SEATTLE - Officers are leaving the Seattle Police Department in record numbers, according to data released Friday by the city. Nearly 40 officers left in September alone.
The loss of officers in the month of September is double the number of losses of any month on record in the city.
City officials say this is leading to a public safety issue if you look at 911 emergency response times. You want the max response time to 911 calls to be 7 minutes, but in September in the North Precinct, that number went up to 9 minutes.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says if the staffing trend continues, it will take the city back to police staffing levels they were at decades ago. But since 1990, the population in Seattle has increased by 44 percent.
Typically, in the month of September, SPD loses 5-7 officers This last September of 2020, 39 officers left which is also double the next highest separation level on record.
That puts the number of current officers on the street at 1,203. Back in 1990, the city had 1,271 sworn officers in Seattle
"It is not a sustainable trend line," Durkan said. "If you look at that trendline we could be back to levels decades ago in a city that has grown so much and that leads not just to a lack of resources when people need them. It actually makes policing harder."
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Policing has been more challenging over the last several months as officers respond to protests and riots, along with calls to defund them from the city council.
And the mayor says one of the most alarming things is an unprecedented amount of new officers resigning - to go somewhere else to be a police officer.