Seattle’s police department is preparing to fire up to 400 officers who have not yet had their Covid shot in line with the city’s strict vaccine mandate – despite already suffering staff shortages, rising crime rates and high 911 response times.
The Seattle Police Department has an October 18 deadline for all sworn personnel to turn in proof of COVID-19 vaccinations or risk losing their jobs.
As of Friday, 292 officers have yet to turn in proof of vaccination – or 27 percent of the department’s 1,080 deployable police officers.
Another 111 officers – ten percent of the deployable officers – are waiting on exemption requests to be approved.
If all 403 officers are let go on October 18, the police force will lose 37 per cent of its officers – a crippling blow for an already under-resourced department.
Police Chief Adrian Diaz has already warned officers to prepare for a ‘Stage 3 Mobilization’ from October 13 – an emergency plan which would put all remaining officers on standby to respond to 911 calls.
The Seattle Police Department looks over a population of more than 724,000 people.
Staffing at the department is already at lows not seen since the 1980s.
In July, it was revealed that the department had already lost at least 280 officers since the start of 2020 due to what they called an ‘anti-police climate’ in the city amid Black Lives Matter protests and calls to defund the police.
As of Friday, 292 officers have yet to turn in proof, and an additional 111 are waiting on exemption requests to be approved, totaling 403 unvaccinated officers
As for Friday, 292 officers had not yet submitted proof of vaccination, and an additional 111 officers were waiting for exemption approval
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told city staff in an email on Monday that she values ‘each of you, and do not want to lose you as employees.’
She enforced her mandate by writing: ‘The people that count of you the most are the ones that need you to get vaccinated.’
It is unclear if the mayor will actually fire unvaccinated personnel on October 18, as she is been evasive regarding the answer since announcing the mandate in August.
When asked in August if she would fire those employees, she responded to Fox 5 by saying: ‘I don’t believe I will be put in that position because I believe officers will get the vaccine.’
Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz has advised his department to prepare to transition to Stage 3 Mobilization, Fox13 reports.
The order puts all sworn officers including detectives and non-uniformed personnel on standby to respond to 911 calls. It is usually reserved for a crisis where cops cannot maintain public order. The order will go into effect on October 13.
There are only four tiers of emergency planning in Seattle – Stage 3 is the second highest, behind a full-blown State of Civil Emergency.
According to city guidelines: ‘While under the stage 3 mobilization, every sworn member of the department shall be in their class A/B uniform for the duration of their shift. Those members who are in non-patrol units shall be prepared to immediately report to one of the five precincts for 911 call response.’
In an internal memo, obtained by Fox 13, Chief Diaz wrote: ‘This Stage 3 mobilization is the result of the need to plan for all staffing contingencies, with an emphasis on ensuring safe staffing levels in patrol operations.’
The Seattle Police Department is already experiencing low staffing and long 911 response times after losing almost 300 officers since 2020
The department is still reeling from a 17 per cent budget cut following a push by leftist activists to defund the police last year – with more than 300 cops already quitting since the start of 2020.
Mayor Durkan addressed the crisis at a July 28 press conference, before the vaccine mandate was announced, saying: ‘As a city, we cannot continue on this current trajectory of losing police officers.
‘Over the past 17 months, the Seattle Police Department has lost 250 police officers which is the equivalent of over 300,000 service hours. We’re on path to losing 300 police officers.’
Durkan had said in July she plans to submit a new plan to hire more officers to restore its numbers.
‘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,’ Chief Diaz told KING-TV in April.
At times, there are only around 70 officers patrolling the city on a nightly basis, KKTH reported.
The number of officers to leave Seattle Police Department has been in free fall since last year, but the trend started in 2015
It comes despite violent crime in the city surging.
The city is on track to break last year’s homicide rate, which was also a new high for the fist time in 26 years. There were 30 murders recorded in the city in the year to August – compared to 52 in the whole of 2020.
Last year, departing officers have cited what they call an ‘anti-police climate’ in Seattle, city council policies and disagreements with police department leadership.
It’s Public Safety Committee considered a $5.4million cut to the Seattle Police Department’s 2021 budget in February to account for an equivalent amount of overspending by the department last year.
Whether the proposal went through remains unknown.
Crime has been rising in Seattle throughout 2021. Compared to the past few years, crime is up from 30,816 in 2020 and 31,265 in 2019 to 33,695 in 2021, compared to the same time as each year.
DailyMail.com attempted to contact Mayor Durkan’s office and the Seattle Police Department for comment but did not hear back.
Crime has been rising in Seattle this year with 33,695 crimes already occurred this year compared to only 30,816 crimes at the same time last year. Although 2019 had elevated crime rates, 2021 has surpassed it
Seattle’s homicide rate seems to be reaching the total of homicides in 2020, with four months left before the end of the year
Mayor Durkan (left) sent an email to employees telling them the government value[s] each of you and do not want to lose you as employees.’ In addition, the Governor Jay Inslee (right) imposed a mandate for teachers and staff of pubic and private schools and universities
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has also imposed a vaccine mandate all public, charter and private school teachers and staff, as well as those working at the state’s colleges and universities in August.
Despite the vaccine mandate for police officers, 80 per cent of Seattle citizens 12 and older have been vaccinated, which is leaving some officers wondering why they are being forced to receive a vaccine.
One officer, who remains anonymous and is awaiting a religious exemption, told Fox 5: ‘Losing even 50 to 75 officers in one day, the response times for the city will go up drastically.’
He also said he would ‘continue working until the day that they fire’ him.
Another officer, who also remained anonymous, said she would be leaving the Seattle force regardless of the mandate, citing the environment was ‘pretty toxic and negative.’
Over the years, positive perception of the Seattle Police Department has declined. In 2018, 60.6 per cent survey have a positive view of the force. In 2020, it dropped to 53.6 per cent. 2021 survey results are not available yet.
Over the years, positive perception of the Seattle Police Department has declined. In 2018, 60.6 per cent survey have a positive view of the force. In 2020, it dropped to 53.6 per cent. 2021 survey results are not available yet