Amid an explosive spike in crime, Democratic Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is set to sign a bill that would slash police funding by nearly a quarter.
Durkan’s signature would cut police training and overtime funds by 18 percent after the city council voted overwhelmingly in favor of the reductions, according to Fox News.
Activists within local government originally requested a whopping 50 percent decrease, which was unsuccessful. But, the council did approve the transfer of 911 dispatchers, parking officers and mental health workers out of the Seattle Police Department.
The new budget would drive $100 million in projects for communities of color and allow for the hiring of 100 new officers, Fox News reports.
The move comes amid a mass crime surge in the city, where both murders and burglaries are steadily increasing.
The city has reported a total of 41 homicides in 2020 compared to 28 in 2019, while burglaries have increased to 8,418 compared to last year’s number of 7,634 SPD crime statistics showed. Arson and motor vehicle theft are also on the rise.
“I believe we are laying the groundwork to make systemic and lasting changes to policing,” Durkan said in a statement. “We have rightly put forward a plan that seeks to ensure SPD has enough officers to meet 911 response and investigate needs throughout the city, while acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impacts policing has had on communities of color, particularly Black communities,” she added.
“I applaud the City Council for taking a more deliberate and measured approach to the 2021 Seattle Police Department budget than occurred this summer which led to the resignation of former SPD Chief Carmen Best.”
Following the death of George Floyd, calls to decrease police funding rose around the country and Seattle quickly became an epicenter of unrest when protesters occupied a district near a law enforcement headquarters.
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