U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Hours after the Seattle City Council voted to reduce the police department budget and cut the police chief’s salary, Police Chief Carmen Best announced she will retire next month, setting off a shockwave reaching from Seattle to Fox News in New York, and now the question arises: Will this lead to anarchy?
The development is making national headlines, and local residents are worried. Popular Seattle talk host John Carlson at KVI-AM already mentioned “Recall” as one possible result of the council action.
Suddenly, the July 16 recommendation to Seattle residents from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is making lots of sense. CCRKBA advised Seattleites to buy guns, seek competent training and demand that Seattle Police resume taking applications for concealed pistol licenses.
“While the city council may believe crippling its police department is a politically smart move,” CCRKBA Chairman Gottlieb observed at the time, “it’s going to directly impact public safety. Nobody should be surprised when more people buy guns and apply for carry licenses, only in Seattle and King County, applying for a CPL hasn’t been possible since March.”
Ironically, when Seattle adopted its gun and ammunition tax five years ago, it pushed gun shops out of the city, so residents will have to go outside the city to arm themselves.
According to Seattle’s KING 5 News—the local NBC affiliate—the cuts “could reduce the police department by up to 100 officers through layoffs and attrition. Seattle has about 1,400 police officers and the reductions fall far short of the 50% cut to the department that many Black Lives Matter protesters were seeking.”
Best’s impending departure comes nearly two years after she was appointed to the position by Mayor Jenny Durkan. She is the first Black woman to serve as a police chief in the city, and the council’s public reduction of her salary is taking on racial overtones.
Here is the text of a message Best sent to Seattle police officers:
“To the Women and Men of the Seattle Police Department – I wanted to notify you that I will be retiring from the Seattle Police Department, effective September 2nd, 2020. I wanted to hear this from me, but some media have reached this conclusion on their own. This was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time. I want to thank Mayor Durkan for her continuous support through good time and tough times. I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times. You truly are the best police department in the country, and please trust me when I say, the vast majority of people in Seattle support you and appreciate you. I am impressed daily at your skill, your compassion, and your dedication. I am thankful my command team has agreed to continue serving the department, and that Mayor Durkan has appointed Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz as the interim police Chief of Police. Chief Diaz shares my commitment to this department and has the trust of the community. I look 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. After more than 28 years, I am so thankful for the time I spent at SPD. You are my family. You will always be in my heart. We have had tough times before and come out better on the other side. I am glad I pushed through each of those tough times with you. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as your chief. Remember to take care of one another.”
Ironically, the council member largely responsible for starting the effort to defund police—Socialist firebrand Kshama Sawant—was the sole vote against the cuts because she believes the council did not cut enough money from the police budget. She wanted to slash 50 percent of the agency’s funds.
Sawant and her far-left council colleagues were evidently unmoved by a Sunday rally that brought an estimated 2,000 people to the steps of city hall to support the police department.
Best has been with the department for 28 years. She is highly respected by officers and by the public. But for the past few months, the department has been under siege from far-left demonstrators, protesting under the Black Lives Matter banner since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In mid-March, Seattle police, along with many other Washington agencies, stopped accepting new CPL applications, using the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing requirements as the reason. But that was more than four months ago, and local residents are tired of waiting.
Yet, people have been buying firearms and ammunition at a record pace, first in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic panic, but now largely due to the kinds of occasionally violent protests that have hit Seattle and other cities in recent weeks. Washington has one of the highest per-capita percentages of concealed carry of any state in the nation, typically falling in the Top Ten states for active carry licenses.
There are concerns that the council’s budget-cutting crusade could turn the entire city into what was experienced over more than two weeks when protesters took over six blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, calling it the “CHOP” (for Capitol Hill Organized Protest) zone. They kept police largely out of the zone, instead arming volunteer “security” officers.
Police eventually moved in to move the protesters out, but it took two homicides and four other non-fatal shootings to make it happen.
The cuts are not likely to stop. Published reports suggest the city council will consider more reductions for 2021, adding to the alarm many city residents already have.
If the recall is the next step, there is a mechanism recognized in the Seattle municipal code:
“Sec. 2 city council, members
“Subdivision C. POWERS—LIMITATIONS—RECALL: All the powers of the City Council shall be exercised subject to initiative and referendum powers of the people as set forth herein. The members of the City Council shall be subject to recall in the manner provided by law.” (Highlights in original document.)
The city council’s action may play into the state gubernatorial election in November. Two-term Gov. Jay Inslee has been somewhat tepid in his reaction to what has been happening in the city. At one point during a press conference in early June, he was asked about the demonstration that originally established the “CHOP Zone,” and his reply was “That’s news to me.”
Inslee is considered part of the leftward movement of the Democrat party, and his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak by virtually shutting down business in Washington State and then repeatedly moving back a date for re-opening has infuriated conservatives, and at least some Democrats.
With this latest development in Seattle, his opponent’s occupation—police chief in a small Eastern Washington city—takes on new overtones. Republican Loren Culp has a ready-made campaign issue thanks to the badge he wears. All of the destructive demonstrations in Seattle have happened on Inslee’s watch.
Since his surprise primary win, Culp has picked up a couple of key endorsements from former rivals for the Republican nomination, yet he still has an uphill battle to win the election Nov. 3.
About Dave Workman