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Proposal would cut $49 million from Seattle police budget as officers leave in record numbers

The Select Budget Committee is looking into proposed budget cuts of more than $49 million from the Seattle Police Department.

On Tuesday, Seattle's Select Budget Committee took a comprehensive look at proposed budget cuts that total more than $49 million in cuts to the police department.

The budget discussion comes as dozens of officers aren’t sticking around to see what happens. A record number of Seattle police officers left the department in September, double the highest of any month on record.

The most recent proposal calls for a 10.5% reduction in patrol operations and precinct funding. Cuts could include eliminating 47 vacant officer positions and a salary reduction for both sworn and civilian employees totaling more than $22 million.

The proposal would add one job: a full-time Office of Police Accountability Investigations supervisor.

RELATED: Record number of Seattle police officers leaving the department, new report shows

“We have had some officers leave the department. And, you know, I understand some of their concern,” said Seattle Police Department Interim Chief Adrian Diaz.

On Monday morning, Diaz commented on the record number of officers that have left the department in a single month. More than half of the officers who left had been on the job less than five years and a quarter of all the officers who left were “people of color."

RELATED: Former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best will serve as KING 5 law enforcement analyst

Officers have made it clear why they're leaving.

“I refuse to work for this socialist city council,” said one officer in a written exit interview obtained by KING 5.

Another cited the city's "policies and dislike of police” as a reason for retirement. Leading the trail of retiring officers was the city's top cop, former Chief Carmen Best, who stepped down herself in September.

“It breaks my heart. Completely foreseeable. A lot of people were working really hard to have a plan working forward without officers leaving,” Best said Monday.

After Tuesday's meeting, budget talks will continue for a few weeks. Then the next key date is Nov. 23. That's when the budget proposal goes to the full council for a final vote.

Correction: A previous version of this story said the proposed budget would cut 93% of patrol operations funding. However, this did not take in account redistributed funds to precincts.

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