The Seattle City Council voted Monday to cut the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) budget as the force hemorrhages officers at a historic rate.
The city council voted 8-1 to reduce the SPD budget by 18%, which falls far below the 50% that activists were demanding, according to local KOMO News.
Such a move will leave many vacant jobs on the force unfilled and require 911 dispatchers and parking enforcement to be moved outside of SPD jurisdiction. As of Oct. 31, 134 officers have left the force, according to the mayor’s office. In October alone, 23 have thrown in the towel.
Democratic Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan expressed her support for the budget, saying in a statement, “I applaud the City Council for taking a more deliberate and measured approach to the 2021 Seattle Police Department budget than occurred this summer which led to the resignation of former SPD Chief Carmen Best.”
Nikkita Oliver, a radical Black Lives Matter activist who played a leadership role in city’s short-lived Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (or CHAZ) last summer, said during a virtual meeting after the vote:
These are all really exciting things that have been won after many, many years of mobilizing and partnering together. They’ve been won because of the uprising and defense of Black lives, and the many people who put their feet to the ground, who have made calls, sent emails, and organized their communities.
Mike Solan, the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG), was less enthusiastic about the decision, calling the city council “naïve” and warning that response to 911 calls will take longer.
“You’re going to see crime rise, we’re already seeing increased homicide rates that we haven’t seen in decades,” Solan said.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has officially resigned after the Democrat-controlled Seattle City Council voted on Monday to slash millions of dollars from the Seattle Police Department’s budget.
News broke within the around 9 p.m. PST that Best was expected to resign tomorrow, and about 30 minutes later she had reportedly submitted her letter of resignation to the Seattle Police Department.
“Chief Best has been an outspoken critic of the council’s plans to cut SPD’s budget, citing concerns over public safety in a scenario where the department is forced to lose personnel,” KIRO radio reported. “She has served as SPD’s police chief since 2018, after moving through the ranks as an officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and deputy chief.”
“Chief Best has been vocal in her opposition to those cuts, and told me in an interview today that she felt targeted by a “punitive” proposal to cut her pay by 40%: ‘I do feel like it’s … animus toward me specifically,” Kruse continued.”Chief Carmen Best is the first black woman to lead the @SeattlePD. She is well respected by the rank and file, as well as community leaders. Seattle’s political and activist class will have to own this.”
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