San Francisco Police sees record numbers of officers resigning or retiring. This is just the beginning.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA –  As protests continue from coast to coast and more towns are cutting millions from law enforcement budgets, departments like the San Francisco Police Department are seeing veteran officers leaving in record numbers.

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According to reports, 23 officers left the department during the first six months of 2020 and another 31 officers have retired. In comparison, in all of 2019, only 26 officers resigned, and back in 2018, only 12 officers left the department. 

Many of the SFPD officers that have left are opting to take jobs in other areas and are actively going through the hiring process. Tony Montoya, the president of the Police Officers Association, said in a statement:

“This is just the beginning. Dozens are actively in the hiring process with other agencies.”

He added:

“The members are upset that the social experiment being conducted in San Francisco is failing and they would rather work someplace that values them.”

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Like many other cities across the country, in July San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a $120 million reduction in police funding. Breed said that those funds are going to be redirected to initiatives to address issues that face the black community.

Montoya said:

“Members have gone to places like the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Pleasant Hill, Beverly Hills, Petaluma, Palm Springs, Placerville, Long Beach, Idaho, Texas, and Arizona.”

During exit interviews, officers have stated various reasons for leaving SFPD, including, but not limited to, high California taxes and the criminal justice reform measures that have recently taken place.

Not to mention that many were frustrated with the general lack of support from the community and government leaders. An officer who left San Francisco for a Texas department and wished to remain anonymous said:

“I was getting a great paycheck, but 20% went to taxes. Here, I got a bigger house, a more affordable lifestyle, and a commute that went from two hours each way to 15 minutes.

“It’s also nice working at a place where everyone isn’t mad at you. In San Francisco, everyone was mad. The homeowners would get mad because you didn’t move the homeless who were sleeping in front of their house. Then, when you tried to help the homeless, someone would start telling about police brutality.”

SFPD Police Chief Bill Scott said that he believes the recent spike in resignation is mostly due to long commutes. He said in a statement:

“It’s a tough job and for many officers it’s also a long commute to and from work. If there are opportunities closer to home, people are going to take them.”

Scott claims that his department will not be hindered by the huge $120 million budget cut. During a press conference at the end of July, Scott said this in response to Breed revealing the upcoming budget:

“While the cuts are significant, they are cuts we can absorb and that will not diminish our ability to provide essential services.”

Montoya disagrees and said that response times could suffer if the department can’t hire new officers. He said:

“It could impact our ability to respond to emergencies if we don’t have the necessary staffing.”

To help save money and close the budget shortfall gap, the city is also asking police and firefighter unions to delay raises for two years. Breed claims that delaying raises will help the city avoid cutting services and laying off employees. 

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Here is another article from Law Enforcement Today about recent budget cuts to police departments, here, to the Austin Police Department:

Austin, TX – The city of Austin managed to “defund” the police, thanks to the Austin City Council. That cut in police funding is said to be one-third of the overall police budget for the city.

On August 13, a unanimous vote by the City Council cut police funding by $150 million for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. This effort not only cuts funding overall, but certain divisions like Internal Affairs and the Forensics lab are going to become separate entities instead of falling under the Austin Police Department.

Some of the other funds removed from APD are alleged to be heading toward things like social services and “alternative” public safety initiatives. Councilmember Greg Casar, who was instrumental in this effort coming to fruition, stated the following as the impetus for the action:

“This moment has been born out of a lot of hurt in the community. We know we have a long way to go.”

After digging into the $434 million budget from the APD by one-third, the department’s budget is getting an immediate slashing of $21 million approximately.

That cutting of the immediate funds will eliminate three police cadet classes that were planned this year.

Those funds that were immediately cut are going to go towards violence prevention programs, “food access” and abortions. Well, technically it’s coined as “abortion access,” but that literally means funding more abortions.

Senator Dawn Buckingham commented on the funding of abortions by way of slashed funding of the APD. Buckingham  explained that there’s no rational connection between abortions and Austin becoming “safer” to live in: 

“In what world would increasing access to killing unborn children make Austin a safer place to call home? Increasing access to abortion services will not help fix the fact that Austin had the largest increase of homicides of any large city in [the] nation.”

The City Council is also implying that there may not even be cadet classes for the police academy for the first quarter of 2021. If the cadet curriculum isn’t revised and a “more appropriate recruitment program” isn’t crafted, then APD can likely forget about hiring new officers at the onset of next year.

Andy Tate, a city spokesperson, stated the following about the likelihood of cadet classes resuming in 2021:

“The possibility of holding a cadet class in FY21 is dependent on numerous factors and will be reassessed throughout the year.”

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LET Unity

Many people are not a fan of the move in Austin, including Texas Governor Greg Abbot. He stated on August 13 that this passing by the City Council showcases how political agendas are usurping overall public safety:

“Austin’s decision puts the brave men and women of the Austin Police Department and their families at greater risk and paves the way for lawlessness. Public safety is job one, and Austin has abandoned that duty.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also commented on the enormous cut to the APD budget, saying the following:

“Unfortunately, the targets of this ‘canceling’ are the brave men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line to keep our families safe. The city council’s action to slash funding disregards the safety of our capital city, its citizens, and the many guests who frequent it.”

The Austin Police Association also chimed in on the defunding nonsense on Twitter, posting the following:

“The council’s budget proposals continue to become more ridiculous and unsafe for Austinites. They are going to ignore the majority who do not want the police defunded. The community will need help @ the Capitol.”

Of all the places to have such a cut, which appears to be the largest cut proportionally within the nation, the last place anyone would expect that would be in Texas.

As the morale plummets in Seattle, the city should be prepared for a mass exodus of officers (op-ed)

SEATTLE, WA – Sources tell Law Enforcement Today that Seattle is gearing up for a mass exodus of police officers.

Carmen Best was the first black woman to lead the Seattle Police Department and was appointed as the city’s police chief back in July 2018. On Tuesday morning, August 11, Chief Best announced her retirement.

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At the time of her announcement, Best had served 28 years with the Seattle Police Department, rising through the ranks. Her retirement comes the day after the Seattle City Council approved slashing $3 million from the SPD, which includes a loss of 100 officers through a combination of layoffs and attrition. 

During her press conference, she was very candid as she explained that she could not bring herself to carry out the layoffs. At the conference, she read a letter written to her from a new black officer.

Best said:

“He is one of the people that will probably not keep a job here and that for me … I’m done. Can’t do it.”

Best added:

“This is not about the money. And it’s not about the demonstrators. Be real. I have a lot thicker skin than that. It really is about the overarching lack of respect for the officers, the men and women who work so hard day in and day out.”

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Best’s shocking retirement adds an additional layer of stress to officers that have already been struggling with low morale over the last few months.

According to Mike Solan, the head of the Seattle Police Union, he is already hearing concerns from many of the 1,300 officers the Seattle Police Officers Guild represents.

He said many officers are struggling with morale and now losing their chief.

He said in a statement:

“It’s going to be really difficult to even get police officers to come here in the future because public safety is at risk. “

At the news of Best’s retirement, Solan flat-out asked who would want to be Seattle’s police chief.

He said:

“It’s very frustrating where we are right now.”

He added:

“This is even bigger than Chief Best.”

The recent approval of the City Council’s budget cuts means that the department will have to protect and serve with 100 fewer officers. Solan insists that fewer cops equal more crime and that, in and of itself, will keep people from wanting to be a Seattle police officer. 

Jim Pugel, who spent a total of 36 years in law enforcement, 32 of them with Seattle Police, said:

“Carmen was one of the best. Good police chiefs do not grow on trees, they are nurtured over years and they take time to develop. She was literally one of the best.”

Pugel also served as Seattle’s interim police chief for a year back in 2013.

He said:

“There are always some people that want to be chief or sheriff regardless of politics.”

Pugel also said that the City Council’s lack of inclusion of Best in their budget cut discussions, and cutting her own salary, may give future candidates pause.

He said:

“I’d be very careful if I was an applicant. You are likely going to have some good applicants, people who like to lead and work with the community, but I’d get an ironclad contract.”

Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz will be taking over as the interim chief of police next month with an official start date of September 2. Diaz has over 20 years with the Seattle Police Department. Diaz said in a comment during a news conference:

“Our department has had rough times. I believe this is the most challenging time of our history.”

According to Mayor Jenny Durkan, there will be no chief recruitment until after the budget cycle wraps up in the fall.

Durkan said in a statement:

“We are fortunate that Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz was ready to step into the job and he will ensure SPD remains committed to continuing Chief Best’s vision to build a police department that is centered around true community policing.”

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Here is another article from Law Enforcement Today that discusses how the defunding of the Seattle Police Department will harm their entire city:

SEATTLE, WA – The Seattle City Council held a budget meeting discussing a proposal of a police department budget cut by 50% on July 29.  The proposal would suggest cutting $85 million from the police budget for the remainder of the year.

As one may have guessed, there aren’t many Seattle residents who approve.

Over 300 people signed up to speak at the budget meeting, many of whom were against the drastic cuts.

One caller described the move as a “radical experiment that will hurt the vulnerable.”

Another person said:

“Seattle City Council, you are irresponsibly not fully representing your constituents by making the reckless decision of defunding our police department by 50 percent.”

Another caller, who said the department is already understaffed as it is, commented:

“I do not want less officers, I want more officers who are able to respond to priority calls in seven minutes or less. We don’t live in Utopia.”

As of Sunday afternoon, the Seattle Police Officers Guild garnered over 100,000 signatures for its “Stop Defunding” petition. In four days.

Michael Solan, the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, appeared Wednesday on Fox News. He said:

“Seattle will be a lawless wasteland. Fifty percent of the budget is 85% salary.

“The president of the Seattle City Council and the mayor are saying that the Seattle Police Department is the most progressive agency in this nation, that leads the way in training and de-escalation and policies.

“I find it ironic that the city council is now looking to defund us by 50%.  That move will make CHAZ/CHOP, the experience that it was, look like child’s play when you have up to 800 officers that will lose their jobs.”

Solan referenced the protests in Portland last weekend as well. He said:

“59 cops have been injured this past weekend by improvised explosive devices, projectiles, wood, frozen water bottles, and metal by rioters and denying police assistance would be unconscionable.”

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said police seized a van that contained explosives at a weekend protest that had been organized in solidarity with demonstrations in Portland on July 25.

A group of protesters headed to the Youth Service Center, which is under construction, and tossed “incendiary devices, Molotov cocktails” into the construction site, destroying several trailers. 

When the group moved to the East Precinct, a van reportedly followed them, with people being spotted “removing items and distributing them to people within the group.”

The items described included baseball bats, pyrotechnic explosives, APR respirators, improvised shields, and face masks, said Best.

Moments later, an explosive blew an eight-inch hole into the wall of the East Precinct. 

When the vehicle was parked and abandoned, Best said, there was a real fear that it would contain devices that could detonate.

The vehicle was impounded and a judge granted detectives a search warrant. Best said investigators discovered one pyrotechnic explosive and smoke bombs bundled together, bear spray – using it on anything but bears is a federal offense – pepper spray, stun guns, and improvised spike strips.

Best said:

“Not everyone that comes to these protests is peaceful … peaceful protesters do not show up with a van full of bear spray, stun guns, spike strips, and explosives.”

The Seattle City Council, which has been mulling a proposal to defund the Seattle Police Department, drafted a resolution that would both defund the police and create a “civilian-led department of community safety and violence prevention.”

The resolution does not call for the total abolition of the police, but it does suggest replacing the police force with nonprofit programs and “community-led activities.”

The resolution seeks to fund organizations with certain characteristics, including “culturally-relevant expertise rooted in community connections and support” and “trauma-informed, gender-affirming, anti-racist praxis.”

The City Council’s resolution says that it recognizes “the nation’s and Seattle’s history of racism” and the impacts racism has had on “communities of color and especially in Black communities.”

It also demands a commitment to expand housing access and explicitly states that the city should prioritize the “immediate transfer of underutilized public land for BIPOC community ownership.” The resolution further states that “all empty housing stock in the city should be used until any unhoused person who wants a place to live has one.”

The council will vote on a new budget on August 10.

Check back with Law Enforcement Today for updates.

Here’s more on the current shaky state of the city of Seattle brought to you previously by Law Enforcement Today.

Chalk another one up to “peaceful protesters.” KIRO in Seattle is reporting that the Seattle Police Department is investigating a case in which a 47-year-old was assaulted when he confronted some of those “peaceful” protesters outside his home on Thursday.

Police were called to the Swedish Hospital, where the victim was receiving treatment for a head injury.

According to the victim, he said that around midnight he was unable to sleep due to the raucous protest outside his home making its way through the neighborhood. He went outside to record the incident on his phone.

Some of the protesters were angry that he was recording them, and started to flash laser pointers in his eyes, then struck him in the head with an object believed by officials to be a flashlight.

Some of the protesters actually provided first aid to the victim. While that was occurring, one of the people who was involved with the protest deleted the video from his cell phone. He was then driven to the hospital by a member of his family.

Investigators were able to confirm the victim’s story through witness statements, and they also found several surveillance cameras that captured the incident.

Officers took photos of blood splatter that was found at the scene.

According to Hot Air, around 80 to 100 protesters were walking throughout the neighborhood with the intention to protest at the home of Teresa Mosqueda, a member of the Seattle City Council.

However, neighbors said that Mosqueda doesn’t even live in the neighborhood anymore.

According to the police report:

“Officers met the victim at Swedish Hospital early this morning, where he was receiving treatment for a head injury. The victim told the officer that around 12 am, he was attempting to sleep but was kept awake by a protest that had been making its way through the neighborhood. He said that he went outside his home near 10th Ave W and W Lee Street and asked the crowd to quiet down so that he could sleep, video recording the confrontation on his phone.

“The man said that members of the protest became angry that he was recording them, flashed laser pointers in his eyes, and then struck him in the head with a blunt object, possibly a flashlight. Several other protesters provided first aid to the victim, while according to the victim, a person with the protest deleted the video on his phone. A family member transported the victim to the hospital, where he met with police.

“Officers spoke with multiple witnesses who confirmed the victim’s story, found surveillance cameras that may have captured the incident, and took photos of blood splatter at the crime scene.”

KIRO was able to acquire two videos of the incident posted by members of the protest group. It showed a woman shining a flashlight directly at the victim’s face from around two feet away. The victim then pulled the flashlight out of her hand and threw it onto the ground.

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At that point, several members of the group began to shove him, and he ended up on the ground. It wasn’t clear who exactly assaulted the man and struck him in the head, but there was no appearance that any of the protesters had been injured prior to the assault.

Hot Air noted that what occurred was “pretty standard operating procedure for protesters.” Cause a ruckus, confront anyone with a camera and then escalate the situation. That was done in this case by shining a flashlight in the man’s face to cause further irritation.

Police told Hot Air that they would try to identify those responsible, however without the video from the victim’s camera, it might be difficult to do so.

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