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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CHOP: a tragedy of errors, now entering its final act

After a weekend of late-night violence in the CHOP, today Mayor Jenny Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best signaled that their hands-off approach to the protest area on Capitol Hill is changing, and “it’s time for people to go home.” It’s been nearly a month since George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, surrounded by other officers who stood by and did nothing. The ensuing weeks here in Seattle — the protests, the violent police response, the looting and destruction, the abandoning of the East Precinct, and the occupation of a small section in the heart of Capitol …

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Is the city responding to 911 calls in the CHOP?

Last night and this morning, there were various (often conflicting) reports on social media about a possible burglary in the CHOP (formerly known as the CHAZ) area on Capitol Hill that is the site of an ongoing occupation and protest. There has also been conflicting information about whether first-responders have been told not to enter the CHOP if the city receives a 911 call from there. I asked the Mayor’s Office what SPD and SFD have been instructed to do if the city receives a 911 call from the CHOP. Below is their full response.

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With no deal on temporary restraining order, Black Lives Matter and city face off in court tomorrow morning

Yesterday I reported that lawyers for Black Lives Matter and for the City of Seattle were trying to negotiate a mutually agreeable temporary restraining order related to the city’s use of “less lethal” weapons such as tear gas, rubber bullets and blast balls for crowd control during the ongoing protests. But having failed to reach an agreement today, the issue now heads to a hearing tomorrow morning with U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones. In advance of that hearing, late this afternoon the city filed a brief with the city opposing the request for a temporary restraining order.

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