March 23, 2016

Washington State Police Academy to Cancel Classes

No doubt Seattle needs more police officers

My last blog was about Seattle’s perennial inadequate staffing of the police department. Here’s something else to toss into the discussion. There have been many stories about the ramifications of inadequate staffing of the Seattle Police Department (SPD). This situation is also affecting other law enforcement agencies around the state. Word “on the street” is that a consulting agency recommended SPD add some 300+ officers. Others argue the number is 200, but no one sane argues that the SPD doesn’t need to increase staffing to properly handle its mission. However, they’ve tossed a new wrench into the gears.


Police Academy cancelling classes?

According to King 5 News “Budget battle could force police academy to cancel classes” (March 22, 2016), the state may have to cancel classes if Olympia does not pass a supplemental budget by this Friday.


Four to five month waiting period already

According to the Criminal Justice Training Commission commander, Rick Bowen, there is already a four or five month waiting period as it is. The backlog will only get worse. Just do the math for Seattle alone. Even based on the lower “rumored” number above, or even to keep up with attrition from resignations and retirements, currently it will be eighteen months before any recruit entering the academy sits his or her butt in a police car as a solo patrol officer. Multiply this by the 200 or 300 or more needed, and the problem is clear.


Defunct bike programs vs. more cops

Still, in the past, SPD, sometimes in conjunction with local agencies such as the King County S.O. and Lynnwood P.D., has run its own academy in Seattle. However, with the City of Seattle spending millions on a defunct rental bike program, we might wonder if law enforcement will get the priority Seattlites deserve.


As a reminder, a comparison of Seattle with Boston:


                   Boston                                                   Seattle

Population:             617, 500                                   662,000

Area:                      89.6 Sq. Miles                         143 Sq. Miles

Sworn Officers:        2,100                                       1,300



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