SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department lost 170 officers in 2021 and that’s not the end of the bloodletting. According to reports, dozens more are expected to leave in the coming weeks due to the mandate for a COVID shot.
Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office told “The Jason Rantz Show” that he doesn’t plan on reversing the vaccine mandate but acknowledged there is a staffing problem in the police department.
“The mayor has been very clear that he believes SPD needs additional officers to meet national best practices, reduce response times, and ensure thorough and comprehensive investigations. He’s committed to working not only to retain current SPD officers, but also to recruit the next generation,” a spokesperson for the mayor said in an email to the show.
The staffing issue follows more than 18 months of anti-police activism and calls for slashing law enforcement budgets and the demand for change.
Police departures include retirements, resignations, terminations and deaths, SPD told Fox News.
A police spokesperson told the news outlet that around 950 officers were deployable. The department has lost 350 officers since 2020, with most leaving after protests erupted following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Mile Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, told Fox News that things are grim. The department staffing levels are “off the charts” and “dangerous for our community.”
“Currently I don’t see a robust plan in place to attract other people to become Seattle officers nor plans to retain our current ones,” he said in a statement sent to the news outlet. “What I do see are other jurisdictions rolling out the red carpet with high signing bonuses to entice their future police officers. We all know why this crisis started and it was completely avoidable.”
“Seattle can’t wait anymore. At the end of the day, it is our entire community that is suffering as there are hardly enough cops to answer their calls for help,” Solan noted. “Seattle is in serious trouble and is worth saving.”
The agency is currently relying upon officers working in other assignments to volunteer for patrol shifts in order to meet staffing needs.
“I’m fearful that officers who continue to augment patrol shifts will soon burn out,” Solan declared.