Over 200 Seattle police officers have quit over the past year because of an anti-police climate, leaving the city’s police department severely understaffed.
Police officers who left the Seattle Police Department said that they did so because of an anti-police climate in Seattle, City Council policies, and disagreements with leaders at the department, KIRO7 News reported. The department is now in a staffing crisis, Police Chief Adrian Diaz said Tuesday.
Some of the officers who left decided to retire early, according to exit interviews. Others left the force for policing jobs in other cities or for jobs in the private sector. (RELATED: 6 Officers Injured, 18 Demonstrators Arrested After Seattle Rioters Hurl Explosives At Police)
Seattle police crisis after more than 200 officers quit in the last year https://t.co/uhN3w7xjkd
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) April 29, 2021
In August of 2020, the Seattle City Council voted to slash more than $1,000,000 from the police department’s budget after activists called for defunding or abolishing the police. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan expressed concerns about the far-reaching budget cuts and major transformations that would be made to the department if the law was put in place.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best resigned from her position over the budget cuts one day after they were approved.
The council approved the final 2021 budget in November, ultimately reducing the police budget to $340 million compared to the $409 million that was allocated to the department in 2020 – a 17% decrease. Durkan called the final budget cuts “thoughtful and deliberate.”
The money was reallocated to “community alternatives” to police, and the department is no longer be in charge of 911 dispatching or parking enforcement.
Nationwide protests and riots also took place over the past year following the death of George Floyd. Many major cities, including Seattle, were faced with violent riots where rioters and police repeatedly clashed.