SPD chief lays out what 50% budget cut would mean for police force

VIDEO: Seattle's police chief responds to calls to defund her department

SEATTLE — Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best laid out what the city council’s plan to cut 50% of the department’s budget could mean.

Best said in a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan that the budget cuts would translate into laying off or transferring 1,100 workers — half of the department’s workforce.

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She said it would also mean closing the Southwest Precinct and eliminating SWAT. SPD would be forced to rely on nearby cities’ SWAT officers.

Best said a 50% cut would leave only 630 sworn. It would also result in less racial and cultural diversity in the force.

In a video message, Best described the council’s plan as political and unrealistic.

A majority of city council members are on board with cutting the budget by half, with some citing the department's response to the recent protests.

Seven members publicly expressed support for a 50% cut, which would override a mayoral veto.

SPD said 82% of its budget is personnel.