Seattle’s Leaders Use Trickery To Defund The Police

The Seattle City Council resorted to trickery to be able to claim that it “fully funded” the city’s beleaguered police department when it passed the 2023 budget. This comes as murders hit a quarter-century high and voters in the liberal bastion expressed their displeasure at the ballot box.

Earlier efforts to transparently defund the police department led directly to soaring violent crime rates and the election of a pro-police mayor and city council member.

Seattle even resorted to voting in a Republican city attorney.

Keeping with the leftists’ national strategy of denying they ever supported defunding the police, the council announced the Seattle Police Department is now fully funded. At best, that is grossly misleading.

The plan in fact permanently slashed 80 positions in the department that is already woefully short-handed. By removing those staff slots from the budgetary process, the council could now declare — with a wink and nod — that it listened to voters’ demands.

Seattle’s leaders initially planned to hire 200 officers in 2023 to deploy a fully staffed department. This lofty goal, however, was determined to be out of reach. That led to the budget-saving move to now fill 120 positions and permanently defund the other 80.

As much as any metropolitan U.S. city after the deadly George Floyd riots of 2020, Seattle bought into the “defund the police” rhetoric of radical leftists.

Leaders made public commitments to shift funding from law enforcement to social services and divesting half of the department’s then-budget of $409 million. A majority of the city council that year committed to this folly.

This foolhardy path has been mostly abandoned, however, as city residents suffered under a massive surge of violent crime. New Mayor Bruce Harrell loudly supports the police, and a majority of the council admits the earlier moves were a mistake.

This newfound faith in law enforcement came too late to rescue the department, however, as over 400 sworn SPD officers resigned or retired. Now the city grapples with a grossly understaffed police force and is trying to fill empty positions.

The latest budget, unfortunately, only addresses part of the issue. It is nothing but trickery to claim to “fully fund” the Seattle Police Department while eliminating 80 essential positions. Voters will see through this ruse as quickly as they rejected the original “defund the police” movement.