Another side effect of the Seattle Police staffing shortage: No more Motorcycle Drill Team

Dozens of entries are already signed up for the West Seattle Grand Parade on Saturday, July 23rd, But we’ve learned of two that won’t be returning – because of the Seattle Police staffing shortage:

(WSB file photo)

No SPD Motorcycle Drill Team, in our parade or the other summer parades in which they have traditionally appeared. That’s because the department doesn’t have one right now, confirms SPD spokesperson Det. Valerie Carson, who told WSB, “We just don’t have the staffing numbers.” She adds, “It was not officially disbanded, and I think the hope would be to someday re-establish it, but for now it has dissolved as a result of the department’s resource priorities.”

For the West Seattle Grand Parade, there’s one additional ripple effect of that: No SPD Motorcycle Drill Team means no Vancouver, B.C. Motorcycle Drill Team. This was the only U.S. parade in which they participated, and that was as a guest of the SPD team, explains longtime parade co-coordinator Jim Edwards.

Though the traditional parade-starting motorcycles aren’t available, the West Seattle parade does have 60+ other participants signed up so far; it’ll travel southbound along California SW from the Admiral District to The Junction on July 23rd, starting at 11 am.

43 Replies to "Another side effect of the Seattle Police staffing shortage: No more Motorcycle Drill Team"

  • Duffy June 28, 2022 (8:06 pm)

    I see this as a good thing.  If you don’t have the resources, don’t act like you do.

    • Rick June 28, 2022 (8:26 pm)

      If only that logic could be applied without hypocrisy. 

  • sam-c June 28, 2022 (8:10 pm)

    Noooooooooooooooooo !!!!! My favorite part of the parade.  :( 

  • Just wondering June 28, 2022 (8:21 pm)

    I will miss seeing and hearing them!

  • TJ June 28, 2022 (8:29 pm)

    I assume the Vancouver Motorcycle Drill Team isn’t in service either due to staffing issues. Too bad these supposed world class cities can’t put together these teams anymore

    • WSB June 28, 2022 (8:52 pm)

      So far as I can tell, Vancouver still has a drill team, though that’s pending confirmation. I looked around earlier for information on their staffing issue and so far all I’ve found is a mention that they were short on applicants (as of last fall), not short on actual staffing

  • Todd June 28, 2022 (9:07 pm)

    My favorite part of the parade also.  Will be missed for sure.  Vancouver drill team was always welcomed by SPD and will be sad to see them both missing from the parade.

  • A Cat And Badger June 28, 2022 (10:10 pm)

    Good. We don’t need nor want the copaganda.

    • JRob June 29, 2022 (2:50 pm)

      “We”?  Speak for yourself. 

      • Rocket June 30, 2022 (11:51 am)

        We are they.

    • Scubafrog June 29, 2022 (4:49 pm)

      Who’s “we”, cat, and what’s “copaganda”? 

      • heartless June 30, 2022 (12:35 pm)

        “and what’s “copaganda””

        Googling ‘copaganda’ would have taken less time than typing that.

  • Kyle June 28, 2022 (10:40 pm)

    The title should read: “Good News: SPD no longer wasting money on a motorcycle drill team”. I hope they also sell the SPD dressage horse.

    • WS Res June 29, 2022 (6:43 am)

      Yeah, I’d rather have them out investigating rapes.

      • carl June 30, 2022 (3:52 am)

        Sounds like you want cops to have more resources and community support.  I agree.

    • JL June 29, 2022 (6:50 am)

      The SPD motorcycle drill team is completely funded by donations and not at all by the city of Seattle. Everything that they do is voluntary through both time and money.  

      • Kyle June 29, 2022 (8:41 am)

        Why would they cite the department’s resource priorities as a reason for unofficially disbanding it if there are no department resources used?

        • Scubafrog June 29, 2022 (4:52 pm)

          The SPD hate is unfortunate.  Of course they left.  Why would they stay for ingrates.

          • shotinthefoot June 30, 2022 (3:56 pm)

            Why would they not get vaccinated, and instead choose to leave their jobs? Protect and Serve my aunt fanny. The hate is justified. 

  • Anon June 29, 2022 (12:07 am)

    Lol are we really supposed to care that there isn’t a “drill team”? If you’re trying to convince the public you don’t need to be defunded because you’re so important, maybe don’t use this as an example. 🤣 

  • 22blades June 29, 2022 (4:50 am)

    There are way bigger problems to tackle here than an exhibition of 19th century technology bikes.

    • My two cents June 29, 2022 (4:28 pm)

      Would it be acceptable if they were e-bikes?

      • Admyrl Byrd June 29, 2022 (9:43 pm)

        I think us West Seattleites should create a Lime Scooter drill team.  That would be so us.

        • Rocket June 30, 2022 (11:53 am)

          While a joke you might be into something. I for one would totally be a part of a sustainable transportation drill team. 

  • Watertowerjim June 29, 2022 (5:39 am)

    Do the social workers have a drill team?

  • Hammer in Hand June 29, 2022 (6:19 am)

    This is a sad daythis has been a long time tradition / partnership dates back decades with Vancouver. The West Seattle parade was their only performance. This was not money wasted as the drill team would practice on their own time. This display was a show of pride for not the PD and the city. This should also be seen as a tool of recruitment, imagine kids seeing them in the parade as saying “mom, someday I want to do that” much like the Blue Angels. Just another reason I will be voting each and every City Council member off. It’s not just a trickle down it is disaster.    

    • Mark June 29, 2022 (8:59 am)

      So, so agree with getting Herbold out.  Not all the council (now) should go.  Sara Nelson is great.

  • Seattlite June 29, 2022 (7:21 am)

    Too bad.  Police Officers showing up at community parades to do their motorcycle drill was definitely a highlight and  good thing for relations and confidence in safety.  Seattle’s City Council is 100% detached from Seattle’s communities on ALL levels especially Seattleites’ safety.

    • Jay June 29, 2022 (7:52 am)

      City Council didn’t cancel this.

    • Kyle June 29, 2022 (9:14 am)

      This doesn’t at all sound like it was written by the Police Guild’s PR team. Well said fellow Seattleite!

  • 2 Much Whine June 29, 2022 (10:05 am)

    There are still over 940 police officers in SPD.  If it is true that all the practice and support for this Drill Team is on a volunteer basis then staffing levels alone should not make a difference.  I suspect it’s more a function of the current officers not wanting to participate to send a message that this is what you get when a community chants “de-fund the police” (even though funding is apparently not part of this equation).  I am not arguing for or against the drill team, just pointing out that staffing levels are likely not the only reason (and probably not even a valid reason) they are not participating.

    • Jay June 29, 2022 (3:55 pm)

      Free speech and requests for accountability shouldn’t be suppressed because of reports that cops feel demotivated. The complaints against the department, including their inappropriate use of force (that I’ve witness first hand working at Westlake Park) and their ongoing overtime fraud (exhaustively documented by local newspapers) are entirely valid. If cops want the support of the community, they have to work with the community and protect and serve the people who live here.

  • WSB June 29, 2022 (11:14 am)

    To address the inference of a couple comments, this is NOT from any kind of announcement or “press release.” Give us more credit than that. When something IS from an announcement, news release, etc., we say that and usually link it. SPD only commented on this because we asked about it after a parade organizer mentioned it. Struck me as interesting and a previously unpublicized side effect of the staffing situation, so I decided to write about it, and first asked SPD to confirm it. The drill-team members FYI have historically been members of the Traffic Unit – and the SPD staffing situation has affected specialized units as well as general 911 response, though I haven’t yet found exact numbers from all the documentation on the reassignments/departures of recent years – TR

  • marcus June 29, 2022 (11:20 am)

    yeah I guess we do not have the staffing to walk in the pride parade, or to visit schools/community centers and create a good partnership, or sit in a starbucks showing the community that police are actually a part of the community or smile and say “hi” to little kids.  Yeah this defund the police is really working with all the community service efforts that so called defund police is suppose to provide.  And, crime is up, gosh never thought of that!!!   heck I miss the drill team, I miss the casual patrols.  you police haters are just on the wrong side of the argument.  

    • Curtis July 1, 2022 (1:25 pm)

      The Pride Parade disinvited the SPD.

    • Jjknuckle July 2, 2022 (6:28 pm)


  • H20K9 June 29, 2022 (2:15 pm)

    Yet a shopping lifting incident at a local shop today  was met with a four cruiser response.  SPD isn’t even trying to connect with the community. It’s a tough job but we all give more these days. Step-up  SPD!

  • Yep June 29, 2022 (2:56 pm)

    Considering Lisa is our rep WS will remain a very low SPD priority for a long time. 

  • K to the F June 29, 2022 (3:44 pm)

    May I suggest this talented group instead? There, problem solved.

  • High Point June 30, 2022 (9:05 am)

    Those who want to defund the police have already scrolled past this article. Those left reading the article and crying over days-past have already bought into the narrative that the SPD is under attack from “The Big Bad Left”. SPD knows this so they see it as a Win-Win for them. They won’t get BOOd at the parade and the “Reasonable Seattleites” will weaponize this action to lift up SPD. Honestly, it’s a smart play by SPD to continue to add fuel to the fire.

  • David July 1, 2022 (8:21 am)

    Kids.  Calm down.  It’s just a parade, mostly for children and the young at heart.  The kids liked seeing it (just like being excited about a truck pulling on it’s horn when you drive, or a train doing it’s big loud horn when they go by).  It’s not really for the adults.As for the pro-con police, stop it.  I’m sick of these 3rd grade arguments that “the police” are all good or all bad.  They’re JUST a group of humans.  There are crappy police, crappy Microsoft bro’s, crappy Boeing employees, crappy teachers, etc.   We just have to hold the police a higher standard (because we give them the authority to carry guns and ‘assume’ their testimony in court is true).   So it’s fair to hold them to a very high standard, and if SOME of them don’t met it, it’s fair to call them out for it.  But this LOVING or BASHING “the police” is meaningless.  There is no “the police” anymore than “the government” or “the media” or “the liberals” or “the conservatives”.    Their labels to broad and generic to have meaning.  When I see arguments about “the media” or “woke” or similar meaningless label I KNOW it’s just going to be childish mindless rant and not a reasoned debate.  So just take a breath.  It’s a parade.  It’s supposed to be fun!   Sad they’re not their for the kids (who have NO idea about the complex conservation about policing and racism and psychological tendencies on all sides to “group” people and treat them as a monolithic entity).   The kids just thought it looked cool.   But I understand about staffing, it’s NOT just the police,  EVERY business is short on staffing right now. :)   And that’s not “causing” crime, may not help, but honestly crime was up greatly in 2020 during the pandemic nation wide (after hitting historic 40 year lows).  Even Austin Texas is short on police and has soaring murder rates at all time high in 2021.  So this is true in most of the country.  I blame mostly the pandemic, shortages of staffing everywhere, psychological stress,  increase in homelessness everywhere, etc.  All that aside, it’s a PARADE, have FUN!  We can take a hot minute off our adult arguing to have a parade for 2 hours!  :)

    • heartless July 1, 2022 (8:58 pm)

      “I’m sick of these 3rd grade arguments that “the police” are all good or all bad.  They’re JUST a group of humans.”

      You just completely ignored the overwhelmingly well-documented concept that a system by itself can influence behaviors. 

      The point is, the police system in this country, in its historical and current form, foments racism and violence.  Once people become police, they are NOT just a group of humans–they are part of a specific, broken system that molds and changes them, and not for the better. 

      Shrugging and saying, “well, gee, you know, we’re all just people,” blithely (and intentionally or not) glosses over these uncomfortable truths.  

  • Keith Hughes July 2, 2022 (11:51 am)

    Thank you Davie and Tracy.  I choose to think about who is going to be in the Grand Parade this year.  The Sea Fair Clowns.  The Sea Fair Pirates with their Pirate Ship and Cannons.  The All City Marching Band.  The US Army I Corp Marching Brass Band (first appearance ever) The Miss Home Street Unlimited Hydro.  And 40+ other entries from our local and regional community.  It’s a PARADE !  It is the longest running Community Parade in the greater Seattle area – 15 years older than Sea Fair.  There will be plenty for the kids and adults alike to enjoy and take some pride in their community.  Your West Seattle Grand Parade Committee Chairperson.

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