‘Height of Recklessness’: Seattle Police Chief Speaks Out Against Defunding Law Enforcement

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best does not believe her city has really considered what it would mean to defund law enforcement.

During an interview on KTTH’s “Jason Rantz Show,” Best said a proposal to slash the current budget by half would “decimate public safety for the city of Seattle” and would result in the firings of “hundreds” of police officers.

Breitbart News reports Best said the proposal was not a plan: “I think you — the word ‘plan’ is rather loose here. They haven’t got a plan.”

Instead, she said city officials were caving to pressure without any second thought.

“All they’ve shown us is that they want to reduce the budget by 50%. I haven’t seen any real planning in that,” she said.”

“And the real tragedy of doing that is that we will lose 1,100 employees. That’s 50% of our total workforce. Because most of our budget is made up of our personnel costs, and it would be a tragedy,” the police chief continued.

She said the proposed “plan” (or lack thereof) is “the height of recklessness.”

“I think that it’s the height of recklessness for them to decimate public safety for the city of Seattle without being thoughtful and encouraging public engagement on this issue,” she concluded.

As Fox News reports, Seattle Police Officers Guild President Michael Solan similarly argued this proposal is “absolutely a travesty.”

During an appearance on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Solan argued slashing the budget and number of available officers would absolutely result in increased crime.

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“If our reasonable community across this city, our state, and more importantly, our nation don’t wake up … crime will rise significantly, and over half, if not more, of the police jobs in our city will be eviscerated,” he said. “This is coming into your neighborhood if we don’t wake up and stop this socialist threat immediately.”

Here’s more, from Fox News:

The Seattle Times reported Thursday that three council members have thrown their support behind Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now. The paper described Decriminalize Seattle as a coalition inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests that seek police defunding and major reforms aimed at ending systemic racism.

The Times said seven out of the council’s nine members support defunding police. The department’s budget is currently $409 million.

That means there’s enough support on the council to defund police without Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan’s approval.