Seattle City Council OKs budget with 17% police cut

The city expects to reduce overtime and leave some positions unfilled


By David Matthews
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The Seattle city council slashed its police budget by nearly 17% Monday, months after protests over police brutality and racial injustice gripped the community.

The new budget calls for $340 million for policing in the city in 2021, down from $409 million this year.

Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, left, looks on as Mayor Jenny Durkan addresses a news conference about changes being made at the police department, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Seattle.
Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, left, looks on as Mayor Jenny Durkan addresses a news conference about changes being made at the police department, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Mayor Jenny Durkan called the cuts “thoughtful and deliberate” and said the city will assess “what services we need from the Seattle Police Department and how we can scale up alternatives to policing.”

“I believe we are laying the groundwork to make systemic and lasting changes to policing,” Durkan said in a statement. “We have rightly put forward a plan that seeks to ensure SPD has enough officers to meet 911 response and investigative needs throughout the city, while acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impacts policing has had on communities of color, particularly Black communities.”

Council member Teresa Mosqueda said reducing the police budget was the top priority at its most-recent sessions and was glad the money will be moved to social programs and “invest in community alternatives that produce healthy outcomes for” groups that are disproportionately affected by police overreach.

“We have much more work to do, and we must get to work on those next steps now,” Mosqueda said.

To pay for the budget cuts, the city will reduce overtime hours, leave unfilled positions unhired and move parking enforcement and 911 dispatching to non-police city agencies.

(c)2020 New York Daily News

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