Seattle's police challenges are harbingers for lawlessness that may take a generation to repair
While the ticking of the clock exposes problems for major U.S. cities, the calendar also remains far from friendly to the safety of their citizens and businesses. As unprecedented numbers of police officers opt to resign or retire — or even face termination — protesting working conditions and the vaccine mandate, many of America's cities race toward lawlessness.
A recent conversation with a retired Seattle police officer paints a grim picture. According to the nearly thirty-year law enforcement veteran, the mismanagement of Seattle's police force could take a generation to repair.
During his time, he approximated that 30–50 officers retired or resigned each year, and roughly the same number of new recruits replaced them. Yet the challenge of massive numbers leaving is compounded by the time to replace each sworn officer.
For example, the police department issues a notice about upcoming testing for the force — which takes several days (weeks) to accomplish. Once the initial testing is complete, the police department has a pool of candidates to take to the next level.
"When I tested in 1992, I was one of 4,700 that showed up. The department had a large population to cull and select candidates." He added, cynically, "I can't imagine 4,700 people wanting to show up and test to be a Seattle Police officer in this political climate."
Based upon the initial testing, candidates then face physical and psychological screening along with background checks. This process can take several months for each candidate before acceptance into the academy.
The Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) itself is a 720 academy-hour program that takes approximately 4.5 months. All of these timeframes are contingent upon the candidate scoring well with no mishaps, washouts, etc.
After graduating from the academy, officers reporting to the various departments will undergo additional training unique to that municipality — to learn the ropes. Seattle officers, for example, will go through the Seattle Municipal Code and other training special to the city for 4–5 weeks. Then the officer participates in a Field Training Officer (FTO) program for approximately three and a half months (riding along with a senior officer) while remaining subject to firing or washing out.
Upon completion of all that, the officer is "still green." In law enforcement, three to five years of experience is critical to grasp and be competent in all situations.
In 2019, approximately 1,400+ sworn officers served the city of Seattle. During periods of less political turmoil, 30–50 sworn officers put in their papers for resignation or retirement annually — with an expectation of approximately 30–50 hires to compensate.
According to news reports, in April 2021, 180 Seattle police officers quit in 2020, and an additional 66 officers left by spring of 2021. Many predict that more than 200 other Seattle cops will go due to concerns over the mandatory vaccine policies.
Replacing 30–50 cops per year requires a significant investment of time and money. Replacing 400+ seems a herculean effort for a well managed and united city — and nearly impossible in the chaos created by the Seattle and Washington political establishment.
The people and businesses of Seattle can only expect harsher times. Even if Seattle started the process of mass hiring this very day, the words of the retired police officer ring hauntingly true: it will take a generation.
Other cities managed by woke elitists can expect the same as Seattle — and some even worse. The good news for law enforcement officers is that they are wanted and appreciated by other states and better run cities. Governor Ron DeSantis put out the welcome mat for police officers weary of political turmoil. With a $5,000 incentive from Florida, law enforcement around the country heard the call, where they resume work as valued members of society.
While a path exists for law enforcement to seek a better life outside toxic political cities, the only course for residents of places Seattle looks bleak — and lawless.
Michael A Letts is the CEO and Founder of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization that is helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs.
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