Seattle City Council Approves Spending Cuts For Police

Hundreds of people attend a pro-police rally in Seattle

Hundreds of people attend a pro-police rally in Seattle

Instead, the council approved proposals to reduce the force's 1,400 officers by up to 100 positions through layoffs and attrition, the Times reported, and to trim about $3 million from the force's $409 million budget for 2020.

Best, the Seattle police chief, emailed her resignation notice late Monday, hours after the city council made good on its promise to approve sweeping proposals that would cut about 100 officers and slash the department's budget. She said, "I look forward to seeing how this department moves forward through the process of re-envisioning public safety".

In an email to police, Mayor Jenny Durkan said she accepted Best's decision "with a very heavy heart". I want to thank Mayor Durkan for her continuous support through good times and tough times. "I relish the work that will be done by all of you".

Best declined their "offer", tendering her resignation and suggesting that the council targeted her specifically because she stood up for her department and against the budget cuts. "I regret deeply that she concluded that the best way to serve the city and help the department was a change in leadership, in the hope that would change the dynamics to move forward with the City Council". A news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. local time Tuesday, local TV station KIRO-7 reported.

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Best became interim chief in 2018 and then was hired full-time, in part due to pressure from Black leaders in the city. Now the people of Seattle - especially those living in neighborhoods already suffering from high crime rates - are doomed to greater suffering at the hands of criminals as police presence will necessarily diminish as a result of this vote.

The measure will cut around 4 million dollars from the department's budget but the cut wasn't enough for council member Kshama Sawant who voted against the budget package. "These last months, I knew Chief Best was the person to lead our city through this challenging time, to reimagine policing and community safety".

The chief's salary was also cut and the council removed officers from a unit created to remove homeless camps.

"It's important to show community members that we hear them, that we're working towards the same goal", Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda said last week.

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She also accused the council of failing to meet the demands of the Justice for George Floyd movement, as they promised earlier to cut police funding by 50 percent.

Durkan has proposed cutting about $20 million from the police budget this year largely because of reduced revenues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, a coalition of activists and most of the council hailed the moves as a first step toward altering the nature of policing in Washington's largest city, pointing toward a resolution promising next year to shift a number of duties - including parking enforcement, 911 dispatch and emergency management - away from the police.

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