Seattle’s new mayor has called for more police to be brought in to help tackle surging violent crime rates — two years after the liberal city started defunding the department.

Mayor Bruce Harrell used his first state of the city address on Tuesday night to rail against rising crime in Seattle and double down on his vow to improve public safety.

“Part of that plan requires more officers,” Harrell said. “The depleted staffing we see today does not allow us to react to emergencies and crime with the response times our residents deserve.

“It does not allow us to staff the specialty teams we need for issues like domestic violence or DUI or financial crimes targeting the elderly. It does not allow us to conduct the thorough investigations we expect to make sustainable change.”

Attempting to balance public safety and racial justice, Harrell vowed to hire the “right number of officers and the right kind of officers.”
Crime scene taps marks a barrier between protesters and counter protesters during the Seattle Police Officers Guildâs rally to stop defunding of the Seattle Police Department on Sunday, August 9, 2020 at Seattle City Hall.
Protesters demonstrate to defund the Seattle Police Department on Aug. 9, 2020.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“We can have safety and we can have reform,” he insisted.

Seattle’s police funding has shrunk by about $46 million over the last two years — and the department experienced a mass exodus of cops in the wake of the “Defund SPD” movement.

The city was home to the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone in the summer of 2020, which saw anti-cop protesters briefly take over a section of the city to protest police brutality and racism.

The new mayor’s comments came as violent crime rates spiked to a 14-year high last year, according to the Seattle Police Department’s year-end report released last month.
Seattle Police investigate a shooting in Pioneer Square near Trinity nightclub where multiple people were shot early Sunday morning, July 25, 2021, in Seattle.

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