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Seattle police recruit thanks Chief Carmen Best for inspiring him to join force

Marcus Jones had been looking forward to serving with Chief Best, who announced her retirement Tuesday amid council discussions of reducing the police department.

SEATTLE — Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said she simply could not continue with the job knowing young Black officers — who were among the department's newest recruits — could lose their jobs to budget cuts.

During Tuesday's press conference about her retirement, Chief Best referenced an email from one Black recruit that brought her to tears.

It was an email written by Marcus Jones. He wrote it moments after hearing rumblings about Chief Best retiring, and just hours after Seattle City Council voted to cut spending for the Seattle Police Department.

"I just felt the need to want to apologize and thank her for what she's done for me because I've been working at this for five years," said Jones.

Jones served in the U.S. Coast Guard in downtown Seattle and fell in love with the community.

Within the department, Jones has worked with the homeless outreach program REACH, the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, and the Public Defender Association before entering the police academy. 

"If anything, it just motivates me to potentially try to be the chief of this police department," said Jones. "I think that would be pretty fitting, given the situation we're in now."

When it comes to debates about defunding the department, Jones said inclusivity and cohesion are necessary.

"You can't shut one entity out and make decisions or have conversations about an entity without hearing first hand from those people," said Jones.

Jones said despite Chief Best's announcement and decision to retire, he's looking forward to graduation in December and getting to work.

RELATED: 'Difficult decision': Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best resigns after 28 years with department