“This was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time,”Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best
By | Been Written
Contributing Writer | Telegraph Local
After a 28 year career with the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best says she is stepping down.
The Seattle Times reports that Best is retiring due to the wake of protests against police brutality, criticism over the Police Department’s response and votes by the City Council to shrink the police force and cut her wages.
According to a Fox News report, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Best have urged the council to slow down its discussions about police budgets, saying the issue can be taken up in earnest when the 2021 city budget is considered. They also argued any layoffs would disproportionately target newer officers, often hired from minority communities, and would inevitably lead to lawsuits.
On Monday the Seattle City Council voted to eliminate at least 100 police officer positions and to cut Chief Best’s salary, in a move to defund the police department.
Fox News mentions that the plan would ultimately slash funding to the department but not the 50% some had sought. Seattle currently has around 1,400 police officers, and the current plan would see about 100 cut. It was also cut the police department’s $400 million budget by about $3 million.
Further defunding moves also involve eliminating or severely restricting certain police teams from accessing or removing homeless people from encampments.
Who is Carmen Best?
Best became Seattle Chief of Police starting in August of 2018. She’s has held many titles in her career, such as Deputy Chief, overseeing the Patrol Operations, Investigations, and Special Operations Bureaus, as well as the Community Outreach section, according to the SPD website.
She is also the city’s first Black woman to serve as Police Chief.
In her resignation letter, Best says, “I wanted to notify you that I will be retiring from the Seattle Police Department, effective September 2nd, 2020. I wanted you to hear this from me, but some media have reached this conclusion on their own.”
Best will step down permanently on September 2, 2020.