The Seattle City Council voted towards a budget amendment that might remove over 100 unfilled positions with the town’s police department. The amendment was sponsored by exiting Council President Lorena Gonzalez. She based mostly her amendment utilizing Mayor Jenny Durkan’s budget proposal plan, which funds the vacant positions. That plan was one which was submitted to the mayor by the Seattle Police Department. Durkan then submitted the plan to the town council.
Seattle’s mayor just isn’t working for reelection. Apparently, that truth frees her up to act in a considerably sane method on her method out the door. Remember it was Durkan who first referred to the summer time of 2020 because the Summer of Love. She allowed the protesters in her metropolis to create a police-free Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). She sat again and allowed the protesters occupying the CHAZ to take over a police precinct with out penalties. Nonetheless, because the violence grew after which spiraled uncontrolled in Seattle, Durkan appeared on CNN to declare that there was an virtually festival-like ambiance in CHAZ and it was like a Summer of Love. Visions of 1969 had been dancing in her head. Needless to say, that labeling of the summer time of violence, property destruction, and anarchy by the hands of unhinged mobs didn’t age nicely. Thus, bye-bye Jenny.
Durkan and mayor-elect Bruce Harrell weren’t happy with the cut to the police staffing budget. Both of them launched statements earlier than the vote.
“City’s Council’s previous promise to defund SPD by 50%, their treatment of Chief Best and their previous layoff budget led to an exodus of 325 officers from SPD in the last two years. Multiple plans to address hiring and retention proposed by Chief Diaz and I have been repeatedly rejected by a majority of Council. And just yesterday, another Councilmember proposed blocking my emergency hiring proposal that has already generated a tenfold increase in applications to 911 dispatch positions in Seattle. Continued cuts to SPD and underfunding the 911 center are not a plan for true public safety,” Durkan mentioned in a press release final week.
“The City Council needs to listen to voters’ desire for immediate investments in public safety and reverse the proposed $10 million cut to the SPD budget. Proposing further cuts deprives the City of resources needed to achieve national best practice staffing levels, decrease response times, and hire and train desperately needed officers – and is in direct conflict with what Seattle voters demanded just last week. It also delays our ability to develop and deploy a new kind of community-based, unarmed officer who will not carry a badge and gun. Overall, we need more, not fewer, public safety resources,” Harrell mentioned in a press release.
The City Council voted 5-4 towards the proposal. That just isn’t precisely a powerful vote in favor of the police. Despite the truth that Seattle voters rejected some progressive candidates after months of BLM protests and Defund the Police protests, the City Council’s budget consists of $11 million in cuts to Seattle Police funding. The budget cuts embrace hiring incentives, expertise tasks funding, and group service officers. This rejection of the proposal ought to lead to full funding for Durkan’s proposed 1,357 positions. Her proposal (SPD’s budget predictions) allowed for an estimated 94 separations in 2022 and a necessity to rent 125 new officers. City Council President Gonzalez thinks the police department will likely be receiving funds for positions it gained’t have the option to fill throughout the upcoming 12 months. The amendment learn, “If these assumptions hold true, then at no point will SPD need more than 1,256 sworn (full time officers).” In different phrases, as an alternative of filling the 101 positions already vacant, the cash would go to “alternative 911 responses” like its Triage One system.
The City Council, no less than half of its members, seems to be out of step with Seattle residents who’re traumatized after a lot violence and looting skilled after months of protests, which weren’t principally peaceable. Businesses had been destroyed, retailers had been looted, and the town burned. More social staff will not be the first answer to that degree of chaos. You can’t motive with anarchists.
Interim SPD Chief Adrian Diaz launched a press release earlier than the vote, too.
“The Council President’s amendment would permanently eliminate another 101 officers,” Diaz claimed. “This would greatly jeopardize the safety of our communities and have long term impacts on investigating violent crimes and caring for our most vulnerable.”
Let’s hope for the sake of the residents of Seattle that interim Chief Diaz will get the help he wants. Good riddance to Mayor Durkan and City Council President Gonzalez. The Summer of Love was much more like Altamont, not Woodstock.