Mayor Jenny Durkan released Seattle’s 2021 proposed budget on Tuesday night, cutting the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) spending by over $22 million.
“A pandemic, an economic recession, a civil rights reckoning, climate-related wildfires, and failing infrastructure in our City have all combined to make this budget unlike any other in our history,” stated Durkan during her address.
The 2021 budget prioritizes maintaining investments in the community that “promote equity as well as critical funding to address the impacts of the current coronavirus pandemic.”
As a whole, the SPD budget will be reduced by $22,402,317.
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Parking Enforcement will be transferred to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), including all budget, personnel, support staff, overhead costs, and overtime funding, to SDOT.
The Office of Emergency Management, 911 Communications Center, and Victim Advocates will be transferred out of the SPD.
Funding will be added for automated enforcement which adds overtime funding to SPD to support additional uses for automated traffic safety cameras in SDOT. This program is a pilot program through 2023 to permit enforcement of the following traffic violations: stopping at intersection or crosswalk, stopping when traffic obstructed, public transportation–only lane violations, and stopping or traveling in restricted lanes.
Chief of Police Adrian Diaz has also committed the department to five focus areas:
- Re-envisioning Policing: Engage openly in a community-led process of designing the role the department should play in community safety.
- Humanization: Prioritize the sanctity of human life in every situation and affirm each individual’s worth.
- Reinventing Community Engagement: Establish true and lasting relationships through respectful interactions in every situation.
- Fiscal Stewardship: Examine critically every dollar spent to ensure it meaningfully contributes to community safety.
- Employee Wellness and Morale: Support exceptional police services by ensuring the department retains the best employees.
Over the next two months, the City Council will review the Mayor’s proposed budget. The final adoption of the budget is expected on Monday, November 23.
The Mayor’s full address can be watched below.