Seattle Police Chief Slams 'Politically Motivated' Police Budget Cuts
Carmen Best calls proposal 'incredibly reckless'
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best blasted the city's proposals to slash the police budget by 50 percent, saying it would be a “truly tragic decision.”
Best's comments come after she wrote in a letter to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan calling the cuts by the city council “political gestures” and “not realistic or rational solutions.”
Best accused the City Council, in a video posted to YouTube on Friday, of recklessness and “political pandering” by backing calls to slash her department’s budget by 50 percent.
Best argued that cutting funds to that extent would be asking citizens “to test out a theory that crime goes away if police go away.”
Best told “Fox & Friends” that Seattle will be “much less safe if they take 50 percent of the cops off the streets."
She also called the proposal “incredibly reckless" and that the "decisions need to be thought out.”
“They don’t have a plan that I’ve heard to do anything to maintain public safety,” Best also said.
Last week, Seattle City Council officials backed proposals to defund the Seattle Police Department just a week after the city's CHOP zone was dismantled.
The proposal includes the removal of 911 dispatchers from police control and to “imagine life beyond policing.”
Seven of nine council members are on board with the idea of defunding law enforcement.
“If they decide to defund the police department by 50 percent, I think that will have negative consequences, particularly if there's no plan,” Best said on Monday.
She stressed that she is “committed” to the Seattle Police Department and the city.
“I've been here almost 30 years,” Best said, adding that she has “a long history of working with the people in this city and certainly the officers who are under my care.”
“So I'm hoping that the council will reconsider this very rash and reckless decision and allow us to do the work that we're supposed to do for the city of Seattle,” she continued.
Although Durkan has not yet backed slashing the city’s police budget by 50 percent, she did propose a $20 million cut to the police budget last month.
Last week, President Donald Trump said Seattle's leadership cleaned up their protest area that occupied about six city blocks, known as CHOP, because of threats that federal forces were about to act.
“We were going in, we were going in very soon,” Trump said.
“We let them know that, and all of a sudden, they didn’t want it," the president continued.
"So they went in before we got there, but we were going in very shortly, very soon, and we would’ve taken the CHOP ... back very easily, but they went in, and, frankly, the people just gave up."