Seattle Police Department Loses More Officers Than It Hires

The trend should continue. Data shows the Seattle Police Department plans to hire 98 more officers in 2022 and lose 113.

SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department lost more officers than it hired in the first quarter of 2022.

It’s a trend that really started in the summer of 2020, and so far there is no concrete solution to change course.

New data, to be released officially on Tuesday, shows 43 sworn police officers left in 2022, while only 13 were hired, leaving the department with a net loss of 30 officers.

The trend should continue. Data shows the Seattle Police Department plans to hire 98 more officers in 2022 and lose 113.

The corner of Third Avenue and Pike Street has been a flashpoint for conversations about police presence and public safety this year. A mobile police station has helped deter crime downtown.

“It’s not just visibility, but it also gives overtime officers working on Third Avenue a place to step back,” Lewis said.

After multiple shootings and assaults, the command post was established earlier this year. Lewis says it’s here to stay, even though the officers working there have moved on.

Downtown business owner Leila Farange credits the neighborhood for restoring order to Third Avenue. She says the police presence boosted business at her gyroscope store.

“They can’t move the enclosure, because it’s our lifeline,” Farange said. “It’s increasing every day because people are coming back to work.”

Seattle’s staffing situation was mirrored in other major cities, like Denver and Dallas, where the big resignation also hit hard.

But in Dallas, there has also been a sharp reduction in violent crime. It’s a trend that Seattle City Councilman Andrew Lewis hopes to model.

“We have to look at the response holistically, we’re not going to get out of the public safety crisis we have in Seattle by hiring more officers,” Lewis said. “We need to hire more officers, it’s necessary but not sufficient – we also need to hire other responders, these are just the facts, this is just the reality.”