Seattle Chief Carmen Best emails resignation notice after drastic cuts to police budget

SEATTLE — Carmen Best, the Seattle police chief, emailed her resignation notice to police officers in the department late Monday hours after the City Council made good on its promise to approve sweeping proposals that would cut about 100 officers and slash the department’s budget.

Best’s email, which was obtained by Jason Rantz, a radio host in the city, said that her retirement will be effective Sept. 2.

#BREAKINGNEWS: Chief Carmen Best just emailed her resignation notice to Seattle police officers.

— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) August 11, 2020

“I wanted you to hear this from me, but some media have reached this conclusion on their own,” she wrote. “This was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time.”

She thanked Mayor Jenny Durkan for her “her continuous support” and said that the department is “truly the best police department in the country, and please trust me when I say, the vast majority of  the people in Seattle support you and appreciate you.”

Since protests, riots, and defunding police have been in vogue the past few months, Seattle’s City Council has earnestly said they would drastically reduce money going to the police department. Now they have done it, Law Officer reported.

Durkan and Best have urged the council to slow down its discussions about police budgets, saying the issue could be thoroughly analyzed when the 2021 city budget is considered, Fox News reported.

They also said any layoffs would disproportionately target newer officers, often hired from minority communities, and would inevitably lead to lawsuits.

During the ongoing debate, Councilmember Lisa Herbold actually recommended laying off white officers to avoid losing minorities during the sweeping cuts. While the proposal had its political allies, it was also soundly criticized for seemingly violating federal law and Supreme Court precedent barring racial discrimination, Law Officer reported.

Lisa Herbold
Councilmember Lisa Herbold proposed laying off white officers. (

Brandi Kruse, a reporter for Q13 Fox, tweeted that there is a press conference set for 11 a.m. Tuesday. She said two sources told her that the announcement is imminent.

BREAKING: Seattle Police Chief @CarmenBest is going to resign, two sources familiar with her decision confirm. The announcement is imminent, I’m told. There is an 11am presser scheduled for tomorrow with the Mayor. Unclear if announcement will take place then. (THREAD) #Q13FOX

— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) August 11, 2020

The City Council also cut Best’s roughly $285,000 annual salary and the pay of other top police leaders, although the final cuts to Best’s salary were significantly more modest than those approved last week. The council plan also takes officers off a team that removes homeless camps.

On Monday, only council member Kshama Sawant voted against the budget package, saying it does not do enough to defund the police, Fox reported.

Best, who served in the department for 28 years, ended her email that she looks forward to “seeing how this department moves forward through the process of re-envisioning public safety. I relish the work that will be done by all of you.”

Nevertheless, she will not be around as the city dramatically scales back public safety services.


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