SEATTLE - While hundreds of Seattle police officers filled the streets to face protesters and anarchists during May Day, KIRO 7 found out three Seattle police commanders had the day off.
A police officer tipped off KIRO 7 about the vacation days, on what SPD admits is one of its biggest days of the year.
Seattle Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said Chief Harry Bailey approved the time off himself for Capt. Eric Sano, who supervises undercover detectives in the narcotics unit; Capt. Mike Nolan, who is in human resources; and Asst. Chief Joe Kessler, who is in operations.
"Does that send the wrong message?" KIRO 7 asked.
"I'll say that every request for time off faces a tremendous amount of scrutiny," Whitcomb said.
Seattle even got help Thursday from Kent and Tukwila.
Some people were surprised to hear not all officers were on hand.
"I think they should all be working," Bobbi Ellison said. "I don’t know... It's not a holiday."
But Whitcomb said the operation doesn't need a lot of commanders; it needs a lot of officers in the streets.
"We are confident moving into May Day 2014 that we've got good staffing levels," he said.
Whitcomb said SPD was more focused on having the same commanders in place as last year, including Capt. Chris Fowler in charge in the field. He said that way if similar violence crops up, they'll know how to react.