworn officers have yet to provide proof of their vaccination status.

While officers are able to apply for various exemptions regarding the vaccine mandate, be they religious or medical reasons, it’s unclear what percent – in any – are among those 292 officers that have yet to provide proof of their vaccination status.

Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz sent out a letter to staff on October 1st regarding the impending vaccination deadline, acknowledging that staffing issues could arise if the deadline isn’t met:

“I am asking anyone who has not submitted this information to please get it done. In preparation for the City Vaccination mandate, SPD has constructed various staffing plans for how we continue to ensure continuity of emergency and legally-mandated services. In order to have the least amount of disruptions to our personnel we need to know how many individuals are cleared, under city vaccination rules.

At the moment – we have to assume we have hundreds of unvaccinated individuals based on the information submitted. This could create a disruption to unit of assignments.”

Back in August, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on how lengthy police response times were in Seattle in the wake of concerning attrition numbers the Seattle Police Department experienced reportedly stemming from anti-police protests and riots throughout 2020.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Here’s our previous report from this past August detailing the difficulties Seattle Police are already dealing with due to their already-depleted force.

_

Welcome to police-defunded Seattle, where cop response times exceed 60 minutes for certain calls

(Originally published August 11th, 2021)

SEATTLE, WA – According to reports, Seattle Police’s response times for certain calls are exceeding 60 minutes, a result that officials say is directly tied to the ongoing staffing crisis that the Seattle Police Department is experiencing.

During the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee meeting held on August 10th, the issues revolving around police response times and staffing shortages for the department were brought up while discussing the SPD Quarterly Finance and Staffing Report.

Back in May, reports noted that the Seattle Police Department lost nearly 20% of their police force, with approximately 260 officers leaving the department – which much of that attrition was credited toward the intense anti-police protests and police reforms enacted in Washington.

Councilmember Alex Pedersen commented during the August 10th city council meeting that this is overall “concerning”:

“This attrition is concerning and when we look at 911 response times as well.”

Dr. Antonio Oftelie, a Court Monitor of Seattle Police, warns that the current staffing levels within the Seattle Police Department runs the risk of the agency not being able to adhere to a federal judge’s imposed consent decree that called for reforms like community policing:

“What we can’t do is starve the organization so much, you cannot do community policing. SPD is stuck right now where they are only doing responding to crisis and they don’t have the people and resources to do true community policing.”

Council member Teresa Mosqueda inferred that Seattle Police’s staffing crisis and response times problem is mostly the fault of Seattle Police, noting that “the council fully funded the hiring plan as proposed by the mayor’s office.”

Yet, a spokesperson for Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office funds that the attrition rate within Seattle Police is more heavily tied to the rhetoric coming from the city council, highlighting how the council has pushed for a 50% reduction in police officers in Seattle:

“Over the past year, the City Council has advocated for cutting 50 percent of officers, threatened out of order layoffs, and cut the salary of former Chief Carmen Best and her leadership staff. The City Council continues to hold millions of dollars of department budget hostage and has yet to act on the Mayor and SPD’s comprehensive budget proposal.”

“If the Council President now cares about recruitment and retention at the Seattle Police Department, she should look at departing officers’ exit memos who note lack of support from City Council as a key reason for job dissatisfaction and separation then vote to immediately to support the Mayor and SPD’s proposal regarding hiring and retention.”

“Publicly promising to fire 50 percent of your workforce is a failed retention strategy, which is why Mayor Durkan, former Chief Best, and Interim Chief Diaz have warned City Council against layoffs and blunt cuts.”

Christopher Fisher, Seattle Police’s Strategic Initiatives Director, said that internal polling from the department shows that even active officers wouldn’t recommend to their own family members to come work at the department:

“On a scale of negative 100 to positive 100, how would you endorse a family member coming to work where you work? SPD’s is negative 50. Which is bad.”

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

We at Law Enforcement Today previous reported on the matter of police response times in Seattle in the wake of the 2020 riots back in March. 

Here’s that previous report. 

_

SEATTLE, WA – Police response times have been reportedly rising in Seattle, which the city’s mayor says that officers leaving the force in large numbers is heavily contributing to the problem. 

On March 9th, the Seattle Police Department released new details regarding call response times, and the response time data released is concerning. 

Currently, “Priority 1” calls – which consist of things like reported shootings or active robberies – have a response time goal of seven minutes or less.

“Priority 2” calls, such as someone calling in to report an assault that is no longer actively taking place, are getting responded to within 15 minutes. 

However, the Seattle Police haven’t been able to meet these response time goals since May of 2020. In June of 2020, response times for “Priority 1” averaged over eight minutes and “Priority 2” calls reached nearly 24 minutes in both June and August.

Furthermore, there were 221 days in 2020 where officers based out of one of the SPD precincts couldn’t even respond to lower-priority calls.

This all just so happens to be occurring at the same time that the City Council is actively trying to cut $5.4 million from the Seattle Police budget. 

Mayor Jenny Durkan is pointing to officers leaving the Seattle Police Department at seemingly unprecedented rates as being one of the causes behind elongated response times to emergency calls.

Durkan said: 

“Seven minutes is a long time when you need somebody right now. And the more officers we lose, the more that number will go up.”

For the sake of perspective, the SPD had a departure rate of about 56 officers per year for the past two decades. 

Yet in 2020, the number of officers who left the SPD was 186 – over three times the off of a typical year. Even when accounting for the number of officers hired recently – which was 51 – that still puts the department at a net loss of 135 officers. 

In an unsurprising revelation, many of the exit interviews for the officers that departed in 2020 showed that they’d partly decided to separate from the department due to the City Council’s vitriolic agenda against policing in the wake of George Floyd’s death. 

But the City Council is still pushing to see millions pulled from the police budget in 2021, an effort that Mayor Durkan says is poorly timed, considering the current debacle revolving around police response times: 

“I think it’s the wrong time to make a cut right now, and I hope the council slows down and rethinks their approach.”

It’s hardly a shocking cause-and-effect scenario, in that when police resources in the form of both monetary and officer retention efforts get depleted, among the consequences will be slower response time to emergency calls. 

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
 
Facebook Follow First
Share:
Submit a Correction
Related Posts