Rape in Seattle: just another defund-the-police consequence

Some of the steam has escaped from the “defund the police” movement. Those continuing to push it tend to be a bit less strident, but no less irrational. Many Democrats/socialists/communists (D/s/cs) are content to harass and prosecute the few remaining police in their utopian blue cities, and the consequences of that idiocy are coming due:

Seattle police’s sexual assault and child abuse unit staff has been so depleted that it stopped assigning to detectives this year new cases with adult victims, according to an internal memo sent to interim police Chief Adrian Diaz in April.

The unit’s sergeant put her staffing crisis in stark terms. 

“The community expects our agency to respond to reports of sexual violence,” Sgt. Pamela St. John wrote, “and at current staffing levels that objective is unattainable.”

Law enforcement agencies here and across the country have grappled with labor shortages during the pandemic and since the 2020 protests following the murder of George Floyd. But Seattle’s failure to staff its sexual assault unit stands out from other local police departments and raises questions about the Seattle Police Department’s priorities, advocates say.

The memo, sent April 11, emerged amid a wave of new political promises for policing in Seattle. Last fall, Seattle voters elected a new mayor who rejected calls to defund the police and campaigned on a platform to clear public spaces of homeless encampments and strengthen public safety. 

Graphic: Rape Of The Sabine Women (Cortana). Wikimedia Commons.org. Public Domain

Even if the new mayor is completely sincere, Seattle, and similarly D/s/c cities, can’t find new recruits and their few remaining officers are gun shy. They do as little as possible, and absolutely avoid enforcing the law against black criminals and members of other favored victim groups.

In the memo, St. John went on to say that she was not “able to assign adult sexual assault cases” that came into her unit. Cases involving children and adult cases that had a suspect in custody — a fraction of adult sexual assaults reported to police — were being prioritized. The unit just had too few detectives.

Those concerns bear out in fewer referrals from the sexual assault unit to prosecutors. King County prosecutors say they’ve communicated with the sexual assault unit about understaffing concerns, but little has changed.

Are those prosecutors willing to prosecute felonies, or are they merely saying so for political cover? After all, it’s hard to keep talking about the Republican “war on women” if the police can’t investigate, and prosecutors won’t prosecute, rape.

Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette in an interview with The Seattle Times and KUOW this week dismissed St. John’s portrayal of what was happening in her unit as “not accurate” and a “gross oversimplification.”

“Sexual assault cases are still being assigned, but the workload is being triaged based on a number of factors that we would traditionally use to triage those cases,” Nollette said.

Nollette emphasized that staffing shortages were being felt across the department. She did not provide an up-to-date count of how many adult sexual assault cases were on hold, although detectives in the unit are keeping a list with dozens of cases.

Of course she didn’t. Keep in mind police chiefs in blue cities and states only get their jobs if they’re willing to absolutely support every D/s/c narrative. Ability and experience are decidedly secondary.

The staffing crisis at the Seattle Police Department is not new.

The department has been losing officers since the beginning of 2020, and staff levels plummeted to a new low at the end of 2021. Whereas 2020 began with 1,290 officers in service, by March 2022 those numbers dropped to 968 — well below the department’s own projections and what the city expected to spend on salaries.

“If we don’t have an officer to respond to sexual assault, we’re never going to have the followup to be able to investigate it,” Diaz told the council. “So I’ve tried to make sure we’ve maintained our patrol staffing levels.”

To put one officer on the street, 24/7/365, at least 4.5 must be hired. That’s one for every 8-hour shift, and 1.5 to cover for vacations, sickness, court, training and a variety of other necessary absences. When officers retire, the most experienced leave. Rape cases are notoriously hard to investigate and prosecute, requiring the best and most experienced detectives, but when a city has made the decision to defund its police force, among the consequences are officers with far less experience and ability to fill detective ranks.

Perhaps, if they’re not already, Seattle should focus on DEI hiring, which everyone knows makes everything better. Sadly, it doesn’t fill police ranks with intelligent, capable and dedicated police officers, and rape goes uninvestigated and unprosecuted. Seattle’s priorities have proven to be disastrous, but D/s/cs still want to impose them on the rest of the country. Perhaps women might want to be aware of that when voting this year?

Mike McDaniel is a USAF veteran, classically trained musician, Japanese and European fencer, life-long athlete, firearm instructor, retired police officer and high school and college English teacher. His home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.  

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