Throughout a year of riots, autonomous zones, demonization by public officials and defunding, over 200 Seattle police officers quit the force. In exit interviews, more than two thirds of officers cited the Seattle City Council’s policies as a direct cause for the separations as well as the overall anti police climate in the city. Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz called the situation a "staffing crisis" on Tuesday.
According to sources at SPD, an additional 66 officers have quit so far in 2021. Some of the officers opted for early retirement, while others took law enforcement jobs in other cities or switched to alternate careers.
Sources told The Post Millennial that morale on the force is at an all time low. Just this week, a Seattle police officer and trainee were refused service at a local chocolate shop. The incident revealed a pattern of behavior by employees of the chain at other locations.
The same day, a female officer was walking her beat past a local public school when approximately 10 3rdgrade students raised their hands in the 'hands-up-don’t-shoot,' a reference to the Michael Brown incident in in Ferguson, Missouri. BLM activists claimed Brown was a victim of police brutality after he was shot but investigations revealed that Brown had attacked the police officers.
According to SPD, there are only 1,080 deployable officers, a record low not seen since the 1980’s when the population of the city was less than half of what it is now. In August, the Seattle City Council defunded the department in response to the riots following the death of George Floyd. Millions of dollars were funneled from the police department to local activist organizations, many of which were involved in the riots and the autonomous zone.
Crime has spiked exponentially across the city, as have the length of 911 response times. This week, it took police almost an hour to respond to reports of a gun on a public school campus. The homicide rate in 2020 doubled from 2019 and is continuing the same upward climb in 2021. Despite the rise in crime following their defunding efforts, the City Council is considering more cuts to the police department’s budget. Just this week the council expressed interest in diverting some of the $13 million into other parts of the budget, money originally designated for SPD payroll which is now not being spent because of the number of departing officers.
SPD sources told The Post Millennial that the number of departments is so drastic that officers need to make appointments with the quartermaster to return their equipment.
According to The Seattle Times, "The Seattle City Council’s reckless rhetoric and slapdash moves to defund the police have hurt — not helped — the safety of residents citywide. The list is long: Funding cuts without the former chief’s insight and a climate that spurred an exodus of officers have hurt the department’s ability to respond to trouble. Detectives and other specialists are pulling routine patrol shifts to respond to 911 calls rather than working to prevent or investigate crimes because the department is so short-handed. After calling 911, residents throughout the city have had to wait for police response that, in some instances, never happens."
In an interview with NPR, Seattle’s former police chief, Carmen Best, who resigned last summer, said the cuts and anti-police climate left her feeling believing that her department was "destined to fail."
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