SPD Chief Diaz: Additional police budget cuts impacting ‘proactive public safety’
The Seattle City Council is considering yet another budget cut to the Seattle Police Department. What would this mean in terms of public safety? SPD Chief Adrian Diaz joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss.
“We have had some cuts last year at the end of their session, another $2 million in some of the other additional cuts that they’ve had. This $5.4 million is just one of those things that we’re trying to just kind of stabilize our efforts and our hiring efforts. We have some other crude costs that come up. We’ve had a lot of people leave our department, so we’ve had to pay additional money out in separation pay,” he said.
“And so this is some of that money that hit, that can cover those costs. We’ve really tried to focus our efforts because we’ve lost a lot of sworn officers, hiring additional civilian positions that can do a variety of different works from CSOs — our community service officers — our crime prevention coordinators, and another additional cut wouldn’t allow us to be able to hire for some of those civilian positions that are so desperately needed.”
As Jason noted, the overtime budget has also been cut, which is especially a problem with a dwindling force that lost approximately 197 officers last year, with overtime sometimes having to fill the gaps. What is the plan to offset this among additional cuts?
“We’ve actually had to make some adjustments. When I moved 100 officers back into patrol, we created a community response group that has been able to handle 911 calls, but also be able to work and deal with the demonstrations, and that has helped us out immensely having a group or a squad or units that are able to be able to respond to that direct action,” he said.
Diaz says public safety could further be impacted amid rising homicides, shots fired calls, and officers leaving the department.
“That’s actually pared down some of our overtime. But as we see more people leave the department, you do have to figure out ways that you can have personnel, you know, shore that up. And that means that if we have this level of direct action occurring — luckily, not on a nightly basis — but it’s been enough where it impacts our ability to go out to do proactive public safety,” he said.
“We’ve got to figure out how do we get our resources back into just doing police work so we can get some of these guns off the street.”
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