SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council voted 5-4 against a budget proposal to cut open sworn officer positions from the police department Thursday.
The proposal, brought forth by city council president and former mayoral candidate Lorena González, would eliminate 101 positions open at the Seattle Police Department, dropping the overall force to 1,256 sworn full-time employees. Her plan would have saved the city $19 million.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was caught off guard by the proposal, given Seattle's ongoing officer shortage.
"We don't have enough police, so this isn't the time to cut officer positions, but also it sends a message to the officers we do have that their work isn't valued," Durkan said.
Seattle's interim police chief Adrian Diaz indicated in an interview there was little consultation with his department before the proposal was put forward.
"I'm disturbed by it because I've always said we need 1,400 officers. Currently, in the department, we are right now deployable at 1,015. We have a number of officers out on leave. And we need to grow the department," Diaz said.