Several former officers who left the Seattle Police Department within the past year for other opportunities have returned to the SPD. At least six have returned so far, but Chief Adrian Diaz said he's expecting more.
"A lot of times people come back because of the camaraderie and their fellow officers that they’ve grown up in the department with, and that matters, but also the trajectory of where the department is leading,” Diaz told King5. “We are pushing initiatives that are cutting edge, that are innovative, and I think people want to be a part of something bigger than them."
Since the start of 2020, the SPD has lost at least 339 officers for various reasons. A department spokesperson said 69 officers have been newly hired, and the new 2022 city budget calls for hiring an additional 125 officers.
Officer Dion Johnson left the department in 2020 after massive cuts were made to the operating budget and hundreds of officer positions were eliminated. Johnson said he has deep roots in Seattle but chose to become a Mason County Sheriff’s deputy for a change of pace.
"With the state of Seattle last year, I thought that my job was in jeopardy," explained Johnson.
He has now returned to SPD.
"[It has] been great coming back and getting back on the saddle here," said Johnson. "I came back mostly because of the cost of living. Also, I just wanted to do other things in policing, and I'm optimistic about Seattle," Johnson said.