Seattle PD having trouble hiring new officers

Seattle PD having trouble hiring new officers
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Politicians often can’t really afford to be far-sighted. Their constituents want immediate results, not the promise of better days down the road.

Yet officials can be far too short-sighted for their own good. Seattle, for example, was another of a handful of cities that cut funding to their police department not all that long ago.


Now, that may well be causing problems.

Violent crime reached a 14-year high in Seattle last year as the city’s police department deals with a staffing shortage that is straining its ability to protect the community.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said during his state of the city address this week that there is funding to hire 125 new officers this year and put more resources on the street.

“The depleted staffing we see today does not allow us to react to emergencies and crime with the response times our residents deserve,” Harrell said Tuesday.

“It does not allow us to staff the specialty teams we need for issues like domestic violence or DUI or financial crimes targeting the elderly,” he said. “It does not allow us to conduct the thorough investigations we expect to make sustainable change.”

Twenty officers left the force in January, 171 officers exited last year, and 186 officers separated from the force in 2020 amid the push to defund the police, according to KOMO. Only 137 officers have been hired in that time span.

In other words, Seattle treated officers like crap, demonized them, and then are absolutely and completely shocked that they can’t hire officers.

Yep. The whole thing is an absolute mystery. Not a soul could have seen this one coming, now could they?

I mean, other than every person with a functional brain, that is.

Look, cops are people. Not only does that mean some will be good and some will be bad, it also means they want to be appreciated for what they do and know they’re supported by their leadership.


Additionally, when you’ve demonized them in the press, you can’t really expect applicants to flock to fill the void. It’s just not going to work that way.

“You know, the media and the city have been treating police like crap. I just can’t wait to get me some of that!” said no one ever.

This is of Seattle’s own making, much like what’s going on in San Francisco right now. You can’t demonize the police then be surprised when things don’t go well in the aftermath.

I get that they shouldn’t be lionized and shielded from liability for their mistakes, but there’s a middle ground that most people can understand and respect between those two extremes. Most people want that middle ground, even.

Unfortunately, public officials are too short-sighted to see that appeasing a mob one day might come back to bite them in the backside in the not-so-distant future.

So, here we are. Seattle can’t get enough police officers and seems genuinely confused as to why. Frankly, were it not for good people who are going to get hurt, I’d just sit here and laugh at them.

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