How Many Police Officers Has Seattle Really Lost?
According to data from the City of Seattle and a report from The Center Square, Seattle's Police staffing problems pre-date the 'defund' movement that began following the death of George Floyd.
Some policies date back to 2017, says Police Guild
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May of 2020 sparked a defund the police movement that struck many cities, including Seattle. Since then, the number of offers that can be deployed to respond to calls has plummeted. But the exodus actually began several years earlier.
The Center Square reports since 2019, Seattle has had 669 officers resign, and has less than 900 who can be sent out on calls.
Seattle Police Guild leaders say the situation began to worsen in 2017 with the adoption of new police 'oversight' policies, including the "Office of Police Accountability, an Office of Inspector General for Public Safety (OIG), and the Community Police Commission (CPC)" according to the Center Square.
Officials say the increasingly hostile, anti-law enforcement sentiment in and out of city government leadership is behind the decline in officers.
City officials have labeled it as a crisis, but recruiting efforts are being hampered by the political, and ideological climate found in Seattle.
CHOP and other riots and incidents also added to the number of officers leaving, and Police officials say the lack of a new contract (the old one expired in 2020) has made recruiting difficult. The Center Square reports the Police Guild says there are only 875 deployable officers in Seattle now, compared to cities like Boston which have smaller populations but has 2,144 sworn officers.
So far this year 48 new officers have been hired in Seattle, but that doesn't offset the 61 who have resigned since the beginning of the year.
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