Last year, more than 180 sworn Seattle police officers left the department, according to city police reports. Chief Adrian Diaz has told the City Council that he’s facing a “staffing crisis” now that 66 more officers left their jobs this year.
“We are at record lows in the city right now. I have about 1,080 deployable officers. This is the lowest I’ve seen our department,” said Diaz, a veteran of more than two decades of service with Seattle police.
Unfortunately, police staffing problems is resulting in fewer officers available to respond to 911 calls and longer response times.
The City Council is considering an additional cut of $2 million to the department budget this year. KING 5 television reports that based on exit interviews, many officers cited the City Council and an anti-police climate either for retiring or seeking opportunities elsewhere.
Councilmember Lisa Herbold, chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, responded that the Council has fully funded SPD’s hiring plan for 2021, including money to hire 114 officers the department is requesting. She’s proposed funding to hire non-sworn employees to address public safety matters.