An officer with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has penned an anonymous open letter to the citizens of the city. The officer confided that even though he’s spent his life chasing criminals, has suffered injuries and hospitalizations, has been called a “racist killer cop” and has had people try to kill him, none of those things deterred him from the mission.
However, because of the recent hate and vitriol police have received, and the lack of support from the citizens of Seattle, he said, “I have now been broken.”
The letter reads in part:
“I am a police officer in your city… My experiences are my own but I believe other officers will have had similar experiences and may be nodding their heads when they read portions of this letter… I thrust myself into law enforcement after finishing my training and being put out on patrol. I chased the criminals like most new officers in an effort to keep them from victimizing you.
“I have suffered significant injuries while serving you, some of which caused me to be hospitalized and others were painful but transitory.
“I hold close to my heart the interactions I have had with residents, but even closer to my heart are the drug addicts and criminals who I have assisted in getting their life together… sometimes forever and sometimes for just a few years.
“Knowing I helped a prostitute get off drugs and stay clean for 4+ years so she could reconnect with her children is an amazing feeling that I cannot explain.
“Along the way my spouse and children suffered. They didn’t understand why I would choose to experience all this for strangers. Over the years I have tried to explain it to my family. I think my spouse understands but I am not sure my children have had enough life experience to fully grasp what I have been teaching them.”
Speaking of recent riots in Seattle, he writes,
“They threw glass bottles, rocks, pieces of steel, chunks of concrete, and even improvised explosive devices (the ones the media have video of but won’t show you.) … That didn’t break me.
“But I must admit. I have now been broken.”
The police officer goes on to say how he no longer believes in “the mission” of protecting the citizens of Seattle – or at least his ability to successfully conduct it.
He writes that anarchists and mobs have controlled the streets of Seattle, and this has made it impossible for him to do his job and keep the city safe.
The officer then charges the citizens of the city of Seattle with rising up and speaking out against the mobs and to their politicians.
“Only you can unbreak me. Only you can let me return to the mission,” he writes. “I await your decision.”
It’s not difficult to understand why police officers in Seattle may be demoralized.
According to a recent poll, a plurality of residents in Seattle supports a 50% reduction in funding to the police department, which a majority of the city council also supports. Seattle mayor Jenny Durkin recently announced a $76 million cut to the SPD budget which had originally stood at $400 million.
Additionally, for several weeks in June, scores of Seattle residents set up an autonomous zone known as CHAZ/CHOP. For weeks, Seattle mayor Jenny Durkin prevented police from moving in to dismantle the zone, until two murders in the zone forced her to allow the police to take action. The Daily Citizen reported on this story on June 23.
The Daily Citizen also recently reported on a breaking story where city officials are planning to close Seattle’s only jail, King County Correctional Facility, which holds 1,300 inmates. There are no plans to replace it with a new jail.
It’s a highly contentious time in our country. Please pray for public servants and police officers, that they are able to do their job well and unhindered, and that they remain safe in a dangerous line of work.
You can read the letter in full here.
You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary
Photo from Lindsey Wasson/REUTERS
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