‘Pivot away from unreasonable activism’: Seattle law enforcement officials applaud 2022 budget

SEATTLE — On Monday, Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, did not hide his enthusiasm after the Seattle City Council passed its 2022 budget for the city.

“The city council’s vote on today’s budget is the beginning of a great political pivot away from unreasonable activism and back to the moderate policies that made Seattle the Emerald City,” said Solan, in an email to KIRO 7.

“I look forward to working with the newly-elected officials to ensure the future of Seattle’s public safety. Seattle is worth saving.”

The multibillion-dollar budget passed through the council with an 8-1 margin, with Councilmember Kshama Sawant the lone objector.

“I think we’re starting to realize that defunding and cutting half the police force is not the right answer,” said Jim Fuda with Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound.

Fuda said those in law enforcement that he’s spoken with are enthused with the latest city election results.

“This is our city speaking out, saying, ‘look, we’ve had enough craziness,’” said Fuda, in an interview on Monday.

This comes as the overall budget to SPD has decreased each of the last two years.

According to date from council staff, SPD’s 2022 budget decreased by $7.5 million, compared to 2021, and decreased by roughly $46 million, compared to 2020.

Some in Seattle in support of a smaller police force urged Mayor Durkan to approve the budget.

“We celebrate every penny that leaves harmful policing practices and goes toward building a Seattle where we can all survive and thrive,” said Angélica Cházaro with Decriminalize Seattle.

“We now urge Mayor Durkan to sign this budget into law. Our cross-movement coalition helped us secure a defund of SPD two years in a row, and we’ll be back for more,” Cházaro said in a statement.

The mayor has 10 days to veto or sign the budget. If she vetoes it, the budget will go back to the council for approval, or it can vote to overturn the veto.

The budget must be passed and finalized by Jan. 1, 2022.

Others in the city were critical of the council-passed budget.

The Downtown Seattle Association said the budget missed the mark in addressing homelessness solutions and improving public safety.

“Despite being the largest budget in city history, it is incomplete with no clear strategy to meaningfully address these issues and support the recovery of downtown Seattle. The budget shortchanges the investments recommended by the Regional Homelessness Authority in a downtown homelessness plan and the council’s opposition to the mayor’s proposed SPD budget sends the wrong signal to officers and our community,” a DSA spokesperson said in a statement.

Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell did not participate in any budget deliberations. His office provided this statement on Monday:

“The council-approved budget does not contain all the public safety investments the mayor-elect would have liked to see. However, he does support the funding restored last week for additional Community Service Officers. For future budgets, including the second distribution of American Rescue Plan Act funds early next year, the mayor-elect looks forward to being involved in the process from the beginning and working with the council to better align on goals and produce budgets that best reflect the priorities demanded by Seattle residents.”