June 6, 2020

Mayor Durkan,

I’m writing this letter to inform you of the tenuous situation impacting SPOG members at the Seattle Police Department East Precinct. As I author this letter, several objects have been thrown at officers which have exploded. Several SPOG members are injured. As the situation on the ground devolves into more violence, singularly perpetuated by a group of criminal agitators on the west side of the barricade on Pine Street and 11th Avenue, I’m fearful that further exposure to SPOG members from these criminal violent acts will have drastic repercussions for public safety.

I also want to convey that I recognize and I feel the deep resentment being expressed by members of our Seattle community toward law enforcement regarding the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. SPOG shares their anger, which we affirmed in our open letter to Seattle https://seattlepoliceofficers.org/seattle-police-officers-guild-open-letter-to-seattle/, strongly condemning the involved officers’ actions. We also signed on to another open letter with a coalition of police unions across the nation who are equally outraged. https://mailchi.mp/8a1d24e5ca1f/law-enforcement-statement-on-floyd-protests?fbclid=IwAR2AiYXLjC4Wyr8L5deUEnWwfo1JE1vasMbDq_SrrFKg_sxtYRrJ-xMjZFk.

As peace officers, we swear to an oath of service.  That oath of service is noble and it bonds us with our community. SPOG members take great pride in our bond and that bond is reflected by the professional service that we provide to our community on a daily basis.  We’ve participated in and have accepted reform. We also understand that we must always strive to improve for the interests of the public, whom we serve. We also take great pride in knowing that our membership is a wonderfully diverse group of human beings that reflect Seattle’s values. We love our job and we love Seattle.

In our second open letter to our community, we expressed our full support for peaceful protests https://seattlepoliceofficers.org/spog-response-to-the-ongoing-protests-in-seattle/. But now I am appealing to you for help, because I fear that our daily peaceful protests are unfortunately being stolen at night by a group of criminal agitators who continue to attempt to provoke police. This hostile, violent group continues to throw projectiles and injure police officers. Many SPOG members have sustained significant injuries including broken bones, stitches, bruises and one almost lost an eye. This is unacceptable.

SPOG members follow orders from the department’s chain of command. It is our understanding that we’ve been instructed to protect police facilities in our city so those facilities can be used to continue police services. We have been following these orders for days now. It is also my understanding that the use of an effective less-lethal chemical munition has been removed as a force option by elected city officials. The removal of this tool is concerning because without this tool our ability to safely and effectively protect this police facility has been hindered. Our community must realize that the only other options available to help us solve this predicament are physical confrontations or for us to simply walk away if instructed to do so. If we have to engage in physical confrontations, more of our members and our community members will unfortunately get injured, and no one wants that. If we are instructed to walk away, then what will become of our city police facilities? One can only imagine. We must develop a plan or this will continue without end.

This situation is becoming more untenable by the day and I fear law and order and SPOG members’ safety are in peril. As president of SPOG, I have the responsibility to protect the working conditions of my members and it is also my sworn duty to protect the lives and property of our citizens. You have the responsibility for the overall safety and wellbeing of Seattle’s citizens as you are the executive officer. It is our hope that we can begin to work as a team to solve this public safety crisis because at this point, I’m extremely worried about the safety and morale of the SPOG membership and our community’s safety.

Respectfully,
Officer Mike Solan
President
Seattle Police Officers Guild