Seattle doubles down on plans to defund police in 2023 budget

"At the end of the day, this is a money grab… I'm telling you right now, this is defunding 2.0 and it's not acceptable for public safety."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Last week, the Seattle City Council passed a $7.4 billion budget for the year that permanently defunds 80 police positions in the Seattle Police Department, which is already understaffed by hundreds of officers, is well below minimum safety requirements, and continues to see increases to 911 response times

Seattle Police Office Guild President Mike Solan told Talk Radio 570 KVI, “At the end of the day, this is a money grab… I'm telling you right now, this is defunding 2.0 and it's not acceptable for public safety.”

SPD has less than 900 police officers. Over 140 left the force this year alone. 300 more officers could leave the force in the summer of 2023, which would add to the hundreds of officers that have left the force since the council began defunding the department in 2020. 

Solan said, "We're watching this department dwindle away. (This) doesn't really lend a welcoming hand to those seeking employment here, or considering (employment here) when budget moves are made to take away positions."

Instead of committing funds for officers, the department needs to offset the losses, the Seattle City Council chose instead to cut the funding for the position permanently.

Mayor Bruce Harrell in his proposed budget intended for the cuts to be temporary to offset a shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars in the city’s 2023 budget, but councilmembers Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez, Andrew Lewis, Tammy Morales, Teresa Mosqueda, and Dan Strauss voted to make the cuts permanent. 

Four of those councilmembers Herbold, Lewis, Mosqueda, and Strauss, marched with Antifa and BLM against their own police department during the riots that rocked the department in the summer of 2020.

“The political environment doesn't lend the welcoming hand... I think that the odds of that being re-implemented or brought back into budget in the future are probably pretty slim,” Solan said.

Harrell originally set a staffing goal of 1,500-1,600 officers which was downgraded to only 1,400.  

Solan continued, “We are struggling…the department is struggling… to get qualified candidates to become police officers in the city, as obviously, their staffing projections are way, way below what they initially predicted or hoped for.”

“So this is a money grab… it's concerning to me on two fronts,” Solan added. “Number one, that the money is gone, but number two, we can't find qualified people who want to be cops here and that's not a good look for the future of Seattle's public safety.”

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