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Mayor Durkan Statement on City Council Draft Budget

Seattle (November 9, 2021) – Mayor Durkan issued the following statement following the Seattle City Council’s initial Budget proposal, which cuts SPD by approximately $11 million including cuts to Community Service Officers, hiring incentives, sworn officers and technology improvements needed to ensure constitutional policing and comply with the federal Consent Decree. The proposal also cuts $14 million from the Equitable Communities Initiative and approximately $28 million from participatory budgeting, which Mayor Durkan fully funded in her proposal.

“After last week’s election results delivered a clear rejection of the City Council’s plans to defund SPD, I was hopeful the Council would listen to voters and address our public safety needs with a real plan. Instead, it’s déjà vu all over again with Council proposing one of the largest cuts to public safety to date.

“City’s Council’s previous promise to defund SPD by 50%, their treatment of Chief Best and their previous layoff budget led to an exodus of 325 officers from SPD in the last two years. Multiple plans to address hiring and retention proposed by Chief Diaz and I have been repeatedly rejected by a majority of Council. And just yesterday, another Councilmember proposed blocking my emergency hiring proposal that has already generated a tenfold increase in applications to 911 dispatch positions in Seattle. Continued cuts to SPD and underfunding the 911 center are not a plan for true public safety.

“We need alternatives to armed police responses, and we have significantly ramped up these alternatives. My budget invests tens of millions in those alternatives like the successful community service officer program, HealthOne, the new triage team, and community-led gun violence prevention programs. But when someone calls 911 with a dangerous, potentially life-threatening emergency -- we need enough police officers to respond.

“Seattle voters have made clear they expect Council to fund public safety and invest in community. I hope City Council make significant changes to their proposed budget in the coming weeks to protect public safety and community investments.”


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