Thirty-nine officers either were terminated, died, resigned or retired last month compared to seven in 2019 and five in 2018, the report Seattle Police Department Year-to-Date Attrition Levels released Wednesday showed.
”We are losing an unprecedented number of officers, which makes it even more critical that we recruit and retain officers committed to reform and community policing that reflect the diversity and values of our city,” Mayor Jenny Durkan told MyNorthwest.com.
So far this year, 110 officers have left the Seattle police force, the overwhelming majority after May, when riots and protests erupted over the death of a Black man in police custody in Minneapolis.
Thousands of protestors established the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ, also known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP, on June 8 in a downtown area. It was created ostensibly to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which they claimed was evidence of systemic racism in America.
Police abandoned a precinct within the zone and Durkan refused to move against the occupiers, claiming in one interview it could be a ”summer of love.”
One person was killed and several others shot before the zone was broken up and dismantled about a month later.
The majority of those officers who left the force had either more than 25 years of experience (40) or less than five (28). Among those who retired were Police Chief Carmen Best, the city’s first Black head of the department.
Her departure came a day after the Seattle City Council voted to cut the police department’s budget by 14%.
The vacancies have reduced the Seattle police force to 1,203 officers for a city with a population of 745,000. The police force has not been this small in at least 10 years, the report showed.
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