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.
“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."
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.