Seattle top cop quits after city defunds police
Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best yesterday announced her retirement shortly after the council voted to chop $11 million annually from the city’s budget for policing.
“I want to thank Mayor (Jenny) Durkan for her continuous support through good times and tough times,” Best said in a letter to members of the Seattle Police Department obtained by CNN. “I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times.”
Best was often trapped between white politicians in Seattle who want to be permissive with crime as a virtue signal and police and citizens who wanted a safe city. When protesters occupied parts of downtown Seattle, there were times when Best admitted that police could no longer answer calls in parts of the occupied zone.
The major impact of the cuts will remove 32 patrol officers. The proposal also cuts Chief Best’s pay, caps command pay at $150,000 and eliminates 100 officers overall, along with reductions in SWAT and school resource officers.
“What we can do is allow our police to focus on what they are trained to do and fund service providers addressing the more complex issues of housing, substance use disorder, youth violence prevention, affordable healthcare, and more,” Seattle City Council President M. Lorena González said in a statement.
She thinks that the city’s 911 calls—56 percent of which involve crimes– can be better answered with social workers dispatched to the call.
“In June, Durkan asked the council to cut about $20 million from the budget of the police department to deal with a city shortfall of $378 million stemming from lower tax revenue and increased demand on services during the Covid-19 pandemic,” says CNN. “The proposed cut to the police department was the largest reduction in the mayor’s budget proposal.”
The only no vote in the 7-1 decision was by radical progressive council member Kshama Sawant.
“Councilmember Kshama Sawant was the lone ‘no’ vote, while Debora Juarez — who was not present at Monday’s meetings — abstained. Sawant’s vote against the package was based around her belief that it didn’t go far enough in its reductions to SPD’s funding,” said local MyNorthwest.com.
The Seattle Times says that the city spends more on police than on parks and social services and its coverage features extreme left-wing activists who claim the budget cuts will make the city safer.
“Today, City Council inched us towards a safer future — a future where instead of using our limited taxpayer resources … salaries for police officers, we allocate those funds towards data-driven, community-based solutions that we know prevent harm — not merely respond to it,” Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now said in a statement.
Obviously Chief Best disagrees.
“Something to keep in mind as Chief Carmen Best resigns from the SPD: a recent poll showed her as the most trusted person to handle police reform in Seattle. She polled better than the Mayor & Council,” said local radio host Jason Rantz.
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