Over 400 police officers in Seattle and Louisville quit over the past year due to anti-police rhetoric amid months of violent protests, the departments said.
According to Fox News, the Louisville, Ky. police department revealed it is in “dire straits” after around 200 of its law enforcement officers quit while Seattle continues to lose cops at a record pace.
In 2020, 188 police officers left the Louisville Metro Police Department, and another 43 have left so far in 2021. Its current staff of 1,069 is 255 short of the 1,324 officers the department is authorized to have.
After Seattle Police Department lost more than 180 police officers in 2020, last week Chief Adrian Diaz said the staffing crisis has continued in the city, and another 66 officers quit in 2021 so far.
“We are at record lows in the city right now. I have about 1,080 deployable officers. This is the lowest I’ve seen our department,” Diaz said according to The Associated Press, later adding, “I’m hoping that it starts to level off. I do see that this year we could have a significant amount of people leaving.”
Carmen Best, Seattle’s former police chief who resigned last summer blamed the Seattle City Council at the time for damaging the police department.
“I believe 100% that they were putting me in a position destined to fail. Cutting a police department that already had low staffing numbers, that was already struggling to keep up with the demand,” Best said after resigning. “How are we going to provide for adequate public safety in that environment?”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan also criticized the city council’s rhetoric, in her own statement regarding the exodus of law enforcement officers.
“Despite an increased focus on recruitment and retention, the Seattle Police Department continues to lose sworn officers at a record pace due to ongoing budget uncertainty,” Durkan’s office said in a statement. “Based on exit interviews, we know the Council’s threats of continued layoffs or cuts are having a direct impact on decisions to leave the department.”
But last year, Durkan supported an effort by the city council to cut the police department budget, saying she “[applauds] the City Council for taking a more deliberate and measured approach to the 2021 Seattle Police Department budget.”
“I believe we are laying the groundwork to make systemic and lasting changes to policing,” Durkan said in a statement. “We have rightly put forward a plan that seeks to ensure SPD has enough officers to meet 911 response and investigative needs throughout the city, while acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impacts policing has had on communities of color, particularly Black communities.”