There is a serious shortage of police officers in one of the country’s major cities, and it is worrying police officials and some residents alike.
The Seattle Police Department is currently operating below safe staffing levels and that is a problem that could manifest itself in serious injuries or death to cops as well as residents of the Emerald City.
Conservative talk radio host Jason Rantz, for instance, reported this week that the SPD’s “Unavailable” list, which includes officers who “are on extended leave and cannot be deployed” has grown “considerably” as of December 10.
Officers on the list have been absent for at least 14 days, according to the report.
The host adds that the SPD is also struggling to fill vacant slots right now is operating below minimum staffing. Rantz also reported that every precinct in every district is facing a shortage of officers.
“The HR Unavailable list was at 126 on Oct. 20, two days after the COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline passed and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan pulled nearly 100 officers from duty,” Rantz said. “Now, the HR Unavailable list has ballooned to 155, according to an SPD source. This is on top of the 335 exodus of officers since 2020.
“The list includes illness, disability, and maternity and paternity leave. But officers burning accrued vacation or sick time will also appear on the list. It’s a move an officer typically takes before separating from the department. The SPD will likely see several separations before the end of the year,” Rantz continued.
“Many of the officers that are out of service come from patrol. It’s causing a staffing crisis.”
Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan went on to tell Rantz that the list had “explode[d]” in recent months.
“We’ve seen that list explode since the riots due to a lot of the injuries, of people not being able to get surgeries scheduled on time because of the pandemic, and a number of [other] factors,” Solan claimed.
He also cited left-wing policy changes.
“The political environment we’re in … created a situation in our community that we don’t have enough cops. Period,” he said.
Solan added that the “city cannot hire enough people to solidify the vacancies and the continued vacancies.”
“That, to me, is alarming. Not just because we’re losing members. But it’s creating a working condition issue. Every watch, every shift, every precinct. That creates a safety concern for the cops who were just answering that basic 911 call,” Solan said.
“Are there going to be enough people to back each other up in terms of creating a safe, to a degree, a safe call?” he added.
An SPD spokesperson did acknowledge the staffing issue while saying that they could not comment any further, the Daily Wire reported.
“Not speaking to any numbers, but every officer that is on that list is an officer that isn’t available to answer 911 calls and can add to the response time for any call,” the spokesperson told Rantz.
“As we have stated in the recent past, the SPD remains in a staffing shortage, and we continue to need additional people. This reason is why we continue to advertise for new recruits as well as ask for additional funding from the city council,” the spokesperson noted further.
As USA Features News reported in June, police resignations are skyrocketing:
Resignations and retirements are soaring among police departments around the country amid a Democrat-driven effort to “defund” departments, even as crime rates and violence in larger cities skyrockets.
According to a survey of roughly 200 departments, retirements were “up 45 percent and resignations rose by 18 percent in the year from April 2020 to April 2021 when compared with the previous 12 months, according to the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington policy institute,” as reported by The New York Times.