Carmen Best, the first black police chief in Seattle history, left her post on Wednesday, saying on her way out that city council police budget cuts have placed her in a “doomed position,” according to a report .
Best, 55, announced her resignation on Aug. 10 after the council kept its promise to approve sweeping proposals that would cut the police department’s budget by $ 4 million and remove up to 100 officers from the force should.
“I believe 100% that they put me in a position that is doomed to fail. Downsizing an already low-staffed police station that has already struggled to keep up with demand,” Best told NPR on Wednesday. “How are we going to maintain adequate public safety in this environment?”
The best interim chief is Adrian Diaz, who said he plans to move 100 officers from “special forces” to standard patrol units in order to improve the department’s 911 response time, KOMO-TV reported in Seattle.
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Best left her position amid the turbulent last few months on the job, highlighted by protests against systemic racism and police violence following the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. The protesters would occupy a six-block autonomous zone in the heart of the city center – with no law enforcement presence – for weeks after police cleared a nearby precinct.
Best hit rioters in late July after an explosive device left an 8-inch hole in the wall of a City Police building.
“What we saw today was not peaceful,” Best said at the time, according to the Seattle Times. “The rioters had no concern for the safety of the public, the safety of officials, or the businesses and property they destroyed.”
Last month Best said her decision to leave was “not about the money and it certainly isn’t about the protesters.”
“I mean, be honest, I have a lot thicker skin than this,” she added. “It’s really about the overall lack of respect for the officials, men and women, who work so hard every day. “”
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Defund the Police supporters in the US have tried to reduce or even cut funding for the country’s police forces, pointing out that there has been a history of police ill-treatment of African Americans and other minority groups .
Seattle Mayors Durkan and Best had urged the council to slow down its discussions on police budgets and said the issue could be seriously addressed if the city’s 2021 budget was considered.
On her final day, Best noted she had mixed feelings about leaving the division amid national protests, as well as an ongoing debate over police tactics.
“We’re in the middle of a social reckoning, you know, a racist reckoning in the country … and we have to acknowledge that policing has a history that has in many ways contributed to the racism we are experiencing.” she told NPR. “But we also have to acknowledge that the police are working very hard to change that narrative. And we have to work with the public to find out how we’re going to do it.”
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She best described her final day in a series of Twitter posts, starting with a socially distant interview of members of the community and the “hardworking men and women” she’d worked with over the years, adopted.
Best, who was Seattle Police Chief since August 2018, served with the Seattle Police Department for nearly three decades and held almost every position within the department.
“I am honored. I am blessed,” she said on Wednesday.
Members of her original security service then took her to what she called “swanky breakfast”. She posted photos of the meal and said she felt “lucky to have such dedicated officials by my side”.
Law enforcement officials and local residents later lined up on Fifth Avenue in downtown Seattle near Police Headquarters to say goodbye.
“So grateful for the sworn and civil @SeattlePD who lined up 5th Ave today to say goodbye – on my last day with the department,” she wrote. “Thank you for 28 wonderful years!”
Edmund DeMarche and Dom Calicchio of Fox News contributed to this report