Despite public safety concerns, elected leaders poised to make drastic cuts to Seattle Police

Seattle police are facing the largest cut of any city department this year from the general fund.

Most of that is due to the impacts of COVID-19 but it is also because of all the protests spanning the last several weeks.

Prior to the protests, Mayor Durkan was expected to propose $16 million in cuts to SPD due to the budget shortfall.

After the protests another $5 million in cuts were tacked on bringing the total proposed decrease to around $21 million.

Still for some that is not enough.

“Police get more funding than community based services in this whole city,” Black Lives Matter Activist Mohawk Kuzma said.

Kuzma says he supports the movement in the autonomous zone known as ‘CHOP.'

Not only does he want to see SPD defunded, he wants the East precinct to turn into a community center.

“Defunding is not the answer,” Marco Monteblanco with Washington Fraternal Order of Police said.

Monteblanco says officers welcome reform and want to be at the table to find solutions.

“There are bad police officers and we don’t want bad police officers wearing that badge,” Monteblanco said.

He said bad officers need to be weeded out while others need more training.

But Monteblaco stated the movement of defundng police is an emotional reaction that will cause negative long term public safety impacts.

“You are obviously going to see crime increase,” he said.

Monteblanco said there will be longer response times to even violent crimes, not to mention an increase in unsolved cases. He added he does support activists who want to invest more money in social services and community programs, but said it should not be at the expense of public safety.

For now those concerns are being drowned out by a movement seeking radical changes.

Seattle City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda who chairs the budget committee is already calling to defund police. She held a hearing on Wednesday that dived into SPD's budget on Wednesday.

In that same meeting Kshama Sawant criticized Durkan’s proposal saying that a 5% cut was not drastic enough.

“That is not defunding the police,” Sawant said.

But when it comes to the mayor, the $21 million in proposed cuts to SPD may be just the beginning.

She’s asked for reports detailing scenarios of 20%, 30% and even 50% decrease to the department.

It could be a signal for major changes ahead for 2021.