'Darker Times Are Ahead' in Seattle After Police Chief Resigns

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Posted: Aug 11, 2020 7:30 AM
'Darker Times Are Ahead' in Seattle After Police Chief Resigns

Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Carmen Best will step down as Seattle’s Police Chief—a decision that comes after the City Council voted to cut the police department’s budget by nearly $4 million.

"I want to thank Mayor Durkan for her continuous support through good times and tough times," Best said in a letter sent to members of the department Monday night. "I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times. You truly are the best police department in the country, and please trust me when I say, the vast majority of people in Seattle support you and appreciate you."

The funding reduction did not end up being as drastic as the 50 percent some wanted, though deeper cuts may come in the future.

By a vote of 7-1, the council approved a revised 2020 budget that reduced the department’s budget by $3.5 million for the remainder of the year and invested $17 million in community public safety programs.

The cut to the department’s $409-million annual budget fell way short of the 50% demanded by protesters following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in police custody on May 25. […]

The rebalanced budget reduces executive pay and eliminates 100 police officers. It also reduces the budget for travel, public affairs, training and recruitment and makes cuts to specialized units like SWAT, harbor patrol, homeland security, mounted patrol and officers in schools.

The budget also removes officers from the city’s homeless outreach team. More than a dozen business and neighborhood groups signed a letter from the Downtown Seattle Association opposing that move. (Reuters)

Best's retirement is effective Sept. 2. She will hold a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m.