Seattle Police chief announces her retirement as city council votes to cut police budget

Carmen Best announced her retirement Monday night, shortly after the city council approved a budget that would cut the city's police funding and jobs numbers.

Updated: August 11, 2020 - 1:25pm

Carmen Best, the police chief of Seattle, announced her retirement Monday night, following a city council vote to cut nearly $4 million from the department's budget and eliminate 100 officers from the force.

"I want to thank Mayor Durkan for her continuous support through good times and tough times," wrote Best in a letter to members of the Seattle Police Department. "I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times."

"I look forward to seeing how this department moves forward through the process of re-envisioning public safety," continued Best.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who opposed cuts to the police force, said she was disappointed in Best's decision to retire from her post.

"I regret deeply that she concluded that the best way to serve the city and help the department was through a change in leadership," Durkan wrote in her own letter to Seattle police officers.

Best, an African-American woman, became interim police chief in 2018, and accepted the position officially a short time later. Her retirement will go into effect on Sept. 2. She is the most recent police chief from a major city to exit her post amid a wave of urban protests concentrated disproportionately in Democrat-run cities since the death of George Floyd in May. 

Black Lives Matter activists in Seattle, who earlier this summer established the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), later changed to the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), demanded a 50% cut to the city's police department budget. Their vision saw those funds being reallocated toward community programming. 

The cut to police funding that the council approved on Monday evening is significantly more modest than the proposals of the protesters. 

The budget will now go to Mayor Durkan, who will sign it into law, veto it, or not sign it but allow it to become law anyway. 


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