by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Anti-police attitudes and deep cuts to law enforcement budgets in cities run by left-wing governments have driven hundreds of officers from their jobs — and small towns are reaping the benefits.
Beleaguered big-city officers around the country are being welcomed to rural forces, who are thrilled to have seasoned police and don’t share the contempt some urban leaders seem to have for the men and women in blue.
The Portland, Oregon, police department’s assistant chief, for example, left last year amid the summer’s waves of protest to become the police chief in Boise, Idaho.
Multiple officers followed him there, according to a review of exit interview forms obtained by the Oregonian. Those forms, obtained through a public records request, showed many of the officers who quit in the past year had grown frustrated with the City Council and the public’s attitude toward them.
Portland’s City Council voted last year to cut $27 million from the police bureau’s budget and is considering more reductions in funding, despite the force’s struggle to retain officers.
The police bureau lost 115 officers between July of last year and April of this year. In the first four months of 2021, Portland saw homicides spike by 800% over the same time frame last year.
Seattle, too, has seen a law enforcement exodus after cutting funding for its police amid a national conversation about police brutality and the role of officers.
City leaders slashed the Seattle Police Department budget by $46 million for fiscal year 2021.
“Due to the cascading impacts of COVID-19, threats of layoffs, and recent budget reductions, SPD is experiencing extreme staffing shortages, the future effects of which are not fully known,” the department noted in a recent briefing for the City Council.
The department noted that, due to losing roughly 200 officers in recent months, response times to 911 calls had grown longer. …