Chief Best says discussion, dialogue necessary to bring change to SPD
Despite pushback from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Police Chief Carmen Best, police unions and thousands of pro-police community members and residents, Seattle City Councilmembers are expected to approve initial cuts to the Seattle Police Department budget in a final vote on its 2020 re-balancing package Monday afternoon.
Councilmembers approved amendments in the plan in the Budget Committee last week. The committee is expected to vote on moving the proposal forward during its 10 a.m. session Monday, before a full, final council vote during the 2 p.m. session.
Ahead of the vote, Chief Best joined the Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio.
“I think it’s a very storied and complex set of circumstances to bring us where we are here today, at this very moment,” Best said. “While it is rather tragic in many ways, we have to believe that at some point we’re going to turn this around and have a better outcome.”
“The city council vote today, I think it would be premature for me to comment too much on it until it’s completed, and I’m holding out hope it won’t be as bad as I think it might be,” she added. “But they’re going to have their deliberations, and they’re going to make their vote, and then we’re going to have to react and respond to whatever that is.”
Chief Best repeated her call to be included in the conversations, and made it clear that she and the officers of the SPD are open to change.
“Some of the issues that have been brought up with this whole defund movement have been valid concerns about how we can respond to some of these things better,” she said. “Believe it or not, I’m not opposed, and I don’t think any of our officers are opposed, at looking at potential ways that we can have a more effective and efficient response. But just cutting off 100 or more officers without any game plan, without any training, is not the way to do it.”
Best says she has been told there’s a plan, but she hasn’t seen it.
“At 3:00 in the morning when somebody is out in the middle of the street in mental crisis, who’s coming? Who have they hired, who’s been trained, who is going to be the effective response to that situation?” she asked. “I have not heard that answer yet, and that is why I have a deep level of concern. If we want to do something different, we need to have the discussion and the dialogue that takes us there.”
Listen to the full interview with Chief Best below:
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.