Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best Resigns Amid Rising Tension in Seattle

August 12, 2020Joshua Skovlund
Chief Best

Chief Best during her resignation explanation press brief. Screen grab from Facebook Live.

Seattle’s Chief of Police, Carmen Best, announced to her department her decision to resign Monday night. The announcement came the same day the city council voted to cut approximately $3 million in funding from the Seattle Police Department, potentially forcing layoffs within the department as well as leadership salary cuts.

Best, the first Black female to lead the Seattle Police Department, started her Tuesday press conference by quoting a former boss, saying, “When you know it’s time to go, you know it’s time to go.” She had served nearly three decades with the Seattle Police Department.

Best didn’t state exactly why she is resigning but talked about the city council’s decision to cut funding to the department without her knowledge.

“I definitely think it’s personal, but with that said, I’m stepping out of the way and doing what a real leader would do and focusing on what’s going to help the organization and the city move forward,” she said Tuesday at the press conference.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durken weighed in as well: “I will admit, that’s why it has been so mystifying to watch the city council plow ahead, without ever consulting her, talking to her, or listening to her pleas to be thoughtful, not to set artificial targets, but instead to have a plan, a plan that focuses on duties, mission and outcomes.

“And that’s why it was both infuriating and deeply disappointing that the day after the chief stood in this room and criticized the council’s approach, offered her own approach and vision, the very next day they voted to slash her salary and the salaries of her whole team.”

The Seattle City Council voted and passed a motion to cut approximately $3 million in funding and up to 100 officers from the Seattle Police Department. Not long after the announcement, Best sent out an internal department email to her fellow officers announcing her plans to resign.

The letter was first obtained by Jason Rantz, a local Seattle radio host. The letter revealed that Best’s last day on the job will be Sept. 2, 2020.

“I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times,” Best wrote in the letter. “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.”

Seattle Police Department Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz will step into the Interim Chief of Police position until another candidate is selected.

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.

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