Seattle police chief to retire after city approves cutting department budget
Carmen Best emails her resignation notice to officers; Dan Springer reports form Seattle on the fallout.
Carmen Best, the first Black police chief in Seattle's history who stepped down earlier this year amid budget cuts, started a new gig on Monday as a law enforcement analyst for NBC’s Seattle affiliate, KING 5.
“I am honored to have Chief Best on the KING 5 News team. At a time when we are reporting extensively on issues of law enforcement, our audiences will benefit from hearing her unique expertise and insider’s perspective,” KING 5 news director Pete Saiers said in a statement.
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Best, who had been Seattle’s police chief since August 2018, served with the Seattle PD for nearly three decades and held almost every position within the department. She made her first appearance as a KING 5 law enforcement analyst on Monday in the 4 p.m. hour.
Best announced her resignation from Seattle’s police department on Aug. 10, after the council made good on its promise to approve sweeping proposals that would slash the police department budget by $4 million and cut as many as 100 officers from the force.
"I believe 100% that they were putting me in a position destined to fail. Cutting a police department that already had low staffing numbers, that was already struggling to keep up with the demand," Best told NPR after she stepped down. "How are we going to provide for adequate public safety in that environment?"
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Best left her position amid a tumultuous last few months on the job, highlighted by protests against systemic racism and police violence, following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protesters would take a six-block autonomous zone in the heart of the city's downtown for weeks – free of law enforcement presence – after police vacated a nearby precinct building.
In late July, Best lashed out against rioters after an explosive device left an eight-inch hole in a wall of a city police precinct building.
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“What we saw today was not peaceful,” Best said at the time, according to the Seattle Times. “The rioters had no regard for the public’s safety, for officers’ safety or for the businesses and property that they destroyed.”
Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.
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