"Mass Exodus": Seattle Cops Quitting In Droves Over City Politics

Seattle cops are leaving in droves because they're "fed up" with Seattle's policies, according to the Seattle Police Officer's Guild

In a Sunday appearance on Fox & Friends, Guild VP Rich O'Neill said that a "number of issues" are causing Seattle officers to pack up and leave town - opting for jobs elsewhere. At least 41 officers have left the Seattle PD this year. While retired, at least 20 officers left Seattle for other cities and county law enforcement agencies.

O'Neill told Q13 FOX that local officials "are allowing certain crimes to go on without accountability."

“Worker bees on the street, they don't feel appreciated. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” another source within the Seattle PD told Q13 Fox.

Also at issue is a lack of pay raises throughout the department in over four years - despite Seattle's economy "booming," while officers are complaining that more money is being invested in social programs. 

Officers complain they’ve been working without a contract for more than three years. The negotiations are ongoing with meetings taking place, but there’s still distance between what the city wants and what officers find acceptable. And due to the confidentiality of the process, the public doesn’t know how far apart the sides are. We do know one sticking point is pay and the process is complex and multifaceted.

Repeatedly, officers have complained to me about unsatisfactory pay, which they don’t believe has kept up with the cost of living. Indeed, some officers are leaving because they can’t afford to live in the very city they police. -Mynorthwest.com

"The number of officers on the street [is] pretty much the same as the 1970s, which is just alarming," said O'Neill. 

The city's liberal stance on the homeless population and drug use is another issue for Seattle cops.

[T]here are many homeless citizen "encampments" and tents and "open-air drug markets" on the streets.

"It's just like lawlessness," he said. "As our officers encounter them they don't want shelter, they don't want help."

"They want to live there where they can have their guns and their drugs and their needles and just not be bothered." -Fox

It also doesn't help that two city council members have been highly critical of law enforcement - with one calling two police officers murderers.

Officers are growing tired of the constant barrage of negativity from councilmembers like Kshama Sawant, Mike O’Brien, and Lorena Gonzalez. In exit interviews with the SPD, some officers noted Seattle politics played a role.

Sawant’s name came up in nearly every conversation I’ve had for this story — none of it positive. No stranger to controversy, Sawant is currently the subject of a defamation lawsuit after claiming two officers committed a “brutal murder” when they shot and killed convicted felon Che Taylor. Taylor was reaching for a gun when he was shot and the officers were cleared by an internal review board. -Mynorthwest.com

“[Officers] came to help people and we help people all the time, but we don’t talk about that,” argued Stuckey. “If you make a mistake, we’ll put your name in the paper, pull every mistake you ever made, and beat you down so you can’t work anywhere else, take away your livelihood, if we don’t like your mistake. Tell me another profession that treats people like that?”

“Not only do they not support the police, but they villainize us,” one officer explained to journalist Jason Rantz. “Sawant, in no way shape or form, should she make a comment on something she doesn’t understand.”

“I live here. This is where I call home,” said Officer's Guild president Kevin Stuckey. “I just recently visited some other cities; Minneapolis. Madison, WI. These are beautiful cities. Ours used to be beautiful, too. Seattle isn’t beautiful anymore and I see no one making it beautiful again. If I was ten to fifteen years younger, I’d look to move somewhere else, too, if I’m being honest. I hope that we’ll be able to fix this situation…