‘DEFUND’ SPD? Where it stands, what it’s about, and how West Seattle’s city councilmember explains her change on police $

(WSB file photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

One week ago, political war broke out over the concept of “defunding” the Seattle Police Department.

Days earlier, after a discussion with advocates, seven of the City Council‘s nine members voiced support for the idea of halving the SPD budget. No specific legislation was (or is) proposed, yet. But a week ago Friday, Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s office went public with a letter from Police Chief Carmen Best saying a 50 percent budget cut for her department would, among other things, require drastic action, perhaps closing the Southwest Precinct.

The mayor and chief followed up with a Monday media briefing during which they offered a counterproposal of cuts – for next year.

Two days later, the council discussed “defunding” again while meeting as the Select Budget Committee. With some confusion over what has and hasn’t happened so far, we’re taking a look at where the discussion stands and what happens next – not just via that meeting itself, but via a conversation Friday afternoon with West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee and is a “defunding” supporter.

First – to be clear, there has been no vote on “defunding” yet, not for this year, not for next year. The former is the focus right now, as the council seeks to “rebalance” the current budget in the face of huge revenue losses caused by the pandemic. Here’s video from their nearly-four-hour budget meeting on Wednesday afternoon:

The “rebalancing” discussion starts 33 minutes in. To be specific, this phase was “issue identification” – and the SPD budget was a major part of the discussion. Just short of 2 hours into the meeting, the council heard a presentation from the two coalitions leading the call for defunding, Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now. Here is the document from their presentation:

From their slides:

The work to defund SPD and create true public safety and health will happen in phases. Phase one – the initial cuts and reinvestments listed below – will be facilitated by the 2020 budget rebalancing process the city of Seattle will complete by the first week of August 2020. This phase will be followed by deeper cuts to SPD’s budget to come in the 2021 budget cycle, coupled with a participatory budgeting process that will allow the community to determine the direction of deeper investments to generate true public safety and health.

Here’s what the coalitions suggest for cuts:

Cuts could come from many places in SPD’s bloated budget, and should include the following actions:
• Freeze hiring. Any planned hiring, including for individuals in the training pipeline, should be cancelled.
• Eliminate funds for recruitment and retention, including bonuses for new hires.
• Remove the Office of Collaborative Policing, including Navigation Team. While some programs of this office, along with their administrative infrastructure, should be eliminated altogether, others could be moved to a civilian-controlled city agency.
o Eliminate: Navigation Team, Community Outreach Administration
• Transfer out of SPD control: Crisis Intervention Response, Community Service Officers
• Eliminate spending on new equipment
• Eliminate Data-driven policing
• Eliminate spending on North Precinct Capital Project
• Eliminate Professional Services -Including:
§ Photo Enforcement
§ Sworn Hiring in HR
§ Recruitment and Retention
§ Community Outreach
§ Implicit Bias Training
§ Communications
• Cut SPD’s spending on Homeland Security (a misnamed unit that is mostly assigned to large events like Bumbershoot)
• Eliminate SWAT Team funding
• End contracts with private firms that defend SPD and the City against police misconduct lawsuits
• Eliminate SPD’s travel and training budget
• End overtime pay, including for Emphasis Patrols
• Reduce patrol staffing, with corresponding reduction in administrative staffing
• Transfer 911 dispatch out of Seattle Police Department to civilian control.
• Transfer traffic/parking enforcement out of SPD control.
• Transfer Office of Police Accountability out of SPD control.
• Transfer Office of Emergency Management out of SPD control.
• Reduce administrative costs in line with the above cuts, including corresponding cuts to the office of the Chief of Police, Leadership and Administration, and Administrative Operations.

Again, that’s what the community coalitions advocating for halving the SPD budget say they want to see. The mayor and chief’s proposals for next year are here, for comparison.

So the big question is, what will the council propose – and pass? 2021 changes will be discussed later in the year – but decisions about this year will be made over the next two weeks, with a final vote on a “rebalanced” budget Monday, August 2nd. We talked with Councilmember Herbold by phone on Friday afternoon. She told us that Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, the citywide rep who is the current budget chair, has asked them to work through other parts of the budget first so they have a little more time to work out specifics on the police budget.

What they’ve done so far, she stressed, is discuss a “menu of options … high-level concepts.” (See page 335 in last Wednesday’s agenda packet.) The concepts getting the most traction for starters include “reducing the types of calls that 911 has officers respond to,” and increase the responses that would get a Health One type of dispatch (the Fire
Department’s groundbreaking unit). Then there’s the much-discussed concept of moving 911 dispatch out of SPD, and “civilianizing some responses as well as dispatch itself.” Other changes discussed so far: Remove SPD from the Navigation Team that deals with homelessness, and remove “resource officers” from Seattle Public Schools, which has said it no longer wants police based on campus. (In West Seattle, Denny International Middle School has had a resource officer.)

But does that all add up to the 50 percent cut that the coalitions have been insisting on, that a majority of councilmembers have voiced support for? “One of the things we found out Wednesday is that we thought we were working with more,” Herbold noted – SPD has burned through tens of millions in overtime with the year a little more than half over. Bottom line, as of our conversation Friday, Herbold said, “I don’t know what I’m going to be proposing yet.”

Lack of specifics aside, she WILL be proposing cuts. And that is a 180 from her re-election campaign a year ago, when she touted how the SPD budget had increased a third – from $300 million to $400 million – during her first term, as well as other SPD support such as hiring bonuses.

So, we asked, how does she explain the turnaround?

Herbold said she’s always been a “public safety advocate,” going back to her days as “a community organizr in low-income communities of color.” After her city career began, as an assistant to City Councilmember Nick Licata, she worked on SPD budget issues when he was Public Safety chair, including increasing the number of officers, “the first increase since the ’70s.” And more recently, after becoming a councilmember, she heard the pleas of neighborhoods including South Park and South Delridge, and advocated for “growing the Police Department.”

But now, she says, she’s “hearing loud and clear that more officers doesn’t necessarily mean more public safety.” Herbold says she’s been “doing a lot of reading, researching, and listening,” including the “national dialogue about the size of police departments … as PDs’ sizes have increased, the closure rates of cases hasn’t increased, making me think more about how to really deliver better public-safety outcomes.” She pointed to a recent quote we published from new Southwest Precinct commander Capt.Kevin Grossman (in our report on last week’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting), in which he acknowledged that some 911 calls would likely be better handled by other types of professionals. She also noted that an analysis of 911 calls she had requested showed that half were “non-criminal” – so she contends it’s actually “supporting policing by allowing them to focus the work they do” on where they’re truly needed.

And though the chief’s letter a week ago stirred up a lot of alarm, Herbold believes the proposals made by the mayor and chief have “a lot of alignment” with the “defunding” advocates’ goals. (She has made it clear, though, that she would not support closing the Southwest Precinct.) There’s a major difference: The council wants to take action now and start the transformation work, while the mayor and chief want to start it with the 2021 budget. What’s the rush? For one, Herbold says, some of the potential actions might require bargaining that needs to beegin, and overall, she adds, “by voting on some of this work now, we are making the commitment and allowing ourselves to start the process.”

So who’s going to do the work that’s transferred out of SPD? Herbold says she has requested “a mapping exercise to identify the community-based organizations” that could be involved. She cites the civilian victim advocates who already deploy with SPD in some situations, for example.

But will any of this really be achievable on the near-immediate timeline that is being discussed? “We are looking at whether we could scale reductions in SPD’s budget over the course of four months … on a month-by-month basis,” Herbold replied. “It’s very ambitious to think about doing that but I’ve confirmed via council central staff that it’s possible via provisos … if we were, for example, to cut $30 million, it wouldn’t all be immediate, it would be scaled.”

Speaking of cuts, what about her refutation to the chief’s interpretation that cutting the force would mean losing a lot of its officers of color, under “last hired/first fired”? While Herbold had said the chief could instead opt for “out-of-order” job cuts to preserve some diversity, she says that has been misinterpreted as a suggestion that the chief just fire white officers. Instead, she suggests the chief could use “out of order” as a tool to, for example, cut officers with the biggest records of disciplinary problems. And she contends that a 50 percent budget cut would not require cutting 50 percent of the officers.

Also misinterpreted: The motivation for “defunding.” Herbold says, “We’re not throwing up our hands and saying we don’t care about issues we’ve asked police to deal with, we’re just looking at whether the growth of policing has best served public-safety outcomes. There’s a false narrative that we don’t care about public safety.”

WHAT’S NEXT: The council meets again Wednesday and Thursday as the Select Budget Committee. The agenda’s not out yet, nor are the documents with which councilmembers will propose specific changes/cuts. You can watch for the agenda here (it will also explain how to sign up to comment during the meetings, which continue to be held via teleconferencing).

163 Replies to "'DEFUND' SPD? Where it stands, what it's about, and how West Seattle's city councilmember explains her change on police $"

  • WW Resident July 19, 2020 (3:23 am)

    Idiocracy at its best. Throw out an arbitrary number to defund and then try to figure out how to do that later. Seattle is a major port metropolis, not Mayberry, and the council wants to eliminate all funding to SWAT. Until when? The next two guys in body armor takes a major city hostage like in LA in the 90s? Major crime is not happening in Seattle not despite SWATs presense but because of it.The council wants to eliminate current and future hires in a city who’s population continues to grow. Cut community outreach? Why, so there is no collaboration between the police and the community? Eliminate implicit bias training? So this woke city council wants to eliminate the very training they accuse the police of being? Eliminate all training funding? So what does that mean? How are police supposed to get properly trained without funding for training? Especially since apparently they’re going to be under the DOJ for the foreseeable future? Eliminate data driven policing? So we should eliminate knowing where spikes in crimes are happening to put emphasis patrols in that area to help quell the crime? These woke city leaders blabber on constantly about the need for data. I guess except when data shows where crimes are happening? Reduce patrol staffing? So for example the north precinct is already having trouble answering priority 2 calls (example is assault without weapons), so we should further reduce staffing? I mean I guess we could put emphasis patrols in certain areas that needed it…… If we had data to tell us? Eliminate overtime? That’s a laugh. As long as people protest overtime will never be eliminated as every protest, march, etc, all those officers are on overtime. Not to mention, cut the police force and they’ll have to work overtime to make up for the short fall. I noticed that mounted isn’t in the conversation. A bloated, expensive section of the police department that does absolutely nothing. There’s definitely a false narrative Lisa, and you’ve been listening to it. You and the rest of the city council are absolutely worthless and you’re listening to no one except for a small group of activists and even the African American Advisory Council has called you out. 

    • Frog July 19, 2020 (1:49 pm)

      Here is some useful reading: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/17/opinion/policing-crime-baltimore.html Message:  Baltimore pioneered the exact same concepts being discussed in Seattle, cutting back police and substituting social programs; and see where it got them.  More useful reading:  https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2020/07/23/less-punishment-more-justice/ which is behind a dreaded paywall, but gives the orthodox academic case for defunding police.  Key message:  shrink police and prisons by ending misdemeanor enforcement.  All crimes classified as misdemeanors would become effectively legal.  You can look forward to a certain coarsening of life, alas.  It was interesting to see the activists calling for an end to photo enforcement.  I’m for that.  Then we can ignore all those ridiculously low speed limits recently posted by almost former Mayor Durkan.

      • heartless July 19, 2020 (5:25 pm)

        You cited an opinion piece as evidence?

        No thanks, not buying your particular brand of crazy without more than that.

      • Zark00 July 20, 2020 (3:33 pm)

        Lol, an opinion piece by Bret Step hens, who has been called out repeatedly for how racist his column is. Nice pick there.And you didn’t read past the pay wall on the other article did ya? Misdemeanors are no longer crimes?  Ummmm, you just make that up? Cuz it’s not in the article you cited. A racist and made up facts – really hit it out of the park there.By the way, Baltimore didn’t refund the police, you’re 100% wrong. Baltimore PD refused to support or participate in any reforms at all: they abandoned the people of Baltimore because their wittle feewings got hurt. Do better research next time, this was an absolute embarrassment.

  • jakob July 19, 2020 (4:23 am)

    “some 911 calls would likely be better handled by other types of professionals. She also noted that an analysis of 911 calls she had requested showed that half were “non-criminal” – so she contends it’s actually “supporting policing by allowing them to focus the work they do” on where they’re truly needed.”This is a very important point. We need the appropriate professional to respond based on the need of the issue. This one size fits all solution of sending the police for everything doesn’t work.   Not only are half of calls to 911 “non-criminal” The New York Times found that only 1.3% of the calls are for violent crimes.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/19/upshot/unrest-police-time-violent-crime.html

    • WW Resident July 19, 2020 (10:33 am)

      Then there’s this :New York recorded 528 shootings from the beginning of the year to the end of last month. Year-to-date, New York City has seen a 53.5% increase in shooting incidents, a 63% increase in shooting victims, and a 27% increase in murders. Burglary has also increased 45% and theft of automobiles is up 61%.

      • J July 19, 2020 (10:08 pm)

        How is that relevant at all. NY hasn’t defunded anything. They’re still using the same model. The increase has nothing to do with the defund/reform movement.

          • Ice July 20, 2020 (2:05 pm)

            I appriciate both sources you provided. Thank you for contributing intelligently to this discussion and educating people. However, the second source you cite doesn’t really back up your reasoning for the first source you cite, if I am understanding your argument correctly. The crime statistics from New York show that crime has increased this year (2020). The NYT article says that the city passed a budget last month that shifted around a billion dollars (1/88th of NYCs police department annual budget). I don’t think you can attribute a higher year-to-date crime rate to a 1/88th reduction in budget that happened last month.

    • Michael Waldo July 19, 2020 (12:13 pm)

      911 calls can be handled by other professionals? Have unarmed people respond to domestic violence  calls? Tell the to the police officer recently gun downed responding to a domestic violence call.

      • Zark00 July 19, 2020 (1:39 pm)

        Domestic violence is a crime obviously. They would send a social worker for example, much more appropriate, to NON crime calls. Panic attacks are common, and when people call 911 they send the police and EMTs. They should send a social worker and emt. You get much better results when you use the right tools. 

        • Glenda July 20, 2020 (8:04 am)

          I keep seeing people saying “send social workers to domestic violence calls.”It is well known in the Law Enforcement community that Domestic Violence calls are one of the most dangerous calls for officers, and is one of the leading causes of officer fatalities.  Traffic Stops are ALSO one of the most dangerous types of calls for officers, yet “traffic infractions” keep used as an example of where to civilianize as well.

          • heartless July 20, 2020 (2:36 pm)

            “I keep seeing people saying “send social workers to domestic violence calls.””

            Who is saying that?  I find it very weird that you “keep seeing” people saying cops shouldn’t respond to violent crimes.  Where do you keep seeing people saying that?

          • Zark00 July 20, 2020 (3:41 pm)

            1. Domestic violence calls are not the most dangerous. Whatever cop told you that was lying.2. We used to send social workers for domestic violence, with a cop as backup in case they turned violent. Less than 10% of calls required police intervention.3. Police prefer social workers to be firat response to domestic violence calls, the outcomes are far better and, as any officer will tell you, once they’re involved someone’s just going to jail – they are there to prevent violence and have no training to address or solve the actual problem, and it’s not their job.Source: I used to go on domestic violence case calls with my mother, a social worker, starting at about age 14. Child care used to be a lot different. 

        • Eltee July 31, 2020 (8:51 pm)

          Obviously you have never responded to a domestic disturbance call. When a social worker shows up and one of the persons involved has a weapon because they don’t want outsider interference, what’s going to happen? Getting rid of the police officers is the most asinine suggestion ever made. I will guarantee that people will not visit Seattle and businesses will leave because there is no one around to protect them. Do you think social workers are going to talk drug deals from happening and murders from being committed. Every criminal in the country will relocate to Seattle because there’ll be an open door to commit ANY crime they want and get away with it. Seattle will be so out of control and economically will plummet. 

      • heartless July 19, 2020 (2:20 pm)

        Why was he unarmed?

  • Mel July 19, 2020 (5:34 am)

    This is a joke. SPD is (apparently) full of racist officers and one of the things this group wants off the table is implicit bias training. Does anyone else think that’s odd as other agencies and government workers across the country take more implicit bias training? It was just a few weeks ago that white employees for the city of seattle were taking classes. Also, Lisa can say all she wants but a 50% decrease in budget will absolutely lead to a loss of officers when 82% of the current budget goes to personnel. There’s something odd happening here. The conversation has been that officers make too much, yet people are complaining that all you need is a 5 month academy to become a police officer. So which is it? Do you want to hire officers with less education at less pay, or require them to have more of an education (eg BA in criminal justice prior to academy)? If it’s the latter, you wouldn’t be expecting to pay them less. People seem to be talking out both sides of their mouth here. I do not want want less patrol officers in my neighborhood. Lisa can say what she wants about having done her research but as someone who has an inside look as to the crime that takes place in this city, I do not want SPD defunded.

    • Weasel Cheese July 21, 2020 (10:12 pm)

      Does anyone else think that’s odd as other agencies and government workers across the country take more implicit bias training?

      As I understand it, implicit bias training doesn’t work. At least, it doesn’t show evidence of working. There are multiple citations but this is a decent starting point:  https://www.insider.com/police-defensive-deescalation-techniques-implicit-bias-training-2020-6 I worked for Starbucks when it rolled out its implicit bias training after the Philadelphia incident. It was interesting but as the research shows, it doesn’t last more than a couple of days. As for the overall theme of defunding the police, it’s been my impression that police are pretty much absent anyway in my white neighborhood. Response time already feels like there is no SW Station. 

  • Jon July 19, 2020 (7:20 am)

    After 20 years in West Seattle, I give up. Defunding SPD is not an experiment I will be a part of. We purchased a house on the Eastside and we’re moving next month. Between the bridge and Seattle’s political circus we are fed up. Seattle is past the point of no-return down a path that I don’t agree with. And guess what? It is okay that I don’t agree with 25 mph speed limits, payroll taxes, ineffective homeless spending, more bike lines, defunding police, illegal protests, etc. Maybe I’m wrong and Seattle is turning into a utopian paradise but I could just be too dumb to see it.

    • Mark July 19, 2020 (9:59 am)

      I agree Jon.  Total insanity.Take a look at a violent crime map of City of Seattle.  Lower income neighborhoods have a disproportionately high level of being victims.  This is another “uppity liberal elite” view of “knowing whats best” while being much safer in safer communities.After 31 years in West Seattle, we may be following you.In the meantime, does anyone have a recommendation for a local private 24/7 armed response service?    

      • Jim July 19, 2020 (8:16 pm)

        I find that Sig provides an excellent security team. Enroll in a class and take the time to be safe yet proficient. There are no other choices. 

    • Reasoned July 19, 2020 (10:00 am)

      100% yes. Hope to follow if I can get enough for my house.

      • Plf July 19, 2020 (11:11 am)

        Amen, I’m planning to be so out of here, Bellingham here we come, after 40 years in west Seattle, love my local community but the politics are crazy and can’t see it improving 

      • Mr J July 19, 2020 (11:23 am)


  • Nate July 19, 2020 (7:35 am)

    Great coverage. Thank you, Tracy. 

  • Allen July 19, 2020 (7:38 am)

    “Hearing loud and clear that more officers doesn’t mean less crime” We are well aware you are hearing loud and clear CM Herbold from a small group and not your constituents. Better turn it around and fast! Secondly if you don’t have people to man the precinct you won’t have one. Third if you support a defund who do you really think will stick around to protect your city when there are plenty of other places that aren’t cutting cops. Maybe you should go on a ride along or check out the SPD SPOG page and learn about the people behind the badge and how good our PD actually is compared to other areas. What a freaking wind sock. 

    • Rick July 20, 2020 (8:14 am)

      No enforcement=no crime?

      • heartless July 20, 2020 (7:40 pm)

        No testing = no covid, so maybe you’re on to something!

        But yeah, funny but true, more cops doesn’t mean less crime.  And fewer cops doesn’t mean more crime.  Turns out the world is complicated–which is hard for certain people to understand, and I get it, simpler is easier… but that doesn’t change the facts.

  • Anne July 19, 2020 (7:44 am)

    Also misinterpreted: The motivation for “defunding.” Herbold says, “We’re not throwing up our hands and saying we don’t care about issues we’ve asked police to deal with, we’re just looking at whether the growth of policing has best served public-safety outcomes. There’s a false narrative that we don’t care about public safety.”Really? Well for awhile that’s exactly what it looked like.Happy to see  Ms.Herbold really does care about public safety. I have no problem changing the face of LE-how policing is done.Guessing most officers would rather not be put in position of being , social workers, drug & alcohol counselors, etc.  But I think working WITH, LE, not AGAINST is the answer.When CHOP was being dismantled, I heard head of Police Union talking about ideas for Community Policing-each neighborhood/community would have police presence tailored to its need. He talked in length about this & I was impressed.I could see the benefit of this new way of “ policing” answering specific needs of each community. So hoping that city can start moving forward with much needed change – TOGETHER. Oh yes-while city is working on this-be transparent-with who is on every committee , who is being brought in to advise, most of all-specifics -City government is great on vagueness-no more of that. 

    • ColumbiaChris July 19, 2020 (9:59 am)

      There’s no opportunity for “community policing” when 88% of your officers live outside the community, and just spent several weeks teargassing said community. SPOG is not arguing in good faith, and you should try to avoid being taken in by their nonsense.

      • Anne July 19, 2020 (10:55 am)

        I’ll avoid being “taken in” by your nonsense-this must be a joint effort.

      • north-west-seattle July 19, 2020 (5:51 pm)

        What is the solution to that? Have SPD officers move into Seattle communities – why would they do that when people here are protesting them and they see graffiti that says ACAB and kill cops?  Would you want to live in a community where you are a target?.How about recruit more officers from current residents in the affected communities – who is going to want to join SPD from within a community of POC when POC cops are accused of being race traitors?.Do you have a proposed solution or just throw up hands and say it’s unfixable. So just get rid of SPD. 

      • HappyCamper July 19, 2020 (11:38 pm)

        Yep pay them less but demand they live in the most expensive city in the state. 🙄 

  • cass n. July 19, 2020 (8:22 am)

    Thank you for this summary, very helpful!

  • SLJ July 19, 2020 (8:33 am)

    Wait…eliminate implicit bias training? Isn’t that a key to the problem of police and BLM? And eliminating hiring it makes the overtime issue harder.

    • Weasel Cheese July 21, 2020 (10:19 pm)

      There is zero scientific evidence that implicit bias training works.  Yes, implicit bias is a genuine problem but training programs aren’t the solution.

  • Lawandorder July 19, 2020 (8:38 am)

    The only difference between “Defund” and “Defend” the police is “U”. Think about it… Support the Blue!

    • Brian July 19, 2020 (12:35 pm)

      No thanks. 

      • Lawandorder July 19, 2020 (4:45 pm)

        Good luck on that mentality, Brian. Let me know how it works out for you…

      • Canton July 20, 2020 (7:55 am)

        Hey Brian, how about you get your activist buddies to apply to be officers and change SPD from the inside out? Wait… that would require actual hands on involvement. Never mind.

        • heartless July 20, 2020 (2:46 pm)


          That wouldn’t work.  The system cannot be changed “from the inside out”, because it is the system that corrupts.  Once you enter it, you are subject to all of its pressure and force, and so instead of changing it, it changes you.  This part is not up for debate–it has been shown to be this way, over and over again.

          People forever underestimate the power of the situation, and they forever overestimate how true to themselves they will be.

          Think of the studies of Solomon Asch, an early social psychologist: in his most famous study he simply asked people to look at three lines of varying length and say which line was the longest.  This was a trivially easy task.  But in some conditions he had people in on the experiment answer first, and answer incorrectly.

          So picture this: you’re sitting there with a group of people, all you have to do is say which line is longest.  You’re waiting your turn, you know perfectly well which line is longest.  The first person says a wrong answer.  Says a line that is CLEARLY shorter is the longest one.  You think that’s weird.  The next person says the same thing.  You chuckle uncomfortably.  The third person also claims a short line is the longest.  You start to feel really uncomfortable.  This continues, everyone keeps a straight face and says the shorter line is longer.  It gets to your turn, and what do you do?

            You conform.  You agree with the group.

          Perhaps most interesting is that nobody thinks they will succumb to these sorts of pressures–but they do.  Over and over again they do.

          Now imagine that the group you’re with isn’t strangers you’ve never met before, imagine the group you’re in is your superior officers and your co-workers, people you have to trust with your life, and vice versa, so take whatever peer pressure existed in the Asch studies and multiply by hundreds.

          You don’t change a system like the police from within.  It’s not up for debate.

          • Lawandorder July 20, 2020 (9:27 pm)

            Irrelevant! Nice try Heartless. Not falling for your silly “long sentence” analogy. Support and defend the Blue!!!

          • Canton July 21, 2020 (12:26 am)

            Heartless, this isn’t the “Training  day” movie. There are the good apples and bad apples, yes. A fresh SPD recruit doesn’t apply to the training academy to be a bad apple for the potential bad perks. They apply to make a difference in their community for the good. They want to protect and serve. Do some succumb to money and peer pressure, sure, but those few are the ones we need out. Not arbitrarily, half of our officers. They do a job that most of us wouldn’t consider.

          • heartless July 21, 2020 (8:00 am)

            I was responding to someone else, but maybe you don’t know that because you didn’t even read the first word?  And no, it was not at all irrelevant.  

            But as for you, you adroit mental gymnast you, how about a quote from the former Chief of Police in Dallas.  (Sorry in advance if it’s too long or complicated for you to follow, but some points are too nuanced to discuss via bumper sticker slogans)

            “Every societal failure, we put it on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding, let’s give it to the cops. Here in Dallas we have a loose dog problem. Let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, give it to the cops. Seventy-percent of the African American community is being raised by single women, let’s give it to the cops to solve as well. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems. I just ask other parts of our democracy along with the free press to help us.”

            Police Chief Brown, 2016

          • heartless July 21, 2020 (9:26 am)


            I haven’t seen Training Day, but I assure you I am not laboring under the impression that any of this is a movie.

            As for my point, you seem to have missed it completely.  You write things like the following:

            “A fresh SPD recruit doesn’t apply to the training academy to be a bad apple for the potential bad perks. They apply to make a difference in their community for the good. They want to protect and serve.”

            You write that as if you expect me to disagree with any of it.  I don’t!  I completely agree that the overwhelming majority of cops join to do good. 

            My argument is that the system is so rotten it turns good people into worse ones.  There are a number of reasons why this happens: peer pressure, powers of the situation, fear of retaliation, obedience to authority, the blue wall of silence, etc., etc.  If you are curious, feel free to look them up and understand how they apply.    

            You used the old line about good and bad apples.  Don’t you know the full proverb?  A few bad apples spoil the whole barrel.  

          • BlueLine July 21, 2020 (2:52 pm)

            Oh, heartless. If you had a heart, you’d understand, appreciate, respect, and support our police departments across the USA. And you’d understand, appreciate, respect, and support law and order in our country. So many examples currently of what happens without law and order. Quite a shame. And shame on you.

          • WW Resident July 21, 2020 (11:23 am)

            Wow heartless, you read a psychology study and then extrapolate and conflate this with SPD. I can use the very same study to discuss the frenzied hive mind and hyperbole that is going on with these protests and rioting. How about instead of the hyperbole, and the fallacy that claims equal facts, you bring out actual stats to back up your claim that it is rampant? You going to bring up the DOJ? Even Durkan who was a part of it at the time said there was no clear evidence that what the DOJ claimed was happening was actually happening, but there was some patterns that gave a possibility that it might be happening. McShwinn let them in and they put their claws in as Seattle is a money maker. Look up Merrick Bobb and DOJ BS. SPD has approximately 800,000 contacts per year, yet the anti-police keep bringing up a handful of names that go back years ago. They had 17,000 in crisis calls last year with less than 1% resulting in any use of force, yet SPD is out  of control. Yeah….. Ok

          • heartless July 21, 2020 (4:08 pm)

            I’ll get to all of you, I promise, but you’re going to need to wait in line.


            Huh?  What don’t I understand? 

            I happily support the police–I think they are doing pretty well considering they are all part of a force originally designed to catch slaves, a force that was blatantly racist in its formative years, and a force that still has a tidal wave of problems regarding corruption and over-use of force.

            So many examples currently of what happens without law and order.”

            Sure, and it’s doubly a shame that police are intricately involved with so many of those examples.  Don’t you want to help set it up so that police are in a better situation?

            And shame on you.”

            No, that’s really not how it works.      

          • heartless July 21, 2020 (4:27 pm)

            WW Resident:

            This is getting complicated, because right now I am functionally replying to a good half-dozen people, so you’ll have to bear with me.

            “Wow heartless, you read a psychology study and then extrapolate and conflate this with SPD.”

            Well, ‘conflate’ is the incorrect word, but yes, studies like that speak to underlying aspects of human nature, and as such they would apply to cops as much as to anyone else.  We’re all basically the same.

            “I can use the very same study to discuss the frenzied hive mind and hyperbole that is going on with these protests and rioting.”

            Okay?  I mean I think studies like that apply to lots of different behaviors, so please have at it.  I’d be interested in your thoughts.

            “How about instead of the hyperbole, and the fallacy that claims equal facts, you bring out actual stats to back up your claim that it is rampant?”

            That what is rampant?  I am REALLY trying to work with you here, but that’s asking a lot.  I am not sure what I claimed was rampant, and I’m not sure what stats would appease you.  Maybe you could Google it yourself?  If not, get back to me with a more specific question and I’ll try to answer.

            “You going to bring up the DOJ?”

            Uh, no?  Should I? 

            I feel like maybe you should read back through this thread.  I was talking to someone who suggested that those who want a better police force should join the police force and make it better.  I was explaining why this almost never works.  I feel like you think you’re talking to someone who said the police were out of control, or that SPD was particularly bad, or etc., etc.

            And I wasn’t–Look back and you’ll see I was responding to someone who said “…how about you get your activist buddies to apply to be officers and change SPD from the inside out? ”  And I was explaining, I thought reasonably well, some of the reasons why that tactic doesn’t work.

          • BlueLine July 21, 2020 (6:15 pm)

            Heartless,The police are not going away. The police are not going to be defunded. They will remain, enforcing the law, and maintaining order. I feel sorry for you.

          • Canton July 21, 2020 (11:30 pm)

            @ heartless. Try a new tactic, one that doesn’t discriminate opinions. When you make a statement that your particular point is not up for debate, it draws a line. Every single poster here, on the WSB, has a right to voice their opinion whether you agree or not. Police need us, as a community, to work together. If you have specific qualms with SPD, please share them here… and lets discuss it. 

          • heartless July 21, 2020 (6:55 pm)


            Okay, whatever, take your platitudes and shove off if that’s your response. 

            You’re not responding to my questions, you are either uninterested in, or not capable of, an actual dialogue.  It is frustrating because you are responding as if you haven’t read a word I’ve written (for example I never suggested the police go away, nor do I wish them to).  

            As for them not being defunded?  I mean, you’re wrong.  Many places have done that already, and Seattle will too.  And it will be great for the cops–so many of them are already all for the changes.  It will make their lives better, and they know it.  They’ll be safer and less overworked, and that’s great for them.

            But as for you: I will stop responding to you.  Many apologies, but it’s like talking to a brick wall.  You spout random drivel that is unrelated to any of my points, and so I’m going to treat you as a lost cause.


  • Barb July 19, 2020 (8:55 am)

    What a knee jerk reaction. There needs to be a cooling off period to address  these issues with public comment or public vote.  Imagine trying to recruit new officers to Seattle. Yes I have written to each council member with only one canned reply and nothing from Herbold.

    • AMD July 19, 2020 (1:35 pm)

      SPD has had issues for at least 20 years (WTO or earlier).  They’ve been under a consent decree from the department of justice since 2012 because of their long history of excessive force and racial profiling.  This is not a knee-jerk reaction; it’s been a long time coming.  If twenty years isn’t enough of a “cooling off” period, it’s not going to happen just by waiting.  When SDoT doesn’t do their job well, we immediately start asking why they get so many tax dollars when we don’t even get a bridge.  Reallocating police funds is nothing but holding public safety to the same standard as other city departments instead of constantly cutting them slack.  

    • Michael M July 19, 2020 (4:52 pm)

      Same here. Wrote Herbold…zero response. Pure insanity on the Council….can’t think past their noses, so easier to just have a knee jerk reaction. Vote Herbold out; she should have been out last go around IMHO!

  • Barb Biondo July 19, 2020 (8:56 am)

    We are witnessing what happens when a contagion takes hold: our city council member and her colleagues are spending precious time doing a lot of “reading, researching, and listening”, searching for a theoretical basis ways to support what is clearly a hasty position to cut our police departments budget by 50%, instead of working on ways to support our community survive this Tsunami of a pandemic that is wreaking havoc on our communities. Why not focus on:·      Helping us make sure our kids can safely return to school in the fall. Why are we not treating this as the emergency it is and looking at ways the city can support our school district make our schools safe for our children and their teachers and staff to return. We know the federal government will not be providing any support and the state is in no financial shape to offer any either, so why aren’t we looking at creative ways our city can do such as using city facilities (our community centers?) to provide additional space for classrooms so we maintain safe distancing; helping our schools partner with local universities and community colleges, our private sector partners to augment the number of teachers we’ll need and the equipment and technology we’ll need to make sure every child has the access and support they need to continue to advance and not fall behind. ·      Support our families that are struggling since March to fill in for our teachers while still working, taking care of our families and households, all the while trying to maintain our sanity through this crisis. ·      The homelessness crisis is only getting worse but we may be seeing opportunities that didn’t exist before, with business closures leading to climbing rates of commercial vacancies, maybe we can work with owners to convert some of these spaces to housing??·      We are sadly seeing many beloved businesses close their doors forever, but those that are hanging in there need much more support to be able to reopen and stay viable;·      Amidst all this, our city has never looked more trashed and bedraggled in the thirty years I’ve lived here. Why can’t we find a way to clean up the trash, paint out the graffiti and maintain overgrown vegetation along our public ROWs. How a place looks affects how people feel about it and right now our city looks forlorn, neglected, unloved.The goals of Decriminalize Seattle are laudable and there is unquestioned urgency to find better ways to achieve and maintain safe communities. We should work on what will be profound transformation of our criminal justice system together, as a community, allowing all voices, including of our police, to be heard. But this process will, and should, take time. Right now there are many other urgent matters that need our council’s attention and creative energy to tackle. Our priorities should be during a pandemic: educating our kids and supporting our families, sheltering the homeless, supporting businesses  and getting the economic engine of Seattle fully up and running again.  Then we can roll up our sleeves and get the revisioning of safe communities process underway. We can use as our model the nationally lauded process developed under the leadership of Mayor Norm Rice for neighborhood planning. An inclusive, Seattle-style process is how we will create our vision and identify our roadmap to truly safe communities. We got this Seattle!

  • WS Resident July 19, 2020 (9:03 am)

    Thanks for the in-depth reporting.  

  • Shelby Barchasch July 19, 2020 (9:04 am)

    I haven’t heard a lot of talk of cutting the prosecutor’s office funding and the money spent incarcerating citizens.  Wouldn’t it only stand to reason these areas would require less funding if the police have less funding?

  • Julie July 19, 2020 (9:23 am)

    We need more police 👮‍♀️ president presence in White Center Community!

    • AMD July 19, 2020 (1:37 pm)

      White Center is King County Sheriff, not SPD.  

      • heartless July 20, 2020 (7:37 pm)

        Funny to imagine them stewing over there in White Center, mad about the lack of Seattle police…  When in fact THEY DON’T LIVE IN SEATTLE.  Sigh.

  • crazybecrazy July 19, 2020 (9:25 am)

    There are two possible rationalizations for what the city council is doing.1) They have wasted so much of our tax dollars  and are now scrambling to find anything they can, to try and recover some of the hundreds of millions in losses.  They are drowning in debt.2) The truly want to destroy capitalism in society.Either way, the council and mayor all need to resign at this point.   I’ve started looking into legal options to have at least the council removed from office and prevented from ever holding a political office position again.  They are totally out of control.

    • Mojo July 19, 2020 (11:06 am)


    • north-west-seattle July 19, 2020 (5:56 pm)

      Most cities across the country are facing budget shortfalls due to pandemic. Mostly due to lack of tax revenue, which dries up when economy shutters. The waste is nothing new.

    • Zark00 July 20, 2020 (6:43 pm)

      Haha, this is a funny comment. Destroy capitalism, heh, TinfoilHat securely affixed.

  • wseaturtle July 19, 2020 (9:26 am)

    Sounds like a good start for some much needed reform.  Get rid of SWAT too!

    • HappyCamper July 19, 2020 (11:41 pm)

      Who’s gonna show up if there’s some sort of mass shooting or terrorist attack? 

  • ColumbiaChris July 19, 2020 (9:31 am)

    I predict that a large portion of this comment section will be people laboring under the incorrect assumption that the majority of calls that 911 receives require an armed first responder with a license to kill. The truth is that many calls can easily be handled by first responders who haven’t been conditioned to see state-sanctioned violence as the first and only solution to any problem they encounter.

    • George Talbot July 19, 2020 (10:22 am)

      Empirically, I don’t believe that’s true. Berkeley in California is trying to make traffic stops of cars a service of unarmed responders. What happens to that unarmed responder when the driver opens fire like we just saw in Bothell? It is very difficult to hire officers in Seattle. If we follow this ridiculous 50% defunding plan, where do we get officers when we realize we need them. Seattle could barely hire 100 officers two years ago to replace the 100 that left the department. Now you want us to fire 700 and have nothing to replace them? No thanks.If these jobs can be done by unarmed people, start at 10%, show us it works. Jumping to 50% is absurd.

    • StoneBuddha July 19, 2020 (11:50 am)

      @columbiachris, as someone who has a rather large scar on my stomach from a medic first responder call (I got stabbed by a homeless youth in crisis when I was a social worker) that would’ve been served better with police support, I would counsel avoiding the same fallacy and assumptions of which you accused others. We never did call the police, and luckily one of our volunteers was a rather large individual who was able to resolve the situation with minimal well-directed physical contact. I hate that the cop out (no pun intended) of hiding behind the complexity of an issue is so over used. But it is true. This is complex and requires collaboration from everyone, but more so from those who are actually doing the work. The rest is just peanut gallery.

      • ColumbiaChris July 19, 2020 (12:01 pm)

        If you think the presence of a police officer would have improved that situation, I can only assume you weren’t a very good social worker. Sounds like your volunteers handled the situation well and everyone lived to tell the tale. What possible training does a police officer have to handle an armed homeless youth in crisis that doesn’t involve their sidearm?

        • StoneBuddha July 19, 2020 (1:42 pm)

          My performance as a social worker is not the question, I was good and did some really good work. Thanks for asking. And your answer belies how little you know about people in violent crisis, and when officers turn to firearms. We (social workers) were trained in deescalation, but also physical restraint, as are police officers, and, in this case, the volunteer was also a corrections officer. It would have been nice to not have to physically subdue the youth ourselves. There are a lot of options before deadly force, and most police are well acquainted with them. Side note: I suggest sitting in a jiu jitsu session and rolling with someone who has experience. You’ll notice there are a lot of ways to wrap someone up without injury. (People with little experience, or who are not fit, are the ones that can really hurt people) My comment is that people who have direct experience with the issues – gone through those trainings as police or civil servants, lived through violent assault, worked in those fields – are really the only ones who can and should make decisions around it. Comments from the outside based on emotion, perception, and privilege are not helpful as anything more than context at best, and just opinion most often. In the age of bias and reactivity, the latter can actually be very damaging to what we, as progressives are trying to achieve.

          • north-west-seattle July 19, 2020 (6:03 pm)

            Unfortunately, the city council itself is a peanut gallery. Protesters call for 50% and the council agreed with it while admitting that they didn’t know how it would be done. And now continuing to stick to that arbitrary number for no other reason that optics. If protesters had said 80% or 30% or any other number between 1 and 99 then I suspect the council would’ve agreed with just as much gusto. It’s ridiculous and a sign that this is doomed to failure.

        • Dr. No July 19, 2020 (3:14 pm)

          Chris, Chris..dude. A personal attack? This is why people turn your ‘movement’ off. You folks attack, hide, attack, accuse, cancel, hide. Your playbook is old. Unfortunately you have an audience now..Listen man, there is a middle ground here that will probably do more to further your cause than your current plan. It’s called compromise. We need the police. In reference to that situation, you weren’t there. You also have never been in a situation where your life has been threatened. I guarantee you. If you ever had, you’d have more perspective. In fact, you wouldn’t have said a thing. 

        • Bill July 19, 2020 (6:18 pm)

          So Chris – how many of these “rather large volunteers” do you think are going to be available to go out over and over and over again all night every night on “the vast majority of 911 calls”? – in order to protect all the volunteer “stonebuddhas” from being disemboweled? 

    • Ryno July 20, 2020 (9:03 am)

      When the police are called to the scene, they don’t know what to expect.  So they need to be ready for anything.  Same if a social worker is called to a domestic disturbance.  She or he, if not trained and prepared to potentially have to defend herself (himself) with force could end up being attacked; hence why police come with the social worker to make sure everything is okay and safe for her (him) to do their work.  Without police, frankly, it will all get much more dangerous and citizens will begin to take things into their own hands for good and for bad.  We don’t want this at all.  It will become like the Wild West or gang turf battles almost daily.  We don’t want that! 

  • dave July 19, 2020 (10:25 am)

    After reading these replies I’m glad I left WS. So much white privilege and pearl-clutching. So many of you are completely missing the point, especially if you’re trying to steer this conversation away from police violence against BIPOC and into covid. Disgusting. 

    • candrewb July 20, 2020 (1:25 pm)

      Where did you move to Dave?

  • Gxnx July 19, 2020 (10:27 am)

    How about defund the city council or cutting their salaries?Let put this to the vote…

    • heartless July 19, 2020 (11:00 am)

      You just wrote about “the fat pension city employees get and the taxpayers’ have to pony up,” and how “police officers earned up to $414,543”. 

      Pick a lane or nobody will take you seriously–not that anyone does in the first place, but still…  Hypocritically flipping sides is a bad look.

      • Roms July 19, 2020 (2:04 pm)

        Why picking one single lane? Can’t Gxnx want at the same time to cut the benefits paid to LEO and the salaries of city council members? What’s wrong with that? The world is not binary. It’s time to go beyond this way of thinking, we’re in 2020.

        • heartless July 19, 2020 (5:07 pm)

          Cuz the implicature was that they are against defunding the police.  The comment is really not that hard to parse.  

          • Roms July 19, 2020 (6:47 pm)

            The comment does not say that. It says “How about defund the city council or cutting their salaries?” Is there an “instead,”  or something similar, at the end of the sentence? No. If there was, then you would be right.

          • heartless July 19, 2020 (9:22 pm)

            Not in this comment.  In previous comments.  But good job, Sherlock.


    • AB27 July 19, 2020 (11:53 am)

      Yes! This is another case of Lisa Herbold and the council misrepresenting the people. Getting really tired of this “We know better than you” attitude from them.

  • Aimless Blade July 19, 2020 (10:28 am)

    Herbold should make it clear that the Best/Durkan threat to close the SW precinct was mis-calculated political extortion to try to separate Herbold from her colleagues on this issue; and it failed. 

  • Al July 19, 2020 (10:33 am)

    Everything she’s proposing seems sensible. The police have had a terrible rate of solving crimes for ages now and that hasn’t improved with increased funding and hiring. They clearly have altogether too much on their plate and I completely support moving more funding and responsibility to the fire department and human services.  Maybe then the police will finally be able to focus on the property crimes they barely respond to let alone resolve currently. 

    • WW Resident July 19, 2020 (10:53 am)

      You do realize that police go to a lot of “fire” calls to make sure the fire department can safely do their job, right? My brother-in-law is a fire fighter in California and has a Kevlar vest.    Also you think it’s sensible to eliminate the training budget? Really? SWAT? SWAT actually serves a lot of warrants along with the ACT teams. Seattle is a port METROPOLIS, not Mayberry. Remember in the 90s the two guys who reigned terror in Los Angeles? They had body armor and the police finally had to go to a gun store to get the right arms to deal with those guys? Remember not too long ago the warrant served here and among the guns found was an AK-47?

      • Zark00 July 20, 2020 (6:47 pm)

        Do you realize the Port of Seattle police and the SPD are not the same thing? They have their own SWAT team, the do not serve warrants. So much incorrect info in your one single post, kinda tells the story here – misinformed people overreacting to the word “defund” while not really understanding at all what it means.

        • WW Resident July 21, 2020 (11:12 am)

          @Zark, maybe work on your reading /understanding comprehension. Whether port has its own SWAT unit is irrelevant to my description of what Seattle is and is not. It’s not a sleepy small town. It is a major metropolis on the water. Not just the port, but the city itself needs a Tactical unit. Are we to rely on Valley SWAT to do what Seattle SWAT does many times a year to do? Should we pull Port Tactical from the port to do the same? Get real. You have absolutely no idea how the police department works, but think you’re an expert on what defunding it is. What a joke

    • Anne July 19, 2020 (10:59 am)

      Terrible rate of solving crimes? How fast do you want crimes solved-do you have a master list of how much time each case should take? Maybe you should also look to City Attorney & KC Prosecutors offices to check what their priorities are in investigating & charging!

      • Mel July 19, 2020 (12:49 pm)

        Exactly! Why are we not proposing cuts to the the prosecutors office? Seattle and king county hardly prosecute on anything these days. It doesn’t really matter if the police arrest someone if the prosecutor tosses it or it doesn’t meet their filing standard. 

      • Rick July 20, 2020 (8:28 am)

        But we need to release more criminals, who are most likely to re-offend. You gonna own that?When it’s your Mother,brother,father,child. I would bet you would be singing a different song in that case.

      • Zark00 July 20, 2020 (7:03 pm)

        SPD clearance rate for homicide from 2000-2015 was 55%. National average is 64%. Last year we had the 2nd lowest violent crime rate in a decade, and the lowest property crime rate for over 20 years. Crime is low in Seattle, and it has very little to do with SPD. Their clearance rate sucks, they were found guilty of using excessive force disproportionately on minorities, they ignore things like orders to not use tear gas on protesters. I assume SPD have helped someone sometime, personally, I have never seen an SPD officer help a citizen. I’ve seen them play Pokemon go while on duty a lot. I’ve seen them harass people for jaywalking a lot. I’ve personally witnessed them refuse to file a police report for a break in, and refuse to show up for a call on car break in. Never seen them actually do any good though. Oh I’m sure they do, somewhere, but none of us have ever seen it.

  • Doug July 19, 2020 (10:36 am)

    This is the sort of article I have been waiting for with a list of what is actually being proposed and considered. I am sure that the police department’s role can be reduced – writing parking tickets is no longer done by police with guns, I am sure there are many other roles that police do that could be done by others with no increase in danger or decrease in effectiveness.  However, the goal of 50% reduction is simply arbitrary and there is no reason to think that is a good number for any reason.We need to look at each individual proposal to determine if it is a good idea.  And we must go by facts, not just descriptions.  There is chatter about eliminating bias training on the assumption that it must be a good thing to have.  But while I support having kids not use drugs, studies show that D.A.R.E. increased drug use or did nothing – it was a waste of money.  So we need an analysis of what works and what is worth the money.

    • north-west-seattle July 19, 2020 (6:11 pm)

      Parking tickets. The officers that write tickets are not the same officers that respond to 911 calls.  “Parking Enforcement” is a separate division within SPD. Remove ticket writing from SPD and move it to some other department that is simply a different line in the city budget – what’s the difference? It’s still an expense in the city budget.

  • Friend O'Dinghus July 19, 2020 (10:40 am)

    I took a chance on Herbold as I wasn’t enamored of her competitor, however, if she thinks cutting the police budget more than 10% (total) will win my vote next time, then she is sadly mistaken.

    • AdmiralBridge July 20, 2020 (7:32 pm)

      This has a “but her emails” ring to it

  • John Q Lincoln July 19, 2020 (11:03 am)

    This is a total joke.  The city council is proposing a 50% cut because of the wailing of a tiny fraction of the city’s population.  We need more training, not less.  More resources available to LE to use data to police our city, not less.  Please apply common sense to the current state of affairs and do the job the tax payers hired you to do.

  • Seattlite July 19, 2020 (11:09 am)

    I 100% support SPD. 98%  or more of SPD’s police officers are good officers.  2% or less, if they are beyond reform, need to be let go.  I support any type of reform that is needed to keep Seattle’s police officers at 100% capacity. What I don’t support are Seattle’s anti-law and order policies that have resulted in what Seattle is today…lawless as seen during the CHOP incident and the rioting, looting arson of downtown.  Dangerous anti-law enforcement policies leave all citizens at risk for harm or worse  including police officers. Police officers are not allowed to do their jobs effectively which has affected all communities, neighborhoods.Herbold’s term “rebalancing” is a euphemism for defunding Seattle’s first line of defense against criminals and crime.  

    • WSB July 19, 2020 (2:31 pm)

      “Rebalancing” is not a term she made up and it doesn’t apply exclusively to the police budget. It’s a process the mayor and council have to be doing right now because the city budget is literally out of balance, based on $300 million more revenue than will be coming in because of the pandemic. This story is only about the SPD budget controvrsy but there’s a whole lot more going on.

  • David July 19, 2020 (11:11 am)

    I just pray they don’t leave loopholes in that allow SPD to make up the difference in their budget with the proceeds of “civil forfeiture”.
    Police nationwide are so drunk on looking for excuses to seize anything of value (often on trumped-up charges or even no charges at all) and adding it to their budget, that the total amount seized in 2019 through civil forfeiture is greater than the amount stolen/destroyed by all reported crime. Stop and think about that a second.
    Someone carrying $10k cash to buy a used car? Signal (consciously or unconsciously) a drug dog to “trigger”, and it magically becomes drug money to seize. The friend you gave a ride had drugs on her? Your expensive car is going to be sold at auction.
    To put it another way… through “civil forfeiture”, police organizations are now the biggest thieves in America.

    • Bill July 19, 2020 (6:47 pm)

      You said:
      that the total amount seized in 2019 through civil forfeiture is greater than the amount stolen/destroyed by all reported crime. Stop and think about that a second.”

      OK! — seems like a lot of drug dealing going on!

      You said:
      Someone carrying $10k cash to buy a used car? Signal (consciously or unconsciously) a drug dog to “trigger”, and it magically becomes drug money to seize. The friend you gave a ride had drugs on her? Your expensive car is going to be sold at auction.
      To put it another way… through “civil forfeiture”, police organizations are now the biggest thieves in America.”How about some explicit examples of REAL happenings instead of school room hypotheticals!

  • West Seattle Hipster July 19, 2020 (11:20 am)

    I see traffic enforcement will be significantly reduced, including red light cameras.  I anticipate a huge spike in automobile collisions and traffic fatalities.  

    • heartless July 20, 2020 (7:33 pm)

      cuz people are currently driving 25 down 35th due to all the speed traps and police presence?lol

  • Mel July 19, 2020 (11:21 am)

    Al- they def won’t be focusing on property crimes. Seems like that would fall under “something you don’t need someone with a gun to handle” as everyone likes to throw out there. I’d expect there to be less of a priority on property crimes than we see now. We will have fewer officers and I can guarantee their time will be taken up elsewhere. People seem to forget that the fire dept still won’t go into many situations without police. So with fewer officers, more of their time will be taken up by those calls. 

  • dhg July 19, 2020 (11:24 am)

    Closing the SW Precinct would mean officers would travel from another precinct to here, and then have to travel back.  They’d lose at least an hour of travel time going both ways which means the effective work is reduced by 12% each shift.    I want to wholeheartedly support getting more value for the money from the City. I think they fund projects that are ridiculously overpriced.  But I don’t think closing our precinct is an effective cost-saving measure.

    • Brian July 19, 2020 (12:36 pm)

      That’s why SPD is floating it as an idea. They know it’s untenable and not at all what was asked when the defund movement took shape. It’s trolling and people are falling for it very easily. 

      • AMD July 19, 2020 (1:41 pm)

        Exactly.  SW Precinct was chosen for the single reason that three city council members live in West Seattle (all three support defunding) so pointing the scare tactics at their home neighborhood gives SPD the most political leverage.  It’s gross.  And it’s cost SPD my support.

  • Matt P July 19, 2020 (11:40 am)

    This explains what people want to happen

    • Michelle July 19, 2020 (4:57 pm)

      I was coming here to post that very picture. The rebalanced budget will allow police to focus on what they do best and allow other professionals to take on the hard work of non-criminal calls. 

    • north-west-seattle July 19, 2020 (6:20 pm)

      The problem is that the changes take time. Provide more funding to Education, so today’s youth don’t become criminals 10 years from now? What about the time in between. Today’s criminals are not going to become reformed because people years younger than them are getting a better education. Job training, so someone that has a criminal record and makes good money committing crimes a few hours a week can make the same amount of money working 40 hrs a week? Even if criminals wanted to do that, it takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. The defund argument defies the sensible order by decreasing police before crime decreases, instead of after.

      • Matt P July 19, 2020 (10:17 pm)

        Pretty pessimistic view that education keeps people from being criminals instead of helps people get a better job and not become homeless.  Your world view seems to be that there are those who are criminals and those who are not.  And crime, especially violent crime has never been lower in any time in history based on population size, yet police budgets continue to balloon.  The world is quite a safe place to live now, so we don’t need so much policing.

  • BG July 19, 2020 (11:53 am)

    Jon’s comment fits me – I’m looking to get out after 25 years in WS. I disagree 100% with defunding SPD. Maybe I’m just a pessimist but I don’t think things will improve around here if Lisa has her way. And, I wonder why the money needed for social programs has to only come out of SPD’s budget. Why isn’t SCC looking at other ways?

  • Doug July 19, 2020 (1:36 pm)

    Lisa Herbold and her partners on the city council are the ones who should be defunded. 

  • TJ July 19, 2020 (1:58 pm)

    You get what you voted for. “I took a chance on Herbold” are the decision making choices in elections that have consequences. But she won easily, and everyone knows she is part of a radical wing of the progressive liberals where these dumb ideas are born so really her being voted in is a green light for this. Roughly 80% of the SPD budget is wages, so there are no math equations that add up to no officers losing their jobs. One thing to keep in mind is that for being so pro union, Herbold sure wants to go against one of the core values of unions where seniority counts most. In the interest of protecting BIPOC (39% of new hires in 2019 were BIPOC), she wants to fire out of order to protect non white officers. Making up rules as you go is a dangerous way to govern 

  • fed up July 19, 2020 (2:23 pm)

    Doug, you are right! I think it is absurd that city council members make over $130,000 a year! Defund them!

    • Bill July 19, 2020 (7:00 pm)

      Seems to disprove the BS that higher compensation attracts higher quality applicants! May have had some validity with real vs paper money!

  • flimflam July 19, 2020 (3:57 pm)

    its funny (not really…) but i don’t recall ANY city politician running a campaign with promises of “defunding” the police force. 

  • Dale July 19, 2020 (4:56 pm)

    Councilmember Lisa Herbold has morphed from annoying to dangerous.

    • Will July 19, 2020 (9:36 pm)

      She is literally going to eventually get innocent people killed.  This has gone way way way too far.  I so intensely regret voting for lisa.  This is such dangerous bs. 

  • Jeff July 19, 2020 (5:11 pm)

    Funny that we are talking about defunding as they current riot and loot in downtown. Sounds like SPD doesn’t have the resources to stop it so we should definitely cut the funding…..we need leadership now Southwest is sheltered for now but not for long. Also has anybody read those “ am a Seattle Police Officer” stories on Facebook. The SPOG posts them on Facebook pretty good stories about our men and women in blue. 

  • north-west-seattle July 19, 2020 (5:45 pm)

    Can someone explain to me. If defunding means moving services from SPD to another community-based org, then the money is still being spent?  Let’s say Traffic enforcement of 911 dispatch cost $2M each. If they are taken out of SPD, then SPD budget is reduced by $4M. But then those services are done by a non-SPD department, so there is still a cost to city and taxpayers of $4M. What am I missing?  Almost seems like it’s just optics. A dog-and-pony show to proclaim a smaller PD budget, while spending is just moved from one budget line to another.

    • AMD July 19, 2020 (6:34 pm)

      The point is to re-think policing.  To ask why we have armed officers who respond to such a huge variety of community nuisances that could be solved (often better) by other departments or people with different training, freeing up police officers to deal with the actual violent crime they’re trained to deal with (which is currently a very tiny percentage of what police see in their careers).  Unfortunately “defund police” is the political branding it got that has led people to all kinds of wild conclusions about what the conversation is about and what the ask is.  Every department needs to save money because of the pandemic, sure, and that will become more of the conversation as they get into more detail, but the conversation itself is about asking why we spend our money where we do and how it can be better, not across-the-board cost savings (although the eventual cost savings are a nice side effect).

      • Rick July 20, 2020 (8:40 am)

        Maybe we should make West Seattle a “chop” zone. I’ve been here for 2 secede discussions. Put your money where your mouth is. Politics are taking us down.

      • Me July 20, 2020 (2:25 pm)

        As the spouse of a police officer who has been on for less than 10 years, I can tell you the level of violence they see is unimaginable and happens more than you think- someone pistol whipped in the head and left unconscious due to a drug break in (just one of many violent drug related calls), multiple stabbings, TONS of domestic violence calls resulting in injuries, many many suicides (while not necessarily violent, still need police to do a death investigation). I could go on and on.  Oh, and this is in the “sleepy” suburbs! People have no clue what the police deal with on a daily basis. 

        • heartless July 20, 2020 (4:51 pm)

          Many people fully understand what police deal with.

          Was your point just that they have to deal with gruesome scenes?  I don’t think anybody here is saying they don’t…

          The people encouraging everyone to re-think policing aren’t ignoring that cops have hard jobs–in fact the majority of people are suggesting cops should have even more training and even more resources.

          That training and those resources are part and parcel of any serious conversation about defunding or re-organizing a police force.

          • Me July 20, 2020 (6:59 pm)

            I was responding to the claim that police respond to very little violence in their careers which isn’t necessarily true. 

          • heartless July 20, 2020 (7:31 pm)

            Gotcha.  I wasn’t aware people were saying police don’t see violence in their careers.  The way I read it was people were saying that the vast majority of the time they don’t deal with violence.  Like the old (true!) statistic: well over 90% of cops will NEVER, in their entire career, draw their weapon on anyone: most of cop life is really pretty boring.  Again, not to say they don’t witness horrible things, but, it’s still a helluva lot better than, say, working at a meat-packing plant.

  • StoneBuddha July 19, 2020 (5:53 pm)

    An honest question, if anybody knows, why do we need to take from the police budget (other than due to Covid finances)? Seattle and King County are objectively some of the most well-funded communities in the U.S. in terms of philanthropy and government-provided services. I totally agree with the right people for the right jobs, but this should not be zero sum. Lastly, I do think the people who are making these decisions need to be accountable. We must not be spending the money we have now very well, so what is this going to change? It’s catty, but I do think Herbold is in over her head, but who isn’t right now. 

  • Alex July 19, 2020 (6:24 pm)

    I would have more respect for Ms Herbold if she would be honest why she wants to defund police.  She was for police until the George Floyd murder and these few local groups convinced her SPD was systemically racist and ergo, defunding was necessary.   That was the position for several weeks.  She is now backpedaling and saying that some things should be done by civilians.   She claims that is what “defunding” means and any other meaning is a false narrative.    Words do matter.  I did see that the Philadelphia chapter president of BLM is saying that within 5 years, there will be no police.   Unlikely, but “defund” gets you there.     

  • TJ July 19, 2020 (6:55 pm)

    Alex, you are correct. Defunding isn’t the end game for them. If they get their way and defund the department 50% they will continue to demonize the police and strip it more. There is no finish line for these extreme politicians and the small but vocal groups that support them. Hence the name progressive. Progress is a never ending quest to get to some unattainable point. The police department is just one aspect. Do you think Sawant and Herbold will shut up about a high earners tax now that they finally put one thru? Give it a few months and they’ll be back.

    • Rick July 20, 2020 (8:45 am)

      Sounds like my ex wife’s tactics. When we would reach a compromise,that became her new starting point for a new compromise.

    • Ivan Weiss July 20, 2020 (9:25 am)

      This in-depth, point-by-point article from SCC Insight demonstrates all the procedural, structural, and legal obstacles to the “defunding” that you appear to fear, and exposes your constant, ongoing, and tiresome animus for Lisa Herbold as so much hot air. She knows the law and the city code, and clearly, you don’t. She will continue to be the adult in the room, and will address all the points and procedures necessary to this process in their turn, while you continue to slaver at the mouth and bark at the moon.


      • Ice July 20, 2020 (10:39 am)

        That was a fantastic and informative article. Thank you for sharing.

      • momof3boys July 23, 2020 (4:16 pm)

        I was reading through all these comments to see if this SCCINSIGHT.com article was posted. It is a GREAT article, without the *crap*. Thanks for posting!!

  • ScubaFrog July 19, 2020 (11:22 pm)

    There seem to be a lot of right wing, pro-authoritarian posters leaving WS, which is great.  I’m excited to see who takes their spot, hopefully supporters of Black Lives.  And perhaps people who get the whole defunding thing (and that it’s not about firing police officers nor eradicating precincts).The bridge will take patience.  But our dear WS is worth waiting for  <3

    • Brandon July 20, 2020 (8:05 am)

      So anyone who thinks this idea is a poor one should just be quiet and are labeled right wing?  I’d hardly think WS is Right Wing just because they think this is a bad idea and should look at ways to express it. 

    • Brandon July 20, 2020 (8:36 am)

      So anyone who thinks this idea is a poor one should just be quiet and are labeled right wing?  I’d hardly think WS is Right Wing just because they think this is a bad idea and should look at ways to express it. 

    • Friend O'Dinghus July 20, 2020 (9:13 am)

      Thank you Scuba. To those selling up for greener pastures, I say ‘Bye Felicias’. While I think there may be some police budget we can safely eliminate/shift, a wholesale huge cut is not in  the best interest of our beloved city. I find it to be too arbitrary at the moment, which means I cannot support the concept in it’s current iteration. I also don’t think that three months before the most contentious, divisive, and consequential elections in our lifetimes is the right time for the discussion at all.  Throw on top of that a pandemic that is currently bursting at the seams, and we have what I would call a terrible time for a community dialogue about  our obvious, systemic, racial inequities. If we don’t get this right between now and the national elections, then there will be no freedom or democracy umbrella under which we all gather.  That my friends will lead to far worse inequity should it come to pass. I point to the federal ‘policing’ going on in Portland as as example of just what I am talking about. In fact, the entire term ‘defund the police’ I find to be antithetical to a reasonable dialogue, and one which has all the hallmarks of what the experts refer to as controlled opposition. I subscribe to the tenet that one does not let their opponents define them, nor does one cede the timing, pace, or place of conflict. Stay strong people, stay focused, stay agile. The next six months are going to be like none you have ever experienced (although imagine the 2016 election layered with a pandemic layered with deliberately aggravated racial division). Yup Scuba, I say good riddance to those who aren’t willing to roll up their sleeves and fight for what’s right, what’s just, and what strengthens or beautiful community.

    • JEG July 20, 2020 (9:25 am)

      Hi Scubafrog. Right wing pro-authoritarian – is that a dog-whistle I hear? Strange how those who care about basic things like equality before the law and a modicum of civil order/public safety are being painted as “right-wing” by the folks on the far left bent on taking advantage of our multiple crises to push a radical “re-imagining” of our society.And it’s ridiculous to assert that eliminating 50% of SPD’s budget is not about firing police officers or closing precincts – not only would that be inevitable, it’s stated in the list of delusional demands put forth by Decriminalize Seattle.

    • CR July 20, 2020 (9:29 am)

      If you actually supported black lives, you would be helping us get more funding for officers, not less. You need to unlearn this lie that you have been told about police somehow being harmful to us when in fact the opposite is true.

      By the way, you just called a Bernie voter “right wing, pro-authoritarian”! It is not authoritarian to recognize a need for law enforcement. You have no idea what we deal with in lower income minority communities. It isn’t the police hurting us.

      • heartless July 20, 2020 (7:26 pm)

        CR: not buying it.

        “If you actually supported black lives, you would be helping us get more funding for officers, not less.”

        Why?  If you want to be taken seriously, you need to do better than just going Nuh-uh.

        “You have no idea what we deal with in lower income minority communities.”

        What a strange lie to tell.  You have absolutely no clue about the people to whom you are replying.  And as for dealing with harsh lower income minority communities?  You’re in freaking West Seattle.  Trust me–you have it good.  And if you tell me what neighborhood you live in, I will tell you exactly how and why you have it good.

  • WTF July 19, 2020 (11:52 pm)


  • Brandon July 20, 2020 (7:37 am)

    So they marched to Juarez’s house yesterday to get her to flip her vote. Sounds like a great counter protest. If you think defunding is a bad idea, you need to fight fire with fire.  Get off the keyboard and mobilize. You marched in the Junction. It’s time to march again against the extreme Left.  Their motto is When We Fight, We Win.  See how that works?   Boots need to hit the streets, City Hall and then the Council Zoom Meetings with Public Comments. 

    • Heartless? August 7, 2020 (4:08 pm)

      SPOG “Stop Defunding” rally, Sunday noon at city hall.  600 4th Ave.  Time for the silent majority to be heard.

  • Brandon July 20, 2020 (9:48 am)

    Our property taxes just went up another $1200 per year on a 1300 Sqf bungalow. It seems there’s already plenty of cash sloshing around downtown to fund some of the actions being called out. 

    • Elton July 20, 2020 (10:34 am)

      Oh yeah, nothing like a pandemic to inspire a boom economy. In case you hadn’t noticed, the majority of revenue sources for the city are down severely. Even without “defund”, the police budget had to be cut. For people leaving West Seattle for a place where police are going to be better funded: good luck to you as you bounce from place to place. It’s a wonder for anywhere to not cut police budgets with government revenues down so severely.

    • KM July 20, 2020 (3:54 pm)

      Brandon, the majority of your property taxes go toward education (state and local), and about another quarter of your property taxes go to the city. An increase in property taxes doesn’t mean we finally have enough cash in the city to fight white supremacy and fund anti-racism programs. Also, “boots” hit the streets last week in support of SPD, it was rather low attendance (comparatively) and didn’t last for nearly as long as it was originally planned. 

      • Brandon July 21, 2020 (10:09 am)

        The point is, Funding Sources are getting tapped out.

  • TJ July 20, 2020 (11:12 am)

    Well lets see the city then back you up Elton and cut ALL budgets. Fire department and EMT, schools, all social services. I’m also interested to see how many city jobs have been cut. We know the private sector has cut a few. Taxes still are going up.

  • TM7302 July 20, 2020 (12:00 pm)

    Does advocates mean constituents?        “Days earlier, after a discussion with advocates, seven of the City Council‘s nine members voiced support for the idea of halving the SPD budget. ”    

  • Brandon July 20, 2020 (12:18 pm)

    I’ll drop a new thought on this Council business.  Maybe its time to re-think Districts.  We currently vote for 3 Councilmembers (2 At Large, 1 “home” district).  That’s 1/3 of the Policy Makers.  Perhaps it’s time to look at voting on the other 2/3 of the Policy Makers.   Draw up 4 Districts (North, South, East , West) and vote on 5 At Large CM’s.  I feel at least then I’m putting in more balance.

    • Canton July 22, 2020 (11:29 pm)

      Yes Sir. That was the point of breaking into districts, so that the city at large, can’t vote on individual candidates unless they reside in said district. Making it more difficult to assemble a vote against a particular council member. All under the guise of making a member more accessible to their district. And how’s that going….

  • Millie July 20, 2020 (2:05 pm)

    Thank you CR for your comment.  Too often we only hear only side of any argument.    It is good to see and hear alternative viewpoints/opinions.   

  • Rob July 20, 2020 (3:02 pm)

    I think it speaks volumes that Herbold describes  “doing a lot of reading, researching, and listening,” – but not any outreach or engagement with either SPD or we, her constituents.   In fact, I personally have emailed to ask her about these issues, and it’s been complete radio silence- same for a handful of neighbors I’ve spoken with who have tried to contact her as well.   It’s so elitist, it’s clear she sees no value in these conversations, but she sits in her ivory tower alone and boils down the issues as she sees fit, before engaging any of us who live and work here.  Add to this that Herbold, Sawant and others have no demonstrable ability to think critically or strategically about any topic- least of all one like this with so many complex overlaps and stakeholders.  It’s lazy and dangerous city governance, it’s insulting and it’s the way this whole council acts all the time.  And yet, they inexplicably keep getting re-elected.  

    • TM7302 July 20, 2020 (4:32 pm)

      I’ll do you one better.  I emailed her this past weekend about her comments on supporting police  defunding and I got a reply about the West Seattle Bridge.  Maybe she is just getting back to me from my last email to her 6 weeks ago.  She is more than absent in her responsibilities to her constituents…

      • Rob July 20, 2020 (6:01 pm)

        Agree TM7302.  I’m trying to get some momentum behind a demand that she hold an in-district town hall (via Zoom right now of course) with to hear from her district about these issues.  I posted a request to her FB page but it got deleted (nice).  If I posted a petition, would people be interested in asking her for this?

  • Rob July 20, 2020 (6:25 pm)

    I agree TM7302.  I’ve been trying to get her to agree to an in district Town Hall to hear from her constituents about these issues and fully hear our POV and concerns.  If I set up a petition, would people here be interested in asking her for this?

    • WSB July 20, 2020 (7:02 pm)

      Other CM’s have done this – I listened to this morning’s council briefing meeting and at least two of her colleagues mentioned recent district town halls. Meantime, the mayor has just called one for WS, 5 pm Thursday, publishing the announcement momentarily.

      • Rob July 20, 2020 (11:41 pm)

        Thx tracy/wsb, saw that.  

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