Cuts prompt Seattle’s top cop to retire
SEATTLE — Efforts to cut spending on police have claimed an unlikely target: Seattle’s first Black police chief, who enjoyed deep support in its minority communities, is stepping down in protest.
Carmen Best announced her retirement Monday night, just hours after the City Council voted to cut her annual $285,000 salary by $10,000, as well as the salaries of her command staff, and to trim as many as 100 officers from a force of 1,400 through layoffs and attrition.
She said Tuesday that she was OK with her pay cut, but not with having to lay off young officers, many of them minorities hired in part to improve the department’s diversity. “That, for me — I’m done. Can’t do it,” she said at a news conference.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best (left) bumps elbows with the Rev. Harriett Walden from Mothers for Police Accountability after Best discussed her resignation at Seattle City Hall on Tuesday.