Mayor Durkan, Chief Best decry council proposal to begin SPD layoffs in November

Aug 4, 2020, 3:56 PM | Updated: 4:22 pm

Mayor Jenny Durkan, anarchist jurisdiction lawsuit...

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. (Seattle Channel)

(Seattle Channel)

Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best delivered a press conference Tuesday, expressing their opposition to a council proposal to lay off 100 SPD employees, as part of a larger discussion over cuts to the department’s funding.

Seattle council divided over proposals to defund police department

Durkan claimed that it would “impossible” to lay off those employees on the council’s proposed timeline, a sentiment echoed by Chief Best.

“That is reckless — council has directed me to lay off 100 officers basically overnight,” Best said.

The council’s plan would call for reductions to a variety of SPD roles beginning on Nov. 1, 2020, including mounted patrol officers, school resource officers, the public affairs unit, Harbor Patrol, SWAT, and the entire Navigation Team. Councilmembers estimate that roughly 30% of those cuts will come from officers voluntarily transferring to other departments. One recent report from KTTH’s Jason Rantz found that nearly 70 SPD officers have applied to work for either the King County Sheriff’s Office or the Everett Police Department over the last several weeks.

Durkan and Best also spoke out against a council proposal to lay officers off out of order, rather than by seniority, prioritizing officers with prominent histories of complaints.

“Regardless of how anyone supposes a layoff process would work, I know we cannot do that level of layoffs out of order,” Best said. “It would be illegal and inappropriate to do so.”

In early July, seven of nine councilmembers voiced their support for defunding SPD by as much as 50%, a number all but one — Kshama Sawant — have since backed off on, at least in the short term. On Monday, some noted that cutting the department’s budget in half by the end of 2020 was likely not feasible, and are now directing their focus toward more significant cuts in 2021. Mayor Durkan acknowledged that in Tuesday’s press conference, while asking the council to work with her and Chief Best in the days ahead.

Opinion: No more reform — it’s time to rebuild Seattle policing

“I would urge council again: Take some time to get this right. I think it’s a step forward for you to admit that you were wrong,” she said. “But next year, let’s work together to see how we can reimagine policing, and let’s tap into Chief Best. She is best positioned to help us transform this department.”

Seattle councilmembers are scheduled to meet Wednesday to vote a series of amendments to SPD’s budget out of committee, with a full council vote scheduled for Monday, August 10.

Local News

Woman stabbed Central District...

Julia Dallas, KIRO 7 News

Woman escapes through second-story window after man allegedly stabs her in Central District

A woman escaped through a second-story window after a man allegedly stabbed her on Saturday in the Central District.

1 day ago

Paraglider Poo Poo Point...

Michael Simeona

Paraglider rescued from tree near Issaquah’s Poo Poo Point

A paraglider was rescued Friday after crashing into a tree near Issaquah's Poo Poo Point. He suffered non-life threatening injuries.

1 day ago

Tacoma rents increase...

Lauren Donovan, KIRO 7 News

Tenants protest outside city hall as Tacoma rents increase four times faster than Seattle

Experts warn that the affordability gap is narrowing, with Tacoma rents increasing four times faster than those in Seattle.

1 day ago

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Redmond mayor axes 600% raises for council members

The mayor of Redmond made a last-minute decision to nullify city council members from a near 600% pay increase.

2 days ago

sea-tac wait times...

Kevin Ko, KIRO 7 News

‘Worse than Disney World’: Sea-Tac wait times go over an hour amid busy Memorial Day travel weekend

Wait times for security checkpoints at Sea-Tac reached 65 to 70 minutes on Friday, as tens of thousands of travelers descended on the airport.

2 days ago

Seattle leaf blowers...

L.B. Gilbert

City of Seattle to phase out gas leaf blowers by 2027

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed a resolution directing all city departments to transition to electric leaf blowers no later than 2027.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Mayor Durkan, Chief Best decry council proposal to begin SPD layoffs in November