Military and Police

Mayor Calls Police Officers ‘Mall Cops’

In an insipid effort to entice her city’s cops to stop quitting the Seattle Police Department (SPD), Mayor Jenny Durkan has once again demonstrated her enormous ignorance about and contempt for law enforcement officers.

Apparently, the mayor thought she could encourage Seattle police officers to stop leaving the department for other local agencies by disparaging those agencies. I suppose she was aiming for a divide-and-conquer strategy. How’d that work out for you, Madame Mayor?

What did Mayor Durkan say? Well, in grand fashion, when trying to bolster the SPD and sway officers to change their minds about leaving, she referred to Port of Seattle Police Department (PSPD) officers as “mall cops.” Well, SPD cops didn’t like that comment. And when the PSPD cops heard about it, they really didn’t like that comment—weird, eh?

Although it does not need saying, for the record, the Port of Seattle Police Department is a high-caliber law enforcement agency comprising more than 110 sworn officers and 40 civilian employees. They provide police services to King County seaport properties and to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac) and their 42 million passengers per year. As all the state’s commissioned law enforcement officers do, PSPD police officers attend the same state law enforcement academy run by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Apparently, Mayor Durkan picked on the Port cops because several SPD officers have either already transferred to the PSPD or are in the process of doing so. Mayor Durkan defended herself, saying she meant the comment as “an offhand jest.”

Perhaps she should know her audience before she tries to joke with them. Who is advising this woman? After all, she played a significant role in inflicting a fraudulent federal consent decree on the men and women of the SPD. At that time, Mayor Durkan was President Obama’s United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington under Attorney General Eric Holder. She was an eager co-conspirator in the Obama administration’s war on local cops that set out to quasi-federalize, through political indoctrination and the imposition of leftist policies, police departments across America. And she’s surprised officers don’t want to work in a city run by her?

I’ll tell you, the mayor is so lucky to have changed her mind about hiring Police Chief Carmen Best. Had she not done that, the outflow would be even greater.

I’ve been writing about this SPD exodus for years. Hell, I was an early part of it, which was, in part, due to the damage Mayor Durkan and her fed comrades did to the SPD. Mayor Durkan and others have spent a lot of time denying the flow of officers out the door was even happening. Now, they seem to be aware of the crisis that has descended on them, but their efforts are far too little, way too late, and so poorly aimed.

In fact, even during the meeting where she uttered the faux pas, Jason Rantz of KTTH 770 Radio reported Mayor Durkan continued “insisting that the numbers of officers reportedly leaving is overstated, while also trying to convince them the only viable place to police is Seattle.” A leftist elite would think this way, wouldn’t she?

One officer, who was at the meeting, told Rantz, “It backfired…it absolutely did. She called Port of Seattle cops ‘mall cops’ that don’t really do real police work. She was trying to make it sound like the only place you can make a difference is in Seattle. You can’t make a difference anywhere else. She [said that she] ran into a Port of Seattle officer and she knew they left SPD…and referred to them as a joke.”

Um…I don’t know what to say…no, really, I…

There was a time when Seattle was the place to be a cop. When I joined the department in the early 90s, I tested among thousands of candidates. In the Pacific Northwest, the SPD was the big leagues. Often, officers from smaller suburban agencies looked to “move up” to Seattle. I can tell you the flow has been reversed for at least a decade and has increased in recent years.

It’s saying something when, as bad as it is for officers nearly everywhere these days, Seattle government is so bad officers are leaving not only for departments in more conservative areas of the state and country but also to other agencies close to, adjacent, and even overlapping Seattle such as the PSPD and King County Sheriff’s Office.

Again, Mayor Durkan knows nothing about how cops think and feel and, except for political expediency, probably couldn’t care less about it. I’m afraid Mayor Durkan and other leftist government leaders do not understand, may not want to understand, and may not even be capable of understanding law enforcement officers and the work they do.

Contrary to whatever Mayor Durkan may think, American cops are not hundreds of thousands of members of some 18,000 separate families strewn across the country, feuding and disparaging each other to make themselves look better by comparison. Law enforcement officers from large, medium, and small, federal, state, county, tribal, university, aviation, and local agencies in the United States are one family. This also applies to cops from other free countries. Cops are connected by something intangible but very real that most people, other than firefighters and the military, cannot understand.

I’ve seen this brother/sisterhood demonstrated repeatedly as I’ve traveled throughout this nation and Canada. Hopefully, Mayor Durkan will never experience this during her tenure, but whenever there is a line-of-duty officer death, a huge contingent of Royal Canadian Mounted Police always show up en masse to pay their respects. As much as neo-leftists try to destroy this extraordinary relationship between law enforcement officers at all levels, the camaraderie remains awe-inspiring.

Whether active or retired, when cops meet the link between them is instant. It’s a phenomenon that Mayor Durkan will never understand, even if she wanted to. It’s a link forged in myriad kindred experiences. Some uplifting, some humorous, some sad, some life-altering, and some life-ending. A connection formed in knowing, unlike most other professions, your life depends on your fellow officers and theirs on you. It’s a bond as close as blood—sometimes closer.

“Mall cops,” Madame Mayor. Really?

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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