“Defunding SPD” is going to be a lot harder than anyone thinks

Yesterday’s acknowledgement by the city that the Council’s ban on “less lethal” weapons violated the terms of the 2012 Consent Decree points to a much larger issue: efforts to “defund” and re-imagine the Seattle Police Department will face a complex web of legal, labor, and contractual impediments that will drag out the process for several months or possibly years.

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Understanding the Seattle Police Department Budget

The past month has brought calls for dramatic reductions to police departments budgets, including here in Seattle. In order to make sense of those demands, it’s important for us to understand how police departments request and spend their budgets. Here is a deep dive of the SPD budget, with a historical perspective, breakdowns from a number of different angles, a look at Mayor Durkan’s proposed 2020 cuts (as well as her early thoughts on next year’s budget), and some of the principles behinds calls to “defund the police.”

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