A shortage is sweeping across the nation, and we aren’t just talking about toilet paper. As consumers struggle to make sure they have enough cleaning and bathroom products, a crisis of another kind is going on seemingly behind closed doors: a police shortage.
Sure, the “defund the police” movement caused a lot of mayhem. Some officers walked off the job rather than be subjected to layoffs or long hours while being demoralized and demonized by the left and their lawmakers. But President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate is making it even more difficult to keep personnel onboard. It’s gotten so bad, for example, that in Austin, TX, residents have been instructed not to call 911 unless they are in a life-threatening situation.
Senseless in Seattle
Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) has set an Oct. 18 deadline for officers (as well as firefighters and hospital and school staff) to be fully vaccinated or risk termination. The Emerald City has about 750,000 residents and only just over 1,000 law enforcement officers to help keep the peace. Add that to the chronic homeless situation, and riots curiously dubbed a “summer of love” by mayor Jenny Durkan (D), and you’ve got utter chaos.
Through August this year, the Seattle Police Department has already seen 124 “separations.” With the vaccination deadline fast approaching, the department is looking at mass firing of officers since hundreds have yet to whip out their personal medical information to prove they’ve been vaccinated. As of Wednesday, Oct. 6, 292 personnel have yet to provide proof of vaccination, and Sgt. Randy Huserik confirmed to Fox News that there are an additional 111 officers awaiting results from exemption requests. This brings the actual number of unvaccinated officers up to about 403.
That’s not the full extent of the shortage. According to the Jason Rantz Show, two sources claim there are another 125 officers on “extended leave” using up accrued sick or vacation time. Since the defund police mania started in 2020, Seattle PD has lost more than 300 officers. In the Spring of this year, 66 officers left their jobs, causing what the department described as a “staffing crisis.” Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Slogan explained the situation to the Rantz Show on KTTH:
“The impact of public safety is pretty clear as we have, on average, eight-minute response times to priority one emergent calls and then, to top it off, every shift is below minimum safe staffing. And what I mean by safe staffing is having enough cops to back other cops for these 911 response calls that could be hazardous to not only themselves but people in our community. [On Oct. 4] I was told that the first watch precinct and in the east, … they had three officers available for calls. Three. They had to ask for other officers to respond citywide for those number one response times.”
Living in the Greater Seattle Area, this author has seen the problem of understaffing and long waits for service. A nearby apartment complex is very active – and not in a good way – and has officers visit once a week on average. They never show up with just one vehicle. One officer said that, because of the violence and threat of violence against police officers, they are not allowed to answer calls alone. This takes away even more response time for crimes and calls for assistance.
Will Durkan uphold the mandate to fire officers who have not been vaccinated by the deadline? She has yet to come out and say directly, but she did address the peacekeepers, saying, “We value each of you and do not want to lose you as employees. But the people that count on you the most are the ones that need you to get vaccinated.”
And still, while losing officers left and right, the council is considering another budget cut to the department. Some members are calling for a 50% reduction, even though the city just cut 20%, nearly $70 million, from the department.
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.