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‘Devastated’ Seattle police officer slams council’s defund vote

(Seattle Police Department)

The Seattle City Council just passed an historic cut to the police department’s budget, which will likely lead to a reduction of up to 100 officers. It would also end the Navigation Team, responsible for clearing homeless encampments. Shortly after the cuts came down, Chief Carmen Best announced her resignation. Seattle Police officer and former city council candidate Sergio Garcia joined the Jason Rantz Show to discuss.

What’s his reaction to Chief Best’s decision to step down?

“I’m devastated. I chose to move out here to Seattle for a couple of reasons and one of them was for the agency, for the achievement that she made, her administration had made, for accountability, transparency, and just the oversight,” he said.

“Being a person of color myself and coming to a place that’s not as diverse as where I’m originally from, it was a great feeling working for somebody who did truly believe in equality, that truly believed in the police department and building a better department for the community,” he added. “It’s a setback.”

What do Seattle City Council cuts to the SPD mean for policing and safety?

“They’re huge. … I think the most concerning part is making cuts without really having a plan to replace what we’re losing. Where is that money going to go? In a city where there is a lack of accountability for government and elected officials, here we are giving them more money, to do what?” he said.

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Garcia says the Navigation Team played an important role, which will be difficult to fill as a result of the cuts.

“I’ve always thought that there’s more that the city could do to help homeless people off the street and provide more services. But they played an very important role at some of the more dangerous encampments that have popped up in the city. They would get the training and they had the correct relationships with the department and other nonprofits to get assistance and address these issues when they got out of hand,” he said.

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“So what are we replacing that with? What’s the plan, what do we do? That’s the most concerning part. This is just a reaction with no plan.”

Garcia says the plan lacks an understanding of the value the police have here locally.

“The attention has been drawn to policing nationally, and rightfully so. I think that there are things that are happening in our own nation that are concerning. But I think that we need to learn locally of what’s going here and what our police department has achieved,” he said.

“The City Council has no idea how the police department works,” Garcia added.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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