The Seattle Police Department has a problem.
So do the people of Seattle.
Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, said of police officers leaving the department, “At the end of this month … we will be close to 300 officers [leaving]. That’s a third of the agency.”
He made those remarks to Ari Hoffman, host of “The Ari Hoffman Show,” on Talk Radio 570 KVI on Tuesday.
As The Post Millennial reported, Solan said the loss of officers dated from last year to the present time—and “could range from 288 officers to 300.”
Some officers took early retirement, while others went to work for police forces in other cities or switched careers completely.
Solan said the officers who were leaving were “great human beings … They just want to serve.” He said morale among the department is “at an all-time low.”
The loss of good cops at a time of great divisiveness in our culture raises a key question: Who’s going to replace them?
And assuming police forces are able to attract new staff—what’s going to keep them there?
Last August, the Seattle Police Department was “defunded”—an action by the Seattle City Council following the riots after the death of George Floyd in May of 2020 in Minneapolis.
In an intensely watched trial, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty last month on all the counts he faced over Floyd’s death.
The trial for three other former Minneapolis officers involved in the case has been pushed to March 2022.
The Post Millennial reported that after Floyd’s death, “millions of dollars” were taken from the Seattle Police Department and given to local activist groups—“many of which were involved in the riots and the autonomous zone” that sprang up last summer. Crime has been spiking in Seattle—as has “the length of 911 response times.”
Seattle is far from the only city to be experiencing this tumult amid today’s anti-police sentiment, high crime, and other issues.
On the opposite coast, in New York City, more than 5,300 NYPD officers have either retired or left the force—a 75 percent increase from 2019, when 3,053 individuals retired, The New York Postrecently reported.
Some 2,600 officers have left that force, the outlet also said, while another 2,746 have filed for retirement.
The Post also noted, “Through April 21 of this year, 831 cops [in the NYPD] have retired or filed to leave—and many more are expected to follow suit in the current anti-cop climate, according to Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. ‘Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them,’ Giacalone said. ‘NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers.’”
While absolutely no one condones violence or undue force against innocent individuals, the question must be asked: As police officers leave their departments in droves, where does that leave the scores of law-abiding citizens who may need police protection or help during emergencies?
Pat Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association in New York City, told The Post, “The mayor [Bill de Blasio] and [the] City Council are absolutely trying to abolish the police. They’ve kept our pay absurdly low. They’ve ratcheted up our exposure to lawsuits. They’ve demonized us at every opportunity. And they’ve taken away the tools we need to do the job we all signed up for, which is to keep our communities safe.”
In March, the NYC City Council voted to end qualified immunity for police as well as other “reforms.”
A potential overhaul of policing is right now being hotly debated on Capitol Hill, in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are under pressure to put through police reform—while Republicans are arguing that a weakening of qualified immunity for police could make it much tougher for law enforcement officers to do their jobs in dangerous situations. It could also lead to even more attrition among police.
Forbes recently shared a partial list of some of the other police forces across America that have been experiencing a “historic exodus.”
Among those listed, the city of Portland, Oregon, has been experiencing “one of the biggest waves of [police] departures in recent memory,” as Oregon Live described it, with 115 police officers leaving since last July—over a third of whom resigned—and nearly 140 vacancies on its force of less than 1,100 officers.
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—By CNJ Staff