Following calls to defund the police and nightly riots, which see an endless lineup of Antifa militants arrested and then released, Seattle’s police department is currently suffering from a staffing crisis.
King 5 News reports that the police chief, a deputy mayor and a downtown business organization are all pleading with the Seattle City Council to stop further reductions of the already gutted police department.
"It's municipal malpractice, the way that our city council has addressed public safety over these last six months," says Downtown Seattle Association President Jon Scholes, per King 5.
A recent presentation by Acting Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz suggested that 911 response times are getting longer, even in cases of violent crime. The city as a whole has seen a reduction of nearly 200 officers in just one year.
“My older brother Michael spent most of his life in prison. I remember watching him being thrown down by the police and arrested on multiple occasions. This early introduction to police caused me to grow up with a negative image of who they are and how they treat people,” said Deputy Mayor Tiffany Washington to the city council. “Black people were enslaved for over 400 years and cannot be expected to get better in a year or two as there is a lot of repair needed.”
“Reducing the police budget to invest in communities this year, will not result in immediate change. When I call the police for help as a Black woman, I have an expectation that someone will come to assist me in a reasonable amount of time,” she added. “This is not our current reality in the city right now.”
The council is currently reviewing the police budget and could potentially cut $5.4 million which was originally designated for 2020 police overtime hours, with the option to cut the same amount in 2021.
"Now we want to have a conversation about whether and how to adjust the budget in 2021," said Councilmember and Public Safety Chair Lisa Herbold, who does not believe that officers are leaving the force due to budget cuts, despite the fact that they clearly are. "I think that narrative suggests that the officers that have left the department, that the reduction of the number of officers is attributable to the budget cuts. The budget cuts did not result in police officers leaving the force."
Herbold pointed to the city fire department, which has also seen declining numbers. The councilwoman attributes the decline in both forces to the challenge of the pandemic response and the racial anger that swelled over the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
Despite Herbold's best efforts to defend the budget cuts, Scholes from the Downtown Seattle Association pointed out that many officers resigned before their positions were eliminated, amid the ongoing Democrat-driven effort to both defund and abolish the police nationwide.
Following the riots that ignited over the death of George Floyd in 2020, Seattle council members suggested the police department could be cut by as much as 50 per cent. However, many of those council members, including Herbold, have backed off from the proposal due to the rise in violent crime, as predicted by critics of the effort to defund and abolish the police.