SEATTLE - The Seattle City Council has voted to reject an amendment of their budget proposal that would cut 101 officers from the Seattle Police Department.
The Council voted 5-4 on the measure.
Last week, the Council proposed a draft of its 2022 budget. The proposal sees a litany of cuts, reallocations and funds, but most notably lists cuts the Seattle Police budget totaling up to nearly $11 million. Much of these cuts come from hiring incentives, technology projects funding and community service officers. These cuts come after Seattle's electoral rejection of more progressive candidates in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests and the Defund the Police movement.
"Over the past year, we have already lost 325 officers to retirements, resignations, and cuts. That’s essentially like cutting our entire North, West and Southwest precincts. But the Council President’s amendment would permanently eliminate another 101 officers. This would greatly jeopardize the safety of our communities and have long-term impacts on investigating violent crimes and caring for our most vulnerable," said interim SPD chief Adrian Diaz before the vote.
Both current Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan and mayor-elect Bruce Harrell expressed their displeasure with the new proposed cuts in the budget.
"City’s Council’s previous promise to defund SPD by 50%, their treatment of Chief Best and their previous layoff budget led to an exodus of 325 officers from SPD in the last two years. Multiple plans to address hiring and retention proposed by Chief Diaz and I have been repeatedly rejected by a majority of Council. And just yesterday, another Councilmember proposed blocking my emergency hiring proposal that has already generated a tenfold increase in applications to 911 dispatch positions in Seattle. Continued cuts to SPD and underfunding the 911 center are not a plan for true public safety," Durkan said in a statement last week.
"The City Council needs to listen to voters' desire for immediate investments in public safety and reverse the proposed $10 million cut to the SPD budget. Proposing further cuts deprives the City of resources needed to achieve national best practice staffing levels, decrease response times, and hire and train desperately needed officers – and is in direct conflict with what Seattle voters demanded just last week. It also delays our ability to develop and deploy a new kind of community-based, unarmed officer who will not carry a badge and gun. Overall, we need more, not fewer, public safety resources," Harrell said in a statement.
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