“Defund the police! Defund the police!” Following the death of George Floyd in 2020, thousands took to the streets, demanding that police divisions lose their funding. And several politicians complied, with then-Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilwoman Kshama Sawant announcing the slashing of funds for the city’s police department.
But what sounded good to them on paper is coming back to bite them – and in the worst way they could possibly imagine.
A new report from Fox News indicates that Seattle is in a world of trouble when it comes to criminal activity. According to the report, the city is on track to set a 25-year record high in fatal shootings for the year, notching 11 homicides in August alone.
“This is one of our highest years, and we are on pace to exceed the last two years, and this has been a concerning trend,” Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz told King 5.
The 11 homicides are the highest recorded in a single month since 2008, beating out the nine homicides that had been recorded back in June 2021. On paper, that doesn’t look good – it equates to a 267% increase over a general 14-year average.
But criminal activity as a whole is also on the rise, and part of that is due to problems with police staffing. Since the defunding of the police at the hands of Durkan and Sawant, staffing has reduced tremendously, and several officers are reportedly set to leave.
It’s an alarming trend that can be seen in several other states. For instance, Philadelphia is already operating at 20% below its staffing level; and several officers are set to leave over the next couple of years. Pair that up with the 2,000 NYPD officers that left the line of duty early or the Chicago police being worn into the ground with longer shifts due to police officer suicides, and it’s a chilling, telling story.
During the Faith & Blue conference in Washington, D.C., last month, National Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes made a crystal clear point about what’s happening:
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a very difficult time in American history in the last two years. America’s law enforcement has been demonized by many. It has created a rift within this country and eroded the very trust of the institution and the profession of law enforcement. And we’re paying for it. We’re paying for it in our communities with higher crime. And we’re also paying for it in law enforcement officers.”
He’s exactly right. Now those people who called for defunding the police are starting to see the effects from it. Police officers are leaving their jobs in droves because of lack of faith in the very public they’re sworn to protect – not to mention the fact that their governments are leaving them high and dry and not giving them the support they need. And why is that? Because it fits their agenda when it comes to their voters. It just makes no sense at all.
Now we’re seeing the effects in yet another highly populated city, with the police offering very few answers in terms of what they can do about it. How can they when their mayor and certain other officials aren’t doing anything to help them?
That’s not to say they’re giving up the ghost. Diaz has sworn that the Seattle police officers still on duty will continue to do their job, and he encourages people to continue to call 911 in case of an emergency. So we still have those officers out there, ready to do their job and keep people protected.
But something must be done to protect the protectors. It can’t just be a one-way street where the police are criticized as they continue to put their lives on the line day in and day out. They deserve support. They deserve care. They deserve everything they can get to do their jobs. And that means funding the police.
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