Seattle Police Division dropping officers at ‘document tempo’ amid price range uncertainty, lack of help: officers

Kelly Thomas Jackson, 20, was sentenced to prison last month for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at two Seattle police vehicles during a May 30 protest that devolved into a riot.

Seattle Police Division (SPD) officers are leaving the job at a “document tempo” — with at the least 249 individuals leaving over the previous yr alone — as statistics present manpower has been declining in recent times, in accordance with union and metropolis officers.

SPD boasted a police power of 1,276 uniformed members on the finish of February 2020, however staffing ranges dropped by 249 individuals to 1,027 by the top of February 2021, in accordance with the newest division statistics out there to Fox Information.

“Morale just isn’t good, and that is as a result of we do not have the political help from our elected officers,” Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan instructed Fox Information. “And as we’re seeing officers flee this space, it is a direct results of that lack of political help.”


As of final week, 66 officers had left SPD to this point this yr, Solan mentioned, confirming earlier stories from native information

Kelly Thomas Jackson, 20, allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at two Seattle police vehicles during a May 30 protests that devolved into a riot.

Kelly Thomas Jackson, 20, allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at two Seattle police autos throughout a Could 30 protests that devolved right into a riot.
(Division of Justice)

Previous to 2020, SPD’s staffing numbers had already been shrinking, although not steadily and never practically as drastically.

SPD staffed 1,283 members on the finish of February 2019 and 1,367 uniformed officers on the identical time in 2018. Personnel numbers remained the identical in February 2016 and 2017, with 1,343 every year, statistics present.


Previous to the dying of George Floyd in Minneapolis, for which one officer has now been convicted on all expenses, Seattle officers “publicly applauded” SPD as “the mannequin of reform” Solan instructed Fox Information earlier this week.

However after Floyd’s dying on Could 25, 2020, “these identical politicians could not run away from us sooner,” he mentioned.

“And that’s not saying that we’re devoid of any type of fault within the riots post-Floyd as a consequence of ways employed by the division,” Solan mentioned, noting that there have been “classes realized.”

A man allegedly threw a flaming piece of lumber into a Seattle police vehicle Thursday, injuring one officer.

A person allegedly threw a flaming piece of lumber right into a Seattle police automobile Thursday, injuring one officer.
(Seattle Police Division)

Solan additionally mentioned that whereas “lots of” of SPD officers had been injured through the riots, elected officers blamed them “for being the instigators,” which additional contributed to the decline in police morale.

“I believe that the general anti-police sentiment has actually accelerated the separation aspirations by cops on this metropolis,” he continued, with “separations” referring to retirements or resignations.

In January, Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz mentioned in a public memo that 50 individuals had been murdered in 2020 – a 61% jumped from the 31 murders reported in 2019 and “the very best variety of murders in 26 years.”

Up to now this yr, there have been 1,047 violent crimes reported in Seattle, with seven murders and 614 aggravated assaults, in accordance with SPD statistics.

Talking to KING5 earlier this week, Diaz mentioned SPD staffing was at “document lows.” Over 180 officers left SPD in 2020.

“We’re at document lows within the metropolis proper now. I’ve about 1,080 deployable officers,” Diaz reportedly mentioned Tuesday. “That is the bottom I’ve seen our division.”

Officers respond after two Seattle Police Department officers were shot while responding to a robbery in downtown Seattle on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Photo by GENNA MARTIN/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Officers reply after two Seattle Police Division officers had been shot whereas responding to a theft in downtown Seattle on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Picture by GENNA MARTIN/San Francisco Chronicle by way of Getty Pictures)

Officers typically attributed their choices to go away to the town’s anti-police local weather, in accordance with the report.

In a press release supplied to Fox Information on Friday, a spokesperson for Mayor Jenny Durkan’s workplace mentioned SPD has efforted “an elevated concentrate on recruitment and retention,” however “continues to lose sworn officers at a document tempo as a consequence of ongoing price range uncertainty.”

“Group security signifies that we’ve got officers in a position to answer 911 calls with extra civilian responses, extra disaster responses, and extra alternate options,” the assertion continued. “Based mostly on exit interviews, we all know the Council’s threats of continued layoffs or cuts are having a direct impression on choices to go away the division. Mayor Durkan continues to warning Metropolis Council towards making further one-time cuts with out addressing hiring and retention of officers, particularly various officers, to answer the very best precedence calls.”


Solan instructed Fox Information he’s struggling to know activists’ and politicians’ endgame.

“They are going to decimate numbers to fill the uniforms to guard our residents, and to what acquire, if any? What is the finish sport?” Solan requested. “I do not see how that is a recipe for our communities to really feel protected.”

Fox Information’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report. 

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