Seattle City Council Votes Against "Tough Compromise" Bill to Trim SPD Budget



A premature bill is usually a bad bill. They voted wisely.


What a shock. Making legislative promises based on activist demands and knee jerk reactions is not good governance. If we had any semblance of actual legislatures instead of populist talking heads it would have never come to this. Don't worry those of you in the activist camps. The acrimony, bad faith and idealogical bigotry directed at the SPD over the last year by the SCC has already led to about 20% of the force leaving in the last year with more to follow so we are well on our way to a de facto 50% defunding despite the incompetence of the council.


@duecey --- were they only the Bad Apples we'd be 20% Finished
already! keep digging, we'll get there.


or maybe 50%?
who knows bad
Apples gotta GO.

they Cost WAY
too much.* Let's

Attorney Fees
LOST TIME that's
ever coming Back.




@3 I'd guess it's the good apples who are leaving though. They have options. Whenever an org goes sour usually the top performers leave first. If that holds true its yet another indictment of the amateur hour managing of police reform by the SCC.


@6 You've guessed that before, and you've been shown plenty of reasons that guess might be wrong, and you've never even tried to back your guess up with evidence.

But yeah OK let's not do any policy based on politically motivated speculation, sure.


Don't you guys get it? The election is over. They don't have to pretend you're going to get the policies you want for your vote anymore. Didn't the Democrats just pass a $2 billion bill for more police for themselves at the Capitol? You were never going to get "defund the police". Valuable lesson in falling for slogans, though.


nekrsove dear, why would we want to beef up security at the nation's capitol? Other than the threat of a repeat of January 6th, when a mob of angry Republicans halfwits decided to throw a tantrum at the capitol because their conman messiah lost (for the second time)

Republicans are horrible people.


@7 You're right I don't have any data. No one does, except SPD and they aren't sharing, so your claim that there has been plenty of reasons to show that good cops aren't leaving and sticking around is pure speculation as well. I'd love to hear your theory of who is leaving though if you'd care to share.


I support SPD removing all resources from within a 10-block radius of the Stranger offices and reassigning them all to Rainier Beach.
Getting pretty sick of having the Sheriff copter buzzing my neighborhood everyday, then having to watch the news the next day to find out what asshole shot who or who decided to play IRL GTA and carjack somebody and lead the cops on a chase; you know, the real-life shit going down in neighborhoods like mine that the Stranger would rather not acknowledge exists.



You DO realize The Stranger moved their offices to the ID nearly a year ago, yes? And to my knowledge SPD doesn't have any facilities anywhere near their new location. So, unless you live south of Dearborn whatever is happening in your 'hood has nothing to do with them - assuming you actually live anywhere near Capitol Hill that is.


@10 Search your own damned comment history, I've gone over this with you in depth before. To rehash briefly:

  • Policing isn't a private business. It's a public service.
  • There are no headhunters out there poaching top police officers with 50% salary increases and stock options and signing bonuses. Cop salaries are on strict union scales.
  • Even if this competitive market in police labor you've imagined actually existed, the cops most motivated by money and least motivated by serving their community would not be the ones we'd be most interested in retaining.
  • Cops who don't give a shit which city they work in are not the cops we want working in our city. Cops with a mercenary attitude like that might make decent freelance soldiers, but they're not going to be good at civilian policing. We're better off if they leave.
  • Cops who have a lot of unexamined biases are more likely to feel persecuted and quit when faced with new regulations designed to check bias. Again, these are officers we're better off without.
  • Every job sector, public or private, has turnover, so saying some percentage of workers have left in a given period is meaningless absent the baseline turnover rate to compare it to.
  • In any stressful job there's going to be some weeding out-- new hires who find the work isn't what they expected, or workers who burn out after a while. These people often go off to do something else entirely, nobody's losing them to other employers in the sector. We don't want police officers who don't want to be police officers anymore.

If you want to moan about any of this please do me the courtesy of reading the debate we've already had before you start in on it again. All you asked for was some alternative to your facile "best cops go bye-bye for market economy" argument, and there's been more than enough provided I think.


@12 No. He doesn’t. He’s too high.

He also apparently believes that if The Stranger was nothing but a 24/7 hysterical crime blotter that would magically make crime not happen.


@13 - My god, going through comment history. Who has the time? Oh yeah - you of course.


@15 Unlike some other people, raindrop, I tend to be able to recall at least the gist of a substantive debate without going back and reading my own comment history.

Now, if someone was arguing in bad faith and never regarded a particular conversation as substantive debate to begin with, well, that might explain some forgetfulness on their part, you know?


@16: If you think such granularity is that important. To me Slog comments are stream-of-conciousness babble (mine included) not worthy of data mining to make a point. Besides, how they feel about an issue now is more interesting than what they said in the past. If they're arguing "in bad faith" it doesn't matter in the long run. Just my .02.


@17 Well, it hardly surprises me that you see SLOG comments that way, raindrop.

And you do post like 3x as much as I do, so maybe recalling the outline of an interesting thread from a few months ago without "data mining" your own comment history really is completely inconceivable to you.


@13 Don't get all huffy. I have never stated that the reason for the massive departures from the SPD are driven by pay. That is an idiotic statement and there is zero evidence to support that claim. Seattle is one of the better paying departments in the state and the region due to opportunities for overtime and the difficultly in attracting recruits. So go through my comment history all you want and you won't find that statement. In fact, officers that are leaving for jurisdictions like Spokane, Everett or Idaho are taking less money.

The reason officers are leaving the SPD is the toxic and hostile work environment created by the SCC and the mindless bigotry being directed towards them and their families by the activist community. I even said as much in my initial post on this thread. It doesn't matter if its Amazon or public service. If you work in a toxic environment there comes a point where no amount of money is worth the anxiety and toll it takes on your mentally and physically. Policing is already a high stress occupation and when you add the current atmosphere on top there are a whole bunch of people who have options and are pursuing them.

Neither of us has data to know for sure so only time will tell who's right but I've worked in some toxic environments before and based on my experience I feel confident that more of the good cops are leaving than the bad ones. Regardless, the one thing that continues to be true is staffing at the SPD is trending to be at an all time low with nary a word about any of the community programs to replace them. Even if the council reversed course right now it will take years to rehire those officers and bring staffing level up. In the meantime we continue to be inundated with daily stories of shit being throw off I-5, people being shot and now you can't even walk your dog without worrying some asshole is going to beat it to death and walk out of jail not less than 24 hours later. FFS


@20 Oh, but there is data. And it's not even particularly hard to find, either.

According to a report by the IACP (not, um, the most unbiased source, but whatever) normal turnover in metro police departments ranges from ~12% to 25%. Seattle's maybe a little above average, but it's well within the normal range.

So you don't need to look for anything special going on. SPD has 20% turnover basically because it's a typical urban police department. End of story.

I've got a nickle each on like half a dozen sentences in that report I'm betting you'll quote out of context, let's see how I do?


@19: To each their own.


@21 ah I got it. So it's all good and the myriad of news stories about the high attrition and record number of officer departures is just click bait designed to get people riled up. Wow.
There is nothing normal about what is happening right now unless you have taken to heart Rich's article about decriminalizing psychedelics. You do you though.


"Sawant rebuked her colleagues for wavering on defunding the police, reminding them of nearly a year ago, when seven of the nine council members signaled they'd defund SPD by 50%."

Yes, we all recall when the Defunderpants Gnomes took over our Council, led by CM Herbold, who was fresh from winning re-election on a promise of "properly funding" the SPD. Little did we her constituents know that this was her peculiar way of saying a 50% cut, no questions asked.

Per Defunderpants Gnome logic:

Cut SPD budget by 50%

Sadly, CM Herbold et. al. fumbled 1. badly enough so that Chief Best quit, but nothing else changed. So now we'll never know if prof-- er, paradise could have been achieved.


"Council President Lorena Gonzalez straddled the two positions."

Of course. Running for mayor on the Egocentric Ambition Ticket.


That pic of nose ring granny is cringy. I kind of feel that’s how all of the council geniuses look, down their noses, patiently waiting for us to absorb the next round of dumb ideas they discharge.


@23 I'm afraid Insults aren't data, my friend. The numbers say SPD's turnover rate is entirely unremarkable for a metro police department. Try all you like, you're not going to be able to squeeze statistical significance out of SPD PR department spin.


Why can't they just make it easier to suspend, fire, send cops to prison when they commit a crime? They shouldn't still be paid when they are on suspension.


@27 is the SPD understaffed right now or not? You keep avoiding that question but the fact is the amount of patrol officers is shrinking because they don't have new officers lined up to replace those leaving the agency. If you are correct and this is entirely normal than the SPD has done a very very poor job of recruiting as this level of attrition should have easily been forecasted OR there has been a spike in attrition that they did not see coming and now they are going to be short staffed for some time until they can hire to fill the gap (assuming the council allows that). In either case they have a hiring problem (either they can't hire new officers fast enough or something is chasing away current employees faster than normal) and my caveat still holds that its the toxic work environment created by the SCC and mindless bigotry of activists that is the issue.


20 you admit that no one has any data but you are certain cops are being driven out by a toxic work environment and only the good ones are leaving and this is driving staffing to an all time low?


@30 What a surprise. When that "data" that nobody had turns up, you're scrambling around trying to salvage your politically motivated narrative instead of listening to the pretty simple truth that data is telling us.

As far as staffing levels go, Seattle, again, is no outlier. Police ranks have been declining across the US for the past 8 years (well before Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, mind you).

And the decline can be explained by dull, boring demographics: boomers are aging out. Younger generations just don't have the numbers to replace them-- not only in policing, but in health care, teaching, you name it.

Your paranoid "the wokes are taking away my polices" story is kaput, D, killed off by boring old statistics. Time to move on.


28, cops sure aren't following the ones they don't like.


@31 Logically I think that is a sound assumption based on my own personal experience. What is undisputed is that officers are leaving SPD at a higher rate than anticipated. Even if you believe robotslave that this is normal attrition for an agency the fact remains SPD did not plan on those departures as evidenced by their lack of candidates in training.

So the question then is who is leaving and why? Most are not leaving for money as SPD is one of the better paying agencies in the region. If you look at their own exit interviews they say they are leaving due to the toxic work environment so you can believe their own words or you can make own assumptions. If you believe the environment is toxic as I and many other people in this city do than it absolutely makes sense the better performing officers are leaving in higher numbers. They have options and actually care about the work they do. They joined the force to help people and be a positive force in the community. Why would they stay and having water bottles chucked at their head, be called bastards, racists and murderers, have their friends and families threatened?

Only the officers themselves know the reason behind their departure so feel free to think what you want but don't gaslight the rest of us like robotslave and Lisa Herbold and say what is happening right now is completely normal or the council had nothing to do with the current state of the dept since they have not actually let go any officers directly.


Right, so citing studies and data to show a rate or quantity is well within its expected range, and thus needs no additional causal explanation... why, that's gaslighting.

What a horrible horrible gaslighter I am, gosh darn.


I just think it's a bad idea to get out ahead of your skis here since you have no idea whether this rate of attrition is unusual, let alone which cops are leaving and why. I don't think the police are even willing to admit that cops can be categorized as "good" or "bad", let alone tell you which ones you're losing.

But since we're just wildly speculating I would assume the kinds of cops who bail when the heat turns up are not the ones you want patrolling what is apparently a crime-infested hellscape where dogs are murdered in front of their owners on a casual evening walk. Doesn't sound like they're up for the task.


@35 you are literally the only one who has stated the current attrition rate is completely normal and is business as usual. And you cited one study. You should probably share your study with the rest of the media, the mayor, the downtown business association and even a few members of the SCC who seem to think there is a problem so they can calm down.

36 that's fair a point and maybe you're right that bad cops are the ones leaving. This is a discussion forum after all so I'm just stating my opinion not writing a doctoral thesis that needs defending. Time will tell


@37 Still no data to back up that narrative that just "feels right" to you, eh? But there is data that suggests you're just plain wrong. Data that you thought would be great to have when you assume it didn't exist, but now that it turns out to exist after all you have no use for it. You have your story and your story feels right in your gut and no data can ever change it, can it?


@38 you seem really upset about this. I acknowledge your ONE data point and if that is all you need to feel smugly self satisfied than good for you. I also take into account the numerous articles I have read in other news sources, the many reports by the news, the public statements by the mayor, her staff, the police chief, the downtown business association and councilmembers Juarez and Peterson when they seem to think there is some sort of staffing crisis going on with the SPD that was not "part of the plan" or normal attrition. Here are a couple examples for you

I'm sure your one report overrides all of these other reports though.


Here's another report by city of Seattle discussing how they were not meeting their own hiring targets for SPD and this was before the vitriol ramped up last year. I'm guessing your report from Georgia overrides this as well and they are just making stuff up


@39 The IACP report, as you well know, is not "one data point," it is a summary of a lot of data from a lot of different sources, coupled with some recommendations. Contrast this with your newspaper clippings of mildly massaged SPD media department press releases, which, for purposes of manufacturing a crisis to maintain or increase funding, omit normal, expected turnover rates and comparisons to other cities.

@40 Again, the SPD's staff attrition is not anomalous, and needs no additional causal explanation. As seen in this US DoJ report, police departments across the US are losing officers. This nationwide attrition began long before Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd.

You've got no data whatsoever to back your story, you're running entirely on emotion and political preference here.

Me, I've got data, and I guess that makes me seem really upset to you? Apologies for that, I didn't mean to scare you with my wild-eyed outburst of googling meaningful statistics and studies and stuff.


@41 I'm not upset at all. As I said this is a discussion forum and the reason I'm here is for different viewpoints so I appreciate the engagement and your point of view. I'm not sure what political preference has to do with any part of this but you are right about emotion. I look around and I'm upset about what I see and what I read in the news. I don't how you can't be if you don't cherish this place we call home. I don't dispute your reports that police staffing has been declining over the last few years. The SPD report says as much itself. I think you're being naive if you believe nothing has changed since last summer though.


The only people who believe the city council is going to be able to "redefine" policing in Seattle are old hippies who's brains are fried by acid and dumbshits who haven't figured out how the world actually works. We can't even install public sinks for christ sake!!! Morons


@42 I've got a bit of a reflexive copy-editing tic, and I apologize in advance for that but:

If you're going to put "I'm upset about..." in your paragraph, maybe strike the "I'm not upset at all" opening sentence; it's not adding anything, and risks giving the reader the impression that you're confused or self-contradictory if they don't pick up the context switch as you move into your theme.


@43 fair enough. Let me clarify. I'm not upset by your responses to my posts or the discussion we are having. I am upset by the state of our city and the actions of the council who only seem to make things worse.


Sorry, last comment was for @44


The mythical SPD staffing apocalypse has been debunked so many times now it's not even worth discussing anymore since it's become a religious belief at this point. The Moral Panic Religion of the Authoritarian.


You have a group of primarily high school graduates making far more than they could ever make in any other line of work based on their limited skill set.

To convince me the police "are leaving in droves" you would need to show me they actually have a better option in the work place, which they don't. You could cut their pay in half and they would still be making more than their skill level justifies in any other line of work.


45, then move the fuck out, right wing scumbag. This city will never become magatville.


No matter what staffing levels are at SPD, our Council has completely failed in their legislative duties for oversight. They can't even do it with actual adults looking over their shoulders:

'However, the council whittled down that $5.4 million number and earmarked more spending for SPD in areas such as technology, evidence storage, and public records after a federal judge and a federal court monitor said cutting SPD's budget would make it harder for the department to comply with the federal consent decree.

'Herbold's final iteration of this bill—what she called a "tough compromise"—trimmed the amount the council would cut from SPD from $5.4 million to $3 million and allow SPD to use $7.5 million in funds that the council had previously restricted via proviso to fund other programs, trainings, and patrols.'

In other words, funds for areas which actually help SPD in solving crimes, and help citizens who are victims of SPD malfeasance get justice, got re-routed into more money for SPD officers -- all because our Council Members had unwisely jumped on the Defunderpants Gnomes' bandwagon last year, promising not to increase SPD funding, completely without regard to exactly what the money would buy.


It's hard to know what to say about these police funding issues without more specifics. I'd definitely defund policing protesters and defund these militarized police responses to people exercising their first amendment rights.

I'd also defund police sweeps of homeless encampments -- and without knowing the details -- I think it's an excellent idea to put that money, instead, into hotel rooms and apartments for the homeless.

OTOH, I think there should more police funding for actually solving or investigating violent crimes like murder or rape. Take, for example, the case of this young woman who was horribly murdered in Green Lake. There's been virtually no investigation. That is what police funding should go towards.

I also think there should be more police funding for animal control to ensure that people keep dogs on leashes in our public parks, particularly in the early morning or odd hours when you've got "owners" sneaking in to let some rather dangerous breeds run free thereby spoiling other people's quiet morning bird watching or just quiet strolls. I also think, ITO animal control, there should be more funding for county-wide coordination, and between animal control units in various PDs, i.e. to share reports/complaints and share information IOT find these individuals with these breeds who are rotating around in the park system to avoid law enforcement or to avoid people just getting to know and recognize who they and their animals are.

On the 911 system ... to me, it seems like the problem in Seattle is that 911 is overused. People call 911 for everything because they can't otherwise get a police response. And then, when you have a real emergency or possible emergency, you may be waiting for hours. In other areas I've lived in, it's literally considered a criminal offense to call 911 for some of the things people call 911 for, here, and because it's considered overburdening the system in case of real emergencies. Yet, in Seattle, it's been bewildering to me how it's even expected and even police tell you to call 911 so that they can respond.

If I'm correct in identifying this as a major issue, that would mean you need to (not cut, but) reorganize the funding allocations within the department so that non-emergencies can be dealt with apart from the 911 system.

Also, some people want an emergency response for, say, mental health -- and they don't want police, but social workers. I think that should rote through a different number altogether if they don't want the police, as I don't think it's the right of the city to take away people's right to have a police response even if it's a mental health issue -- or to enforce mental health on people. That, to me, is a violation of people's rights, as well. An option is one thing - but to make people receive social workers instead of police - and over issues in which they have a right to police - is a whole other ball game.


@51 BTW .. did people notice the difference in the police response to the Alki Beach riot and a downtown protest march that happened about the same time? I didn't see photos of the protesters, but it sounded like it was non-violent. However, there were photos of this heavily militarized police presence. And for what?

Meanwhile there were photos of all these people going crazy at Alki Beach, fights, dancing on other people's vehicles (which is vandalizing property), so on .. not to mention that we are not "out of the woods" yet on the pandemic -- and all these people didn't have masks and weren't distancing, etc. The photos of the police, however, showed them in ordinary uniforms -- and there only seemed to be a few around. One cop even broke his thumb trying to break up a fight.

I think there's a big message in there about our society and its values. Why is there a veritable fascist army confronting people having a simple non-violent protest march -- and a more normal looking casual police presence at a veritable riot by people having no other purpose than being jerks about the pandemic.

Think about it. And the funding.


Several states require police to have college degrees including California (AB89 passed in 2020), Nevada, North Dakota, Illinois and New Jersey. Frankly, I'm stunned a bit that this isn't the case already in more liberal blue areas. Studies show that cops with college degrees are less prone to use force and have less complaints against them. Age matters too -- if the cop is older.

We no longer live in Mayberry, folks. The world is an increasingly complex place - and for police, too. They need to develop critical thinking skills through liberal arts education and other subjects. These skills are very applicable in the complex situations they go into on a daily basis.

I think the powers-that-be, in every occupation, would like to reduce as many jobs as possible to a series of robotic functions - including police. But this is just not the way we need to go. We need independent thinking people who can solve problems and respond to a variety of situations with discernment and intelligence.

The City Council should require that younger and incoming Seattle police have college degrees. Washington State should, too.


@53 I mean 4 year college degrees, too. No ifs, ands or buts. This is generally how you develop higher thinking skills to meet the demands of these various situations police would be dealing with. You can certainly get it other ways, and through life experience too, but overall, you need (not two, but) 4 years of college.


Last but not least ... I think the City Council should require the SPD to implement psychological testing for psychopathy and related pathologies (sociopathy, for example). I think cops like Chauvin, for example, may be psychopaths and serial killers -- who find an outlet for a perverse need to kill behind a badge of authority. I think they should be testing for anyone interested in becoming a cop, but I don't think the City Council has that kind of authority. But they could, at least, mandate testing of all cops in the department now, and any applicants they're seriously considering.

Let me explain something to anyone reading about psychopaths. They are far more common in our society than people may imagine. They exist, on average, about 1 out of every 200 people. So if you're in a full movie theater, for example, there's a probably a psychopath watching the movie, too.

They have done studies showing that they exist in higher percentages in certain occupations. So while they exist in a random population sample 1 out of 200, if you go to into a high level CEO meeting -- they exist in a much higher ratio (e.g. these are the kind of people who crashed the economy.)

So it stands to reason that, at a time in which we are seeing such a high level of police violence across the country - that it may be due, in part, to a certain number of psychopaths gravitating to the profession because it provides a guise of legitimacy for their "needs."

And psychopaths can be deceptively "normal" seeming; they can be charming and likeable and hard to spot, even for psychologists who specialize in the subject. But they can be tested for their condition, and IMO, they should definitely be kept out of police work. They lack empathy, they get a charge out of high risk and even criminal behavior, and they have no remorse or guilt for what they do to others, while seeking victims.

ITO the serial killer variety -- I think people should be aware that it's not usually like the movies where you see a serial killer murder 15 people in a short span of time. That would be a very unusual SK. A SK may typically kill 2-3 people altogether, with the different SKs varying ITO the length of time between these murders. Some going for years before they're "hit again" with this perverse need to kill.

So I'm not presenting some sensationalist theory. It makes a lot of sense in terms of what we know about these conditions, and, it dovetails with what activists have been pointing out ITO the statistics being higher for minorities being victimized by this kind of police violence; i.e. the police are killing whites, but statistically, it's higher for minorities. As far as psychopathy is concerned, it would "work" for a psychopath (or serial killer behind a badge) because it would be easier for them to "get away" with it. Though they would also do this to whites, depending on any number of other factors (take for example this white man who was recently hog-tied and choked to death in police custody while they further taunted him).


@51 We want the police to take people's guns if they abuse their use of guns. How about we do the same in urban areas like King County and Seattle with their dogs?

And dog owners, I love animals. I'm not worried about your cute Corgi or your golden retriever - I'm talking about these dobermans getting their "wild and free" runnning "dose" -- and getting visually fixated on an innocent pedestrian who has a right to feel safe walking through a park. "Oh he's so sweet" say these owners - famous last words before someone is bitten, attacked or even mauled, including children. And someone's swinging their gun in your face, saying, "Oh don't worry - I'm perfectly normal - here, let me fire a few shot at the sky - whatsa matter - I'm so sweet."

Now I think your corgi or golden retriever is a doll too - but - when you let them run loose, you give the owners of these other breeds a "ticket to ride," too. There they are, weeping, no less, "It's prejudice against doebermans, pitt bulls, great danes, labradors, german shephards." Sure. And like I said, famous last words -- while I, for one, don't want to be the next victim of these nuts. The owners of these breeds should be identified by the police and pursued -- and they should lose their right to have dogs just the way some gun owners should lose their right to own guns. These dogs are clearly trained attack dogs running loose - I can tell by how the owners are handling them and how the dogs are behaving when they see a pedestrian as a potential "intruder" on "their" turf -- which is what the owners are teaching them.

I want money allocated by the city for more animal control. I want that funded. Tell the City Council to do something that's relevant to my daily life, for a change. And have the police find these people and take away their right to have dogs.