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Seattle City Council cuts police department budget nearly 17 percent

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Seattle’s City Council has moved forward with a nearly 17 percent cut to the city’s police department budget following this year’s protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

The city council voted Monday to adopt a 2021 spending plan that calls for $340 million for the Seattle Police Department, down from the $409 million budgeted for the agency this year, NBC News reported.

Under the budget, vacancies within the department will remain unfilled, officers will see a reduction in overtime and the police department will no longer control 911 dispatching or parking enforcement.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) lauded the proposals, saying in a statement, “I believe we are laying the groundwork to make systemic and lasting changes to policing.”

“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,” she added.

Durkan also mentioned that she supports the city in being selective when it comes to “what services we need from the Seattle Police Department and how we can scale up alternatives to policing.”

City officials did not immediately respond to The Hill’s requests for comment.

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who head’s the budget for city council, said she took into account the Black Lives Matter movement when creating the budget changes.

“Over the course of the last 2 budget cycles as Chair, I have set out to do 3 things in response to the movement for Black Lives: 1) downsize the SPD’s budget, 2) invest in community alternatives that produce healthy outcomes for our BIPOC communities, and 3) not grow the size of the force in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders, and thanks to the amendment on Monday, the budget no longer reflects new net hires. We have much more work to do, and we must get to work on those next steps now,” she said in a news release.

The Seattle Police Officers Guild, a union supporting the Seattle Police Department, warned that under the cutbacks citizens could see delays in police response to emergency situations, according to NBC News.

“You’re going to see longer, if not hardly any follow-up investigations relative to secondary piece of a 911 call for help,” Guild President Mike Sloan told the network.

The proposed 2021 budget is set to be signed by Durkan next week.

Tags Black Lives Matter Defunding police Jenny Durkan Seattle Police Department

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