“I welcome the city council to take a more prudent and well-founded approach to the 2021 Seattle Police Department budget than what happened this summer, which led to the resignation of former SPD leader Carmen Best,” Durkan said in a written statement from his office.
After the ministry criticized the city’s handling of the unrest and the proposal to reimburse 50% of the SPD, Best retired in August.
“We are losing an unprecedented number of officers, which makes it even more critical to recruit and maintain officers committed to reforms and community policing that reflect the diversity and values of our city,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement to KIRO.
The new budget leaves room for policing changes
The mayor said the latest budget was the result of a consultation with former police chief and interim chief Adrian Diaz on the city’s law enforcement needs.
“I have proposed thoughtful cuts to the Seattle Police Department that coincide with increased and continued investment in alternatives to sworn officers’ responses, including expanding Health One and continuing to invest in mental health professionals and community service officers, ”the mayor explained in a statement.
“I outlined my vision and plan for making budget decisions, based on informed surveys, what services we need from the Seattle Police Department and how we can expand alternatives to policing,” Durkan said. “As the city council now recognizes, this required a thoughtful and considered approach, and this cannot simply be done by reducing it to any given number or percentage.”
More than half of the cuts in the police budget have been made by leaving some departments out of the department and putting them under civilian control, including victim advocates, parking enforcement, and the 911 system. Money will be set aside to recruit new officers to replace retirees and those leaving the department, but the total number of staff will not increase.
In addition to changing police funding, the city is pledging $ 100 million for projects that benefit colorful communities.
“I think we are laying the groundwork for a systematic and lasting change in policing,” Durkan said. “We have rightly put forward a plan to ensure that the SPD has enough officers throughout the city to meet the 911 response and investigative needs, while recognizing and addressing the proportional impact of policing on color communities, particularly black communities.”