“I want to thank Mayor (Jenny) Durkan for her continued support through the good times and the bad times,” Best said in a letter to members of the Seattle Police Department received from CNN. “I’m sure the department will do it in these tough times.”
She said her retirement will be in effect on September 2nd.
Durkan said the city is losing an incomparable leader.
“Its fire, grace and integrity have inspired me and made our city better,” Durkan said in a statement. “These last few months, I knew the best boss was the person to run our city in this challenging time, to rethink police and community safety.”
The Best announcement came the same day Seattle City Council approved a mid-year budget that cuts nearly $ 4 million from the Seattle Police Department 2019-2020 budget by $ 400 million.
“The Seattle Police Department budget cut is a response to calls for the protection of racial justice and investment in BIPOC communities,” González said.
The police department budget cut will equate to $ 11 million a year, González said, an amount that is far less than the 50% budget cut discussed.
The budget cuts require the reduction of 32 patrol officers, the reduction of specialized units and administrative costs, the reduction of training and travel costs, the transfer of victim advocates to the human services department and the removal of two sworn officers from the emergency call center. 911.
City 911 calls involve criminal activity 56% of the time, and González said resources and funds can be better shared including other services.
“What we can do is get our police to focus on what they are trained to do and fund service providers that address the most complex housing issues, substance abuse disorder, youth violence prevention, care affordable health, and more, “she said.
The budget should go to Durkan, who could sign it into law, not sign it and allow it to become law or veto it, spokeswoman Kelsey Nyland said.
At the time, Durkan asked the police department to draw up plans to reduce its spending by 50% in next year’s budget.
CNN’s Joe Sutton and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.