SEATTLE, WA—Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best announced her resignation during a press conference on Tuesday, August 11.
Best, who has been with the department since 1992 and has served as Police Chief since 2018, will formally resign on September 2.
“Being the Seattle Police Chief was the dream of a lifetime and the men and women of the SPD will always have my love and respect,” Best tweeted.
Chief Best’s resignation comes the day after the Seattle City Council voted to cut the police department’s budget by almost $4 million.
The vote cuts 32 patrol officers and reduces “specialized units including officers assigned to mounted unit, school resource officers, homeland security, harbor patrol, and SWAT team officers,” according to a news release from the Seattle City Council.
Best criticized the council’s actions to reduce the police department’s budget.
“The Council gave us $1.6 million to hire the best, brightest and most diverse. Now they want me to layoff 100 of those officers. I can’t do that,” Best said in another tweet. “I don’t want the people who work for me to be impacted by the animus directed toward me. That animus felt personal.”
Several Seattle City Council members issued statements regarding Best’s resignation.
“I am deeply saddened by the resignation of our Police Chief Carmen Best,” Councilmemeber Alex Pedersen said in a statement. “Chief Best has served Seattle faithfully and honorably for decades.”
In a statement issued on August 10, Seattle City Council President Maria Lorena González said the overarching goal of the budget measures is to “provide support for more affordable housing, continue to build vibrant communities, and to invest in programs that correct intergenerational wrongs.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who has been supportive of Best and critical of the city council, said it is a “hard day” for the city.
“I have no doubt that she will continue to lead, fight for what is right, be a voice for equity, and change policing and other systems that have perpetuated inequity,” Durkan tweeted. “Unfortunately, she will not do it here in Seattle as our Chief of Police.”
Deputy Chief of Police Adrian Diaz will take over as Interim Chief in September. Diaz said in the press conference that “re-envisioning public safety, defunding the police, and the discussion of the role race plays in governmental systems” are at the forefront of the department’s challenges.
“Chief Diaz has spent his career elevating the voices of young people, and I am grateful for his willingness to meet the challenge,” Durkan said in another tweet.