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Tipsheet

The Seattle Police Department Is Hemorrhaging Officers and It's About to Get Worse

AP Photo/Aron Ranen

The city of Seattle, home to the former CHAZ, has been dealing with a shortage of police officers as they are leaving the department in larger numbers than in past years and it is about to get worse due to the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

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Seattle-based "The Jason Rantz Show" reported the Seattle Police Department (SPD) saw 170 officers leave in 2021:

"The final separations report, which includes retirements and resignations, comes after a year of anti-police activism and a vaccine mandate that sidelined upwards of 100 officers. Some of those sidelined officers who were going through the accommodation repeal process ended up quitting or complying with the mandate. Others are still on the list as they await their inevitable firing — unless newly sworn-in Mayor Bruce Harrell changes direction. Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz says the department is at 'crisis levels.' The union president says it’s 'off the charts dangerous' for the city."

An SPD spokesperson said the number of deployable officers is just "around 950."

In 2020, during the height of the riots and continuous unrest Seattle experienced, 350 officers left the department. The large number of personnel leaving the force for other localities or the profession entirely has resulted in SPD having daily challenges to fully staff shifts:

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"The department has moved towards staff augmentation, relying on non-patrol officers to volunteer for patrol shifts just to meet staffing minimums. There are some shifts where precincts do not meet the minimum number of officers required to keep their community and each other safe."

"I’m fearful that officers who continue to augment patrol shifts will soon burn out. This can’t continue. [Seattle Police Officers Guild] is trying to work with the city to solve our community’s police staffing crisis,” SPOG President Mike Solan said on the "Jason Rantz Show" on KTTH.

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