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SEATTLE, WA – Another consequence of the move to “defund” the police in the United States has resulted in the shocking inability of detectives in the Seattle Police Department to investigate new sexual assault cases going forward, leaving unfortunate victims out in the cold in the name of “social justice.”
Citing massive staffing cuts after the city council voted to cut millions from their budget, a newly-revealed internal memo sent by Sgt. Pamela St. John – who heads up the department’s Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Unit – to interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz on April 11 stated that her units are no longer able to take on any new cases this year.
“This depletion has left the remaining detectives with unsustainable caseloads,” St. John said in the memo. “That burden is even more impactful in our unit given the content and nature of the investigations which directly leads to secondary issues such as burnout and compassion fatigue.”
Just three years ago, St. John’s unit had 12 detectives working assault cases; however, currently, that number has been whittled down to just four.
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The Seattle Police’s Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Unit has seen a large uptick in the number of abuse cases involving minors, St. John said, and with staffing cuts brought about by budget cuts to the department it’s just impossible for her detectives to keep up.
“The community expects our agency to respond to reports of sexual violence and at current staffing levels that objective is unattainable,” St. John wrote. “The necessity for on-call detective response to Sexual Assault cases cannot be understated, but with current staffing levels the burden that falls upon our detectives is too high. A skilled detective is required to proactively investigate a sexual assault case.”
St. John – who acknowledged in her memo that the staffing cuts have been made across the entire force – said she would need at least 8 detectives in her unit to be able to start taking on the backlog of cases that are building up.
“This year alone I have 30 adult sexual assault cases that should be assigned to a detective if I had proper staffing,” she said. “The detectives will still need to be working overtime, but the cases can then be assigned.”
Police departments across the United States have been enduring budget cuts in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in May 2020, which led to mass protests, riots, and looting as advocates for criminal justice reform demanded police departments be “defunded.” However, this has typically led to an increase in crime in the areas that have implemented this controversial measure.
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