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At Least 144 Seattle Cops Have Left Department As City Defunds Police

Seattle, WA – Thirty-four more Seattle police officers left the force in October and the first part of November.

The latest exodus brought the total number of departures for the year to a total historic high of 144 officers, Jason Rantz reported on KTTH.

And Rantz reported that more officers had reportedly submitted their walking papers in November after this number was calculated.

There is much speculation that the total number of officer departures from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) will hit 200 before the end of the year, KTTH reported.

Normally five-to-seven officers depart per month.

But so far this year, there were 10 separations in May, 10 in July, 14 in August, and a whopping 39 departures in September, KTTH reported.

Lots of officers have reportedly already applied to other police departments and are just waiting for the opportunity to bolt.

“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,” Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) President Mike Solan told Rantz. “It saddens me because I’m witnessing a professional police agency revered by many fall victim to radical activism that is swallowing Seattle.”

Right now, Seattle has about 1,200 “deployable” police officers, fewer than the department had in 1990, KTTH reported.

But the population of Seattle has jumped by 44 percent since 1990.

The police department is so understaffed that officers are unable to respond to more than one serious incident in the city at a time, KTTH reported.

Most of those leaving were patrol officers, meaning the already overburdened police department will take even longer to respond to 911 calls.

“Your 911 call for help will go unanswered for a significant amount of time,” Seattle Police Officer Guild President Mike Solan told Rantz during an interview on his radio show on KTTH.

Response times for dangerous, in-progress crimes in Seattle between July and September averaged a deplorable nine minutes.

Rantz previously reported that police officers were transferring, resigning, and retiring from the department at a higher rate than ever before with a total of 118 departures before the end of September.

SPD said it had 1,200 officers on the force in September, but that number didn’t account for any of the officers who were out on sick leave or administrative leave, KTTH reported.

Sources told Rantz that officers were using their sick leave at higher than normal rates and said many were looking for lateral transfers to police agencies in other cities.

The number of officers was expected to drop closer to 1,000 as the city council’s budget cuts were implemented and the mayor’s hiring freeze took its toll, KTTH reported.

The last “historically large” exodus of Seattle police officers was in 2018, when 108 officers resigned during the entire year.

“There are lots of people walking out the door,” another officer told KTTH at the time. “This is a mass exodus. We’re losing people left and right. Why stick around when the City Council doesn’t appreciate you? [These officers are] fleeing the ‘Seattle mentality.’”

While Seattle’s population has grown exponentially over the past 40 years, the size of the city’s police force has stayed almost the same, the city’s police union told KCPQ.

“I have never seen the number of officers who are leaving and the way they are leaving,” then-Seattle Police Guild Vice President Rich O’Neill said at the time.

Then-Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best blamed the departures on a lack of support from city leadership at the time.

“We need them to stand up for the work that the officers…have been doing in this organization,” she said at the time. “We’re losing good people, and we know it’s because they feel like they aren’t supported by public officials.”

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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