Tomorrow at 9:30 am, the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee, chaired by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold, gets its quarterly report on Seattle Police staffing. “Unprecedented separation numbers have continued into 2022,” the presentation prepared for the meeting notes. Through the first half of the year, SPD had lost 109 more officers, and hired 30. The number of departures is close to the 125 originally projected for the entire year.
When the first-quarter report was presented in April, we reported here that Southwest Precinct sworn-staffing numbers had dropped more than any other precinct. The second-quarter report shows the precinct – which covers West Seattle and South Park – has regained what it had lost since last year.
As of the end of June, the new report shows, SW officers and sergeants totaled 65 sworn staff, up from 58 at the end of the first quarter. 65 is the number the precinct had at the end of 2021’s first quarter. Citywide, though, precincts’ total staff has dropped again, from 545 citywide at the end of the first quarter to 539 at the end of the second quarter. That’s more than 20 percent down from two years ago, when precinct staffing citywide totaled 677.
Departures have cost the department monetarily too – the documents for tomorrow’s briefing say that halfway through the year, SPD had spent two-thirds of the year’s budget for separation pay.
The meeting documents also cover some other SPD stats, such as response times dating back to 2019. The presentation notes that “median values [half sooner, half later] are the same or better everywhere except the Southwest Precinct.” One example – median response teams for Priority 1 calls – the most serious crime/life-safety issues – have gone up here from six and a half minutes in 2019 to eight and a half minutes now. (Seven minutes is what SPD is supposed to be aiming for.)