The mayor of Seattle is calling on the city to rebuild its depleted police force after six separate shootings rocked Washington state’s largest metropolitan area over the weekend.
“As a city, we cannot continue on this current trajectory of police loss,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said. noted at a press conference on Monday. “In the past 17 months, the Seattle Police Department has lost 250 officers, which equates to over 300,000 hours of service. We are on the verge of losing 300 officers.”
Durkan added that the violence over the weekend is a “reminder” that there are certain emergencies that require sworn police officers.
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“We are creating meaningful alternatives,” Durkan said of efforts in the city to redirect funding and labor to community groups. “But, as I said last year, the city has an obligation to continue to maintain the constitutional police and to answer 911 calls.
“It’s a false choice between community solutions and the police,” Durkan said. “We need both.”
The mayor said she would submit a plan to hire more police and rebuild the depleted force.
“It’s no surprise losing that number of officers when city leaders talk about cutting the department by 50%,” Durkan said. “You will lose employees. Families need safety. Workers, even police officers, need working conditions that support them. We can’t just cut. We need a plan.”
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Over the weekend, six different shootings in Seattle started four people died and seven injured.
According to the King County District Attorney’s Office, the total number of shootings across the county this year is 33% higher than in the same period between 2017 and 2020. The total number of people shot dead this year in Seattle has also increased 61% compared to the same period. period of previous years.
Seattle has been at the center of a national policing funding debate that intensified after the death of George Floyd last summer. Durkan, a Democrat, clashed with Seattle City Council last year over police funding and ultimately vetoed a resolution attempting to withdraw funding from law enforcement.
Relations between city officials and the Seattle police became strained last summer, highlighted by a situation where liberal protesters took control of part of the city and dubbed it an “autonomous zone.” also called “CHOP” and “CHAZ”.
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At the time, Durkan angered many local residents and law enforcement officials by calling the takeover a “block party” and a potential “summer of love”. in decline restore order and control to the police.
Over the next few months, many police officers resigned from the force, with several citing lack of support of local government and the politics of division within the city. In August of last year, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best leave the force citing a “lack of respect” for the police.
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Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz also spoke at the press conference and agreed that the lack of officers made his job more difficult.
“I need more officers,” Diaz said, adding that he can hire more officers but also needs the support of the city “to make it clear to officers, current and potential … who ‘They will have our support, financial and otherwise, to do this job well and know they will not be made redundant due to budget cuts. “
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