Seattle’s police division is sending detectives and non-patrol officers to answer emergency calls due to a scarcity of patrol officers that union leaders concern will turn out to be worse due to COVID-19vaccine mandates.

Due to the staffing crunch, the Seattle Police Department activated its emergency three-stage mobilization plan on Wednesday, KING reported. 

It entails all on-duty sworn personnel, together with detectives, schooling and coaching part workers and folks throughout the division with patrol backgrounds reporting to their shifts in uniform and prepared to answer 911 calls if essential. 

Should the division obtain a reputable risk “that has the potential to cause significant harm, property destruction or wide-spread public fear,” the plan requires that standard dispatch might be modified, impacting its skill to conduct routine operations. 

SEATTLE RESIDENTS DEMAND POLICE CHIEF ADDRESS HOMELESS CAMP AS VACCINE MANDATE FURTHER THREATENS PATROLS

The division has misplaced greater than 300 officers over the previous 12 months, KOMO reported. Nearly 300 extra might face termination if they don’t adjust to an Oct. 18 deadline to be vaccinated towards the coronavirus.

“We can’t afford to lose one, that’s how desperate we are to hold onto people,” police union president Mike Solan mentioned. “If we lose more officers, the public safety situation will become that much more untenable here.”

According to figures from the Seattle mayor’s workplace, 782 officers have submitted proof of COVID-19 vaccination, whereas 98 officers are searching for exemptions and 186 haven’t turned in paperwork. Officials hope extra will submit the required paperwork as the deadline approaches.

Seattle Police officers confer after participating in a public roll name at Hing Hay Park in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District Thursday, March 18, 2021. Seattle’s police division is having detectives and non-patrol workers reply to emergency calls due to a scarcity of officers union leaders concern might be made worse by COVID-19 vaccine mandates. 
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

“Come October 19th, [we’ll] look at what the next steps are for the officers who at this point have not turned in their vaccination cards,” police spokesman Sgt. Randy Huserik mentioned final week.

The staffing scarcity got here as the Seattle space, like different U.S. metropolitan areas, is experiencing a gun violence surge. Fatal shootings over the primary 9 months of 2021 in King County, which incorporates Seattle, already exceed final 12 months’s year-end complete. As of the top of September, 73 individuals had been killed and 283 have been injured in shootings in King County this 12 months, in response to knowledge from the King County Prosecutor’s Shots Fired Project. For all of 2020, there have been 69 firearm-related homicides and 268 non-fatal shootings in King County.

Meanwhile, Seattle residents from the North Ballard/Crown Hill neighborhood met with Seattle Police Department interim Chief Adrian Diaz Tuesday to debate elevated situations of harassment, open-air drug dealing and use and break-ins and thefts at native companies all related to a homeless encampment at Ballard Commons Park, KOMO reported. 

reported. 

Seattle’s mayoral election is ready to happen this November. Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan mentioned the Ballard Commons Park camp is on the town’s “priority list for removal” however has not offered a timeline. Durkan shouldn’t be searching for a second time period after a 12 months of controversies associated to pandemic-era lockdowns, anti-police protests and an eventual autonomous zone.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.