Cascading failures in policing

I recently had an opportunity to play a card I had been holding for a few weeks. I waited until a former Seattle police officer I know grumbled* again about his current job. So I asked, “I’ll bet you really wish you still had your old job back at the Seattle Police department.

This triggered a five minute monologue which began with “Absolutely not!” on the consequences of the political situation in regards to police in general and Seattle and surrounding areas in specific. He described it as “cascading failures”. Here is a synopsis of what he told me:

As of a couple years ago there were about 1350 people in SPD which was considered significantly understaffed. This number included support staff and rookies patrol officers up through to the captain level.

SPD is currently losing hundreds of people via retirement and them finding different jobs. Officers that have 20+ years on the job can’t take their pensions yet (I think he said they have to be 53 years old before they can do that) but they can quit and still get their full pension when they do cross the age threshold. Replacements are nearly impossible to get. Not because of defunding, but because no one wants those jobs. Detectives and other high skill areas are especially hard hit because those are the people most likely to have 20+ years on the job.

Some skill areas have mutual aid packs with surrounding areas. But while the surrounding areas have not had as severe political stress as SPD they have been affected. The mutual aid packs increase the stress on the surrounding areas and is causing people to leave their law enforcement positions there as well. It’s a cascading system of failure that affects the entire area.

Even some rural counties are pushing people out of law enforcement. One such country recently removed all U.S. flags from their patrol cars. This was to avoid offending anyone.**

SPD is rapidly approaching the situation where when you call 911 the only time someone will show up is if there is a life and death situation.

I’m now extrapolating from his observations.

If the police only show up for life and death situations and detectives are among the skills sets hardest hit by personal shortages then law enforcement protection of property is going to asymptotically approach zero. If a cold body with no obvious signs of foul play and/or no hot leads is found it will essentially ignored. Even clear murder cases will have low closure rates. Assault and battery will be ignored. Without justice for the victims of violent crimes and reduced odds of being punished self administered “justice” will become common.

These cascading law enforcement failures will trigger other cascading failures. This is city killer type stuff. Seattle is highly dependent upon high tech money. Most of those jobs can be performed by people 100s of miles away as easily as they can be performed by people within commuting distance. People and companies will leave the immediate area in droves. The property values, and all tax bases will crash. City services of all types will suffer. This could create Detroit like conditions within a few years.


* I think, overall, he actually likes his job. He just likes to grumble about things.

** I expect the people insisting the flags be removed are bewildered as to how the police could have a “real” issue with this. This probably extends to at least some of my readers.

A significant number police are former, and even current reserve, military. The U.S. flag is more than a piece of red, white, and blue colored cloth to members of the U.S. military. I have never been in the military and I only sort of understood this. A former Army Ranger described the depth of that meaning when he told me that if he were on the jury of someone accused of murdering a person who was burning a U.S. flag he would not vote to convict even if there numerous witnesses and video of the event, fingerprints in the neck bruises, and matching shoe prints in the blood. He wouldn’t kill someone burning a U.S. flag. But he could understand why someone would.

13 thoughts on “Cascading failures in policing

  1. Yep, I just told my sister in Colorado that Seattle was [becoming] a freshly minted Detroit.

  2. I’m sure the pols in Seattle know this. They know where it will lead.

    So why do they keep on pushing so hard in that direction? I think I know, but if I spell it out people tend to think I need a tinfoil hat adjustment. So, ya’ll, think about it. Why are they driving away the police, and supporting apparent anarchy? What do they gain from it? How do the city leaders, media, and their supporters profit? What’s the plan, who’s involved in the decisions? Who’s really involved?

    Saying “they are nuts,” or “idiots” or “I don’t know” isn’t a legit answer, because these events are happening in the real world, and have real consequences you’ll have to deal with.Why?

    • Look up the Curley Effect. This was perfected by Coleman Young, mayor of, you guessed it, Detroit.

      • Yup, that’s part of it. But what’s the bigger picture look like? Who’s bankrolling them, for starters, and why so much media and national Dem party support?

  3. With the failure of local governments and their lack of leadership across the country. I fear this is laying the ground work for a national / federal police force.

    • If you wind up with a leftist federal government it won’t. Not unless it’s purpose to go out and attack political enemies.

      • You mean like how the previous administration weaponized the IRS?

        They’ll let this administration set it up, crying fascist and nazi the whole time then exponentially increase it later.

      • More like the FBI.
        I like to comment that all you need to look at to understand FBI malfeasance is the name on its headquarters building.

  4. To understand how military people feel about the flag:

    Military units, especially combat units, are VERY tight knit. While a person might join the military for their country or for college money, they eventually come to regard the people in their unit as family. No wonder, you live, eat, sleep, and do everything with them for months at a time.

    Now imagine that your brother is killed. His body is draped in that flag. Once he is buried, his next of kin is presented that flag. The same flag will be presented to YOUR next of kin if you are killed. Even though no one in the military talks about it, we all know that we have essentially pledged our lives for the ideals that that flag stands for.

    Now imagine someone desecrating that flag. By doing so, they are desecrating your family. They are making the reason why your brother was killed mean nothing, which makes your brother’s life meaningless, and makes a statement that the desecrator believes YOUR life to be meaningless.

    The words duty, honor, country are not just quaint little words for liberals to use when the laugh at the military and feel superior that they were smart enough to go to college instead of going into the military. Those three words stand at the center of the belief system of the people who sign up to defend our nation.

    Michelle Obama: “All of this, over a damned flag.”

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