By Danielle Wallace, Fox News
The worsening staffing crisis at the Seattle Police Department has forced the defunded force to no longer take on new adult sexual assault cases this year, according to a newly revealed internal memo.
The Seattle Times first reported Tuesday about the four-page memo, which the sergeant in charge of the Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Unit sent internally to interim police Chief Adrian Diaz on April 11.
In the memo, titled “Staffing Issues,” Sgt. Pamela St. John said she currently is not able to assign new adult sexual assault cases “because of other statutory requirements.”
Just three years ago, the unit had 12 skilled detectives, but at the time the memo was written, there are only four remaining.
“This depletion has left the remaining detectives with unsustainable caseloads,” St. John wrote. “That burden is even more impactful in our unit given the content and nature of the investigations which directly leads to secondary issues such as burnout and compassion fatigue.”
St. John noted how the unit has seen an increase in cases involving children and teenagers, and in March of this year, received 107 referrals from Child Protective Services, which is “on par with where the referrals were before the pandemic” as children return to school and become more publicly visible.
“The community expects our agency to respond to reports of sexual violence and at current staffing levels that objective is unattainable,” St. John wrote. “The necessity for on-call detective response to Sexual Assault cases cannot be understated, but with current staffing levels the burden that falls upon our detectives is too high. A skilled detective is required to proactively investigate a sexual assault case.”
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