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Seattle Mayor Caves, Calls for More Police In City One Year After Vowing to Defund Department

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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan just made a massive reversal and is now calling for more police officers in the city after six shootings plagued the city over one weekend. Durkan caved from her position in June 2020 when she called on local officials to defund the police department.

“As a city, we cannot continue on this current trajectory of losing police officers,” Mayor Durkan said. “Over the past 17 months, the Seattle Police Department has lost 250 police officers which is the equivalent of over 300,000 service hours. We’re on path to losing 300 police officers.”

“We are creating meaningful alternatives,” Durkan added. “But, as I said last year, the city has an obligation to still continue constitutional policing and respond to 911 calls. It is a false choice between community-led solutions and police officers,” Durkan said. “We need both.”

“Not unexpected, losing these number of officers, when city leaders talk about cutting the department by 50%,” Durkan said.

“You will lose employees. Families need security. Workers, even police officers, need working conditions that support them. We cannot just cut. We need a plan.”

“This process will result in a bigger investment in behavioral health specialists, health care workers, social workers, domestic violence counselors, and addiction counselors who can better address community needs,” Mayor Durkan posted on social media on June 28, 2020.

“We want to continue to listen to the community on the types of programs – like nurses in shelters or SFD’s innovative Health One program – that we can expand while reducing SPD’s budget,” she added.

“Not every 9-1-1 call requires a police officer with a gun. That’s why Chief Best and @SeattlePD are conducting a deep review of SPD’s budget and assessing what functions could be moved to other departments or be removed entirely,” said Durkan.

From Fox News:

According to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, the total number of shootings countywide this year is 33% higher compared to the same time period between 2017 and 2020. The total number of people shot this year in Seattle also increased 61% compared to the same time period in previous years.

Seattle has been at the center of a nationwide debate over defunding police departments that intensified following the death of George Floyd last summer. Durkan, a Democrat, clashed with the Seattle City Council last year on police funding and ultimately vetoed a resolution attempting to strip funding from law enforcement. 

The relationship between city officials and police in Seattle became tense last summer highlighted by a situation where liberal protesters took control of a portion of the city and dubbed it an “autonomous zone” that was also referred to as “CHOP” and “CHAZ.”

At the time, Durkan angered many local residents and law enforcement officials by referring to the takeover as a “block party” and potential “summer of love,” declining to restore order and control back to law enforcement.