As homicides reach a record high in Seattle, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is signing a new city budget that will reduce the police budget by 18%.
Last week the city council voted to cut funds for police training, overtime and to eliminate dozens of vacant positions within the Seattle Police Department.
As the violence increases and the proposed cuts are happening, local activists aren’t happy as they wanted a 50% reduction.
According to Fox News, the council also decided to transfer parking enforcement officers, mental-health workers and 911 dispatchers out of the police department.
“I believe we are laying the groundwork to make systemic and lasting changes to policing,” Durkan said in a statement last week. “We have rightly put forward a plan that seeks to ensure SPD has enough officers to meet 911 response and investigative needs throughout the city, while acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impacts policing has had on communities of color, particularly Black communities.
“I applaud the City Council for taking a more deliberate and measured approach to the 2021 Seattle Police Department budget than occurred this summer which led to the resignation of former SPD Chief Carmen Best,” Durkan said in a written statement issued by her office.”
The budget also directs the city to invest up to $100 million for projects in communities of color.
On Monday, the city had it’s 55th murder of the year.
In 2019, the city had 28 homicides.
Police Chief Carmen Best stepped down in August after disagreements with city leaders over the potential slashing of police budgets and proposals to cut around 100 officers.
“I believe 100% that they were putting me in a position destined to fail. Cutting a police department that already had low staffing numbers, that was already struggling to keep up with the demand,” Best told NPR after she stepped down. “How are we going to provide for adequate public safety in that environment?”
Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officer Guild, said crime would only get worse if the city continues to hamper the police force.
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