Seattle police chief blasts City Council proposal to cut police force by 50%, calls it “political pandering”

Seattle police Chief Carmen Best is firing back at city council for pushing a proposal to defund the state police by 50%.

Best  said drastic cuts would lead to layoffs for 50 percent of workforce amid coronavirus pandemic, including for black officers

The Seattle Police Dept tweeted:

Today Chief Best sent a message to officers to convey the financial outlook of the City and address any future cuts that may happen within SPD. 1/4

While no decisions have been made yet, we wanted the community to be aware of the situation. Laying off 50% of the department would be catastrophic for public safety in the city of Seattle. 2/4

The Department has made a conscious effort to hire employees, both sworn and civilian, who represent the diversity and values within our community. 3/4

Cuts this deep mean we would lose more than 50% of our (BIPOC) officers. These officers’ life experiences make us a better department and community. 4/4

Fox News reports Seattle police Chief Carmen Best on Friday accused the City Council of recklessness and “political pandering” by advocating to slash her department’s budget by 50 percent, arguing that cutting funds to that extent would be asking citizens “to test out a theory that crime goes away if police go away.”

“These 2020 cut scenarios by the Council are political gestures, however, not realistic or rational solutions. SPD is absolutely committed to transforming the department and has already started the process. But if we are asked to cut 50 percent of our department overnight, we will be forced into decisions that do not serve our shared long-term goal of re-envisioning community safety,” Best wrote in a letter addressed to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Friday.

“I will fiercely advocate that we focus on realistic, rational and responsible solutions – not political gestures or pandering or political posturing,” the chief added in a video address to officers posted to YouTube on Friday.

“I do not believe we should ask the people of Seattle to test out a theory that crime goes away if police go away. That is completely reckless. It’s an abdication of the duty every leader of this city swears to when they take their oath of office.”

Best said the proposed police budget cuts would lead to either the transfer or termination of 50 percent of the department’s total workforce. The agency would also lose more than 50 percent of its own officers who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).