Jason Rantz: Seattle mayor now says city needs police – but it’s too little, too late as things get worse

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As Seattle residents stumble from one of the deadliest weekends of recent history, Mayor Jenny Durkan sounds the alarm. She says the city needs more police, a message she was reluctant to deliver in public due to toxic policies and a militant activist base.

The Seattle Police Department has lost nearly a third of its troop strength thanks to a Defund movement that is still alive. And the city is left without the law enforcement support it needs to keep residents safe. Combined with prosecutors taking the extreme leftist view that the criminal justice system is racist lest they will be prosecuted, criminals run wild with little fear of the consequences for their fatal behavior.

The painful reality is that the situation is likely to get much worse before we see relief. It’s not even clear whether residents are ready to acknowledge the crisis. Several anti-police voices go into the primaries on Tuesday with the wind on the sails. And Durkan is a lame mayor, having announced months ago that she would not run for re-election.

Not only does Durkan’s message come too little and late, it falls on deaf ears as Seattle City Council continues its efforts to define it. Next week, the council is expected to divert around $ 14 million from the Seattle Police Department’s budget.

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“As a city, we cannot continue on this current path of losing police officers,” warned Durkan during a press conference on Monday. “In the past 17 months, the Seattle Police Department has lost 250 police officers, which is over 300,000 hours of service. We are on the way to losing 300 police officers.”

The city is closer to 300 than the mayor suggests.

Officials who leave and are still on the payroll will not be included in the personal data. According to an internal document I obtained, over 100 officers were unavailable for the mission as of May. Many of the officials on the list, confirmed sources, are burning through the vacation and sickness they deserve. There are concerns that up to half of these officials will not return to their jobs.

How bad is the personnel crisis? Seattle has the lowest usable workforce since the 1980s. If the current course continues, the department will have lost a third of its strength since last year.

How bad is the personnel crisis? Seattle has the lowest usable workforce since the 1980s. If the current course continues, the department will have lost a third of its strength since last year.

As officials began to quit the Minneapolis, Minnesota department before George Floyd’s death, problems with the Defund movement and the rise of Black Lives Matter accelerated. The police endured months of attacks – literally and figuratively – from anti-Fa and BLM radicals and the city council.

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If it wasn’t regular Molotov cocktail attacks or attempts to seal officials inside a building while criminals try to burn it down outside, it was councilors who had vowed to fire white officials over artificial diversity concerns and baseless conspiracy theories on it indicated that the police were responsible for the riot. The budget cuts and the unbearable and degrading criticism of the faith have pushed the police out of town or out of their jobs altogether.

And as the police mass exodus worsened, Seattle saw a dramatic and historic rise in crime.

Seattle had a 26-year high homicide rate last year. This year the city is well on its way to beating 2020 stats. Last month was the deadliest June in at least 13 years, showing a 125% higher homicide rate than June 2020. And Seattle saw five homicides, including one drive-by shooting, in just one weekend.

Interim boss Adrian Diaz told me on my Seattle radio show on KTTH that gangs and the homeless are two of the main contributors to the surge. And when you don’t have enough staff to proactively police – to be present in the community – there are more opportunities for criminals to make victims. After all, criminals rarely murder others when they think police officers are around.

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Durkan could have spent the past seven months raising the alarm. Outwardly, she could have done more to explain to the community what the Defund movement’s attack on the police is doing to this city. But she was mostly silent when anti-police activists used the social justice movement to pursue a “reinterpretation” of the Seattle police force.

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These activists claimed the department was using too much violence, targeting color communities and was a system of oppression that needed to be dismantled. And they had the ears of far-left city councilors.

The council members immediately promised to relieve the police by 50%. They vowed to fire officials based on skin color and promised a mechanism that would allow them to fire white veteran officials to ensure a more diverse staff. They also adopted anti-police rhetoric from the city’s abolitionist electorate. They remained silent when the police were assaulted and pretended it did not happen.

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The council ended up withholding 18% of the funds, angering the unruly left in the city. But the council members promised they weren’t finished yet.

Next week, city insiders expect the council to divert about $ 14 million from the budget. This money comes from the salary savings for civil servants. You could use it for a recruiting effort or to cover the necessary overtime the department had to put in to make up for the staff shortage. Instead, the council will spend it outside of the SPD.

The details remain unclear, but rumor has it that the council will bring it into community programs or its new civilian-run 9-1-1 pilot program where they will send social workers to respond to some emergency calls.

Despite Durkan’s sudden warnings about what the defunding has done to Seattle police, not only is the council ignoring the lame mayor, but the situation in the city could get worse.

Police abolitionist Nikkita Oliver is the leading candidate for a seat on the city council in this upcoming election. Councilor Teresa Mosqueda, a Defund supporter caught on video defending a man who threatens to murder police officers, is likely to survive re-election easily.

A police and prison abolitionist in Nicole Thomas-Kennedy could compete against incumbent Pete Holmes in the Seattle City Attorney’s race. He rarely pursues criminals and is responsible for a large part of the city’s crime problem. Imagine what the city would be like if an abolitionist who swore to interrupt the prosecutor’s criminal division and stop the prosecution of most crimes steps into office.

And with one exception, the top candidates for the mayor’s office are all against the necessary SPD budget increases that are necessary to counteract the rise in crime.

Front runner Bruce Harrell, a former city council member, pays lip service to the police force, but only in undefined, reinvented roles. Current Council President Lorena Gonzalez claims guns and the NRA are the problems. Former state lawmaker Jessyn Farrell, meanwhile, blamed “economic stressors” for the rise in violence. Housing activist Andrew Grant Houston, who has raised most of the funds from the city’s publicly funded election program, plans to cut the police budget by fifty percent.

A candidate for mayor, Deputy Mayor Casey Sixkiller, is pushing back.

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“The only thing the Seattle City Council has achieved by compensating the police is to make Seattle less safe,” Sixkiller tells me. “The city council’s ruthless adoption of a slogan rather than a plan has seen double-digit growth in every category of crime, a record number of shootings and 250 police officers leaving Seattle.”

While Durkan is right to warn of the city’s direction, voters have not yet made a decision on whether to agree to their concerns. It is unclear how many more murders it would take to get their attention.

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