Seattle mayor to police officers: ‘I value you’

VIDEO: Seattle mayor responds to record number of officers leaving department

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan had a message for police officers after a record number left Seattle Police Department last month.

“I say to the ones that are there, please stay. Seattle values you. I value you,” Durkan said.

The mayor was responding to questions on Oct. 20 about departing officers complaining in exit interviews about a lack of support from city hall.

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One former officer wrote, “I refuse to work for this socialist city council and their political agenda.”

This comes as the city council begins considering additional cuts to the SPD budget in 2021.

Comprehensive plans from the council are not expected for a couple of weeks, but early proposals outlined Tuesday range from leaving vacant positions unfunded to a 50 percent cut to address systemic inequality.

KIRO 7 asked Durkan how the city could both support officers and rethink policing.

“I don’t think you can do one without the other,” Durkan said. “Number one, they’ve got to be part of the solution. Number two is we’ve got to do better in officer wellness.”

The mayor said the last few months have been stressful for officers, who need adequate training and time off.

With traditional policing under scrutiny, SPD is warning about a growth in violent crime.

“Shootings are at the highest level of the last seven years,” Chief Adrian Diaz said on Oct. 19. “We’ve had a significant increase in homicides, and so we have to realize that this, there are some huge safety issues when it comes to violent crime in this city.”