Comment from departing Seattle officer. (Photo: KIRO7 screen shot) -

Comment from departing Seattle officer. (Photo: KIRO7 screen shot)

Many officers who have left the Seattle Police Department blamed political leaders inside City Hall for their decision to leave employment with the city.

Several exit interviews obtained by KOMO News had a common theme: blaming Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle City Council members.

In one exit interview, an officer wrote, in part, “The City Council has made it apparent that maintaining adequate staffing to keep the city or the officers [safe] that work there is not a priority for them.”

Mayor Durkan told KIRO7 that she "values" the city's police officers. But she continues to crusade for defunding and rethinking the Seattle PD.

KIRO 7 asked Durkan how the city could both support officers and rethink policing.

“I don’t think you can do one without the other,” Durkan said. “Number one, they’ve got to be part of the solution. Number two is we’ve got to do better in officer wellness.”

Council member Tammy Morales told KOMO, "If we want to decrease police violence, which is what all these protests have been about, we need to reduce contacts with police."

One officer said in their exit interview, "City Council has made it clear they do not want a police department and (would) rather defund SPD. Morale is very low due to the climate and the stance of political leaders.”

Councilwoman Kshama Sawant said cutting the police budget by 50 percent is the only way many on the council will keep their word to the protestors who've wanted a defunded department.