“The number of deployable sworn Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) members is 880. City officials have previously said the SPD should be at 1,500-1,600, minimum.”
Seattle, WA, has not been the safest and cleanest place in the country after anti-police riots took over in the summer of 2020. Remember when then-Mayor Durkan said they could be experiencing the “summer of love” that year?
Well, the Seattle Police Department said it lost 170 police officers in 2021 due to terminations, retirements, resignations, and deaths.
Overall, the department has lost 320 since 2020.
To make matters worse the department has over 100 officers sidelined due to the mandatory COVID vaccine.
From Jason Rantz at KTTH radio (emphasis mine):
An SPD spokesperson says the number of deployable officers is just “around 950” as the city and region experiences a surge of violent crime. But it is actually much worse.
As of January 10, while there are 948 officers on the force, the number includes recruits not yet sworn (36), students in field training (25), and unavailable officers (between 123 and 187).
The number of deployable sworn Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) members is 880. City officials have previously said the SPD should be at 1,500-1,600, minimum.
“The current state of Seattle Police staffing is off the charts dangerous for our community,” Seattle Police Officers Guild [SPOG] president Mike Solan warns the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
Making matters worse, there are up to 187 officers on the so-called “HR Unavailable” list. These officers are on extended leave for a variety of reasons, including injury or military service. But it also lists officers who are using their paid time off — accrued over years of service — before leaving the department. Due to the nature of when these numbers are reported and how often they can change, it will sometimes conflict with numbers reported from SPOG.
So the city has 880 deployable sworn-in officers. The city needs at least
Rantz wrote that SPD has to rely “on non-patrol officers to volunteer for patrol shifts just to meet staffing minimums.” Unfortunately, it is not enough because some of the precincts do not have the minimum officers needed “to keep their community and each other safe.”
Solan worries those officers will burn out and cause even more staffing issues.
It also does not help that other jurisdictions have persuaded Seattle officers to leave:
And while the city does little, so far, to change the situation, other departments are recruiting Seattle officers.
“Currently I don’t see a robust plan in place to attract other people to become Seattle officers nor plans to retain our current ones,” Solan said. “What I do see are other jurisdictions rolling out the red carpet with high signing bonuses to entice their future police officers. We all know why this crisis started and it was completely avoidable.”
New sworn-in Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office confirmed he will not rescind the COVID vaccine mandate while admitting the SPD has a staffing issue:
“The mayor has been very clear that he believes SPD needs additional officers to meet national best practices, reduce response times, and ensure thorough and comprehensive investigations. He’s committed to working not only to retain current SPD officers, but also to recruit the next generation,” a spokesperson for the mayor said in an email to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
The spokesperson says Harrell is confident “there’s an opportunity to set a new tone for the City on police and public safety needs to help meet those goals.”
Solan stressed to Rantz that the city needs to tackle the shortage now due to the rise in crime: “Seattle can’t wait anymore. At the end of the day, it is our entire community that is suffering as there are hardly enough cops to answer their calls for help. Seattle is in serious trouble and is worth saving.”
In November, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn announced his intention to re-fund the police: “This re-fund the police initiative that I am launching is going to put about $15 million — a much-needed investment — [toward] about 33 FTEs, employees, in the sheriff’s office; it will re-establish the gang unit; it’s going to put money into recruiting and retaining deputies, including some bonuses when they come onboard; it’s going to put the hate and bias crime unit together as well as the gang unit, and a lot of other things that will help keep our community safe.”
King County broke its 2020 gun violence records by October 2021:
“We’ve already exceeded the historic records of gun violence that we saw last year in 2020,” said Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney. “It allows us to confirm what we feel in our gut. Incidents of gun violence, incidents of shots fired continues to grow at an alarming pace,” he said.
So far this year, 73 people have been shot and killed in King County, compared to 69 shooting murders in all of 2020. The victims are primarily young people of color. (The department does not track the ethnicities of the suspects, in part because at-large perpetrators would lead to incomplete data.)
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