Seattle lawmakers approve cut to police department spending

The Seattle City Council approved a budget for 2022 that the council says will reduce funding allocated to the police department without cutting the department's functionality. 

The council approved the $355.5 million budget on Monday in an 8 to 1 vote, according to The Associated Press

The plan is notably smaller than the 2020 budget of $401.8 million and continues a trend of decreases since a $363 million budget was announced in 2021. It does, however, leave room for new hires, as it provides funding for 1,357 officers. The Seattle Police Department currently has 1,120 officers, the AP noted.

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Seattle's outgoing Mayor Jenny DurkanJenny DurkanEviction ban extended in Seattle Seattle lawmakers approve cut to police department spending Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Seattle leaders in fatal protest zone shooting MORE (D) was critical of the plan and the message it sends. 

“Now is not the time to both be cutting officers also but every time council acts, they’re telling officers that are here today if they’re valued or not,” Durkan said, per the AP. “Mayor-elect Harrell ran on adding more officers and I’m trying to set him up for success as much as I can.”

Bruce Harrell (D), the city's incoming mayor, won his mayoral campaign on a platform that advocated for more funding for police services and has been critical of those who have supported “defunding” the police, the wire service reported.

The Downtown Seattle Association was also not satisfied with the new budget and argued that "voters sent a clear message earlier this month that they want city government to prioritize addressing homelessness and improving public safety," the AP noted. 

Meanwhile, advocacy groups like Decriminalize Seattle were pleased with the change. 

“I want to live in a city equipped to address the current and coming crises without resorting to armed cops to protect the rich at the expense of the poor,” Angélica Cházaro of Decriminalize Seattle said to the wire service.

The Hill has reached out to the Seattle Police Department for comment.