The Seattle City Council slashed the city's police budget by some 20% in 2020 – and after two years of trying to stretch whatever dollars remained, the police department has run out of optional things to cut. The Seattle Times is reporting the department's sexual assault and child abuse unit is no longer assigning new cases with adult victims because "at current staffing levels that objective is unattainable."
Randy Sutton of The Wounded Blue says the City Council cannot says it wasn't warned.
"They don't want crimes being solved – and this is an astounding lack of responsibility on the part of the city leadership," he accuses.
According to the Times, Seattle's police department has been losing officers for more than two years. In early 2020, the city had almost 1,300 officers in service; by March 2022, those numbers had dropped to 968. In 2020, 119 officers were assigned to "specialty units," one of which is the sexual assault unit; in 2022, that number is 33. The department now has just four detectives working sex crimes. Three years ago, they had 12.
Examining those dwindling numbers, Sutton says rapists, molesters, and abusers are getting a free pass in the Emerald City.
"Because of the irresponsibility, ineptitude, and basic indifference of the City Council, these violent criminals who prey on the innocent know there will be no consequences for their crimes," Sutton warns.
One might think Seattle will be facing a slew of lawsuits from women and parents of kids who have been abused. The lawsuits may be filed, but Sutton says they will have no teeth.
"The City Council and the mayor who brought this travesty up on the people of Seattle have qualified immunity. They will face no consequences for their actions," he explains. "The only consequences they can face are being thrown out of office."
A department spokesman told the Seattle Times that cases involving children and adult cases that had a suspect in custody – a fraction of adult sexual assaults reported to police – were being "prioritized."