The Daily(ish) Review: Fox News, Seattle, police fleeing
I need to head out, but I have 3/4 of a cup of delicious Nescafé Clasico, so I have time to read an article and throw my thoughts about it into the webverse (it's a technical term).
I live in Seattle, so I can't pass up Fox News' article alleging that Seattle police are fleeing. Let's have a look.
Seattle cops flee the force in 'mass exodus' due to frustrations with city's politics, report says (Kathleen Joyce)
"At least 41 cops have left the Seattle Police Department this year, many of them reportedly citing frustration with the city's politics and a perceived lack of support from local officials."
"Though documents showed some officers left the force due to retirement, a source in the department told Q13 FOX some 20 officers left and sought employment at other law enforcement agencies."
- That seems plausible. But costs in Seattle are skyrocketing. I would like to know if some are leaving for areas with a lower cost of living and more potential for promotion. I'll come back to this section if the article mentions those. Update - the article does mention stagnant wages but indicates that's not the reason for the officers leaving.
- Fox News often laments the use of unnamed sources but uses that valuable tool frequently in this article.
"“Less officers on the streets, less safe for the citizens -- and when you have all these officers you have invested all this money in and they are leaving for Tacoma, Olympia, Pierce County and Snohomish County,” Seattle Police Officers Guild Vice President Richard O’Neill said."
- Again, that's plausible. But it seems like these days just about anyone not working in tech is doing the same thing.
“It's just depressing to serve in a place where many city council members who are coming out at times with negative comments about the police,” O’Neill said.
The Seattle Police Guild said officers have not received a pay raise in three years due to contract negotiations. But O’Neill said the officers didn't leave because of the money issues -- they just became fed up with Seattle politics.
“I’ve been here since 1980, I’ve never seen the city in the condition it is in. It’s because it’s been allowed on many levels,” O’Neill said.
"The Seattle Police Department struck a different tone, saying it would not characterize the departures as a “mass exodus” and noted the department was continuing to recruit officers, including women and minority candidates."
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office released a statement regarding the union’s comments.
“Few issues are more important than public safety and keeping our families safe, and our officers are being asked to do more in our rapidly changing community," the statement said. "...The Mayor will continue to work closely with SPD and our officers to ensure they have the resources necessary to maintain their safety and the safety of our community.”
- It's good to see that the author sought opinions that might differ from the police union and unnamed sources. I think more could have been done with that, though.
- That's a fairly bland statement from Mayor Durkan's office, but I can't really blame them. It usually pays to be bland. I wonder why the author used the "..." - is that to indicate that the quote continues?
Verdict: The article takes a quick look at an issue that is relevant to me as a resident of Seattle, but it definitely does not do so in depth. I didn't get the sense that the article was very well researched. I don't doubt that increased numbers of Seattle police might be leaving the force, but to get a better sense of why and whether it's actually in significantly higher numbers than normal, you'd need a more thorough piece.
Note: If anyone who is reading this knows how to turn off the Squarespace autocorrect, let me know. It may be a MacOS setting. Either way, I blame it for a good portion of my typos and writing errors. (Always blame the tools.)