Seattle police detail sweeping changes to officer assignments

VIDEO: Seattle police detail sweeping changes to officer assignments

SEATTLE — Days after it was announced that 100 Seattle police officers would be sent back to patrol duty, the department issued details of revised staffing figures.

“As chief, my commitment is to put our resources where it is most needed, and right now, that is patrol,” said Adrian Diaz, Interim Chief of Seattle Police.

Just days into his new position, Chief Diaz is already switching things up.

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Under his guidance, 100 officers are being shifted from special divisions back to the streets.

KIRO 7 learned that SPD’s precincts could be most affected.

As part of the plans, 50 officers from those precincts will be reassigned to patrol duty.

Until now, the chief said those officers had been working on issues that had very little to do with crime-fighting.

“By focusing our resources on patrol, I intend our officers to identify an underlying issue and start the connection with the renter, the homeowner, the neighborhood watch, the small business owner, the person living outside,” Chief Diaz stated.

SPD’s traffic officers are also majorly impacted.

As part of the plans, 21 traffic officers will now be responding to sudden, urgent emergencies like robberies and shootings.

“They’ll bring vital backup to patrol officers who’ve been racing from call to call too often” Chief Diaz noted.

So far, reaction to the reshuffling has been muted from community activists.

In a recent interview with KIRO 7, King County Equity Now said it will continue to call for diversity within SPD, regardless of how many officers there actually are.

“It’s our work and our responsibility to try to make our community safer, and that’s what we’re gonna try to do,” said Isaac Joy of King County Equity Now.

This week, Mayor Jenny Durkan said she is confident the shifting of officers would be met with support from the public.

“We have not seen hostility toward officers responding to calls for help. And I think that’s something that gets lost in the coverage,” she noted.

With the changes, SPD said its remaining specialty units will be looking into such things as abuse of older people and sex trafficking.