A Republican member of the King County Council in Washington state is attempting to counter Seattle’s “defund the police” efforts with a “Refund Police” initiative of his own, arguing that taxpayers in the suburbs have been on the hook for the city’s failed policies.
“For a long time, the suburban taxpayers have been on the hook for Seattle’s failed policies,” King County Council Vice Chairman Reagan Dunn told Fox News. “If the city of Seattle, being a large one, won’t take its responsibility to protect the public seriously, we have to step in. My ‘Refund the Police’ initiative will build back a huge number of law enforcement personnel, as well as some specialized units.”
Dunn’s plan would allocate $14.4 million of the county’s supplemental budget to address a “funding deficit” in the King County Sheriff’s office, which would allow it to maintain its law enforcement abilities in unincorporated areas. In addition, the plan would include $830,000 to fund four new deputies and a staff member on a hate and bias unit. Dunn, one of two Republicans on the council, anticipates a difficult negotiation. Still, he expressed optimism that the inclusion of the hate and bias unit would force the hand of his Democratic colleagues.
“These are tough issues for folks to vote against now, and I’m putting them in a tough spot very deliberately. Are you going to vote against a hate crimes [unit], for example? That’s a tough vote for a Democrat to take,” Dunn told Fox News. “So they’re going to have to come around to good criminal justice policy, which is what works. It’s all been studied research. We know law enforcement on the ground doing community policing is what works. And we’ve got to get back to basics.”
Dunn won a fifth term on the council earlier this month, riding a wave of backlash against the “defund the police” movement, where voters in major cities like Seattle, Minneapolis, and New York struck down candidates and initiatives that would have stripped funding for police departments and elected pro-police candidates, including Republican Seattle City Attorney-Elect Ann Davison.
The city of Seattle, however, proposed to slash its police budget by almost $11 million this year, according to Fox News. The move, which comes after more than 200 Seattle police officers resigned in 2020, and after news reports broke over the weekend about a man who died of cardiac arrest while waiting for police to arrive at his apartment because of a staff shortage, drew sharp criticism from Mayor Jenny Durkan.
“The winning ideas, the right policies, the voters get it,” Dunn said. “And for the first time in nearly a century, the city of Seattle elected a Republican to be its city attorney. It sends a message, particularly to the ‘Defund the Police’ crowd, the woke left that, ‘Hey, your policies are failing. They’re not getting votes.’ In fact, any candidate who touches that is going to lose the next election. And so these are very tough votes now for my colleagues today because they know they’re going to be challenged by moderates who have had enough of the way that Seattle is trying to run our community.”
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