Why Did SPD Chief Carmen Best Call It Quits?

Comments

2

If only our leaders were so sentimental about transit staff.

3

"We WILL stop
the teargassing of
peaceful protesters."

Until we decided otherwise.
Adios.

4

Why? Because she doesn't want to be a cop anymore. Good riddance!

5

"Why Did SPD Chief Carmen Best Call It Quits?"

The admirable, but difficult, job of reforming the SPD became simplistic "defund 50%" slogan when the Seattle City Council decided actual oversight of the executive branch was just too gosh-darned hard. So our Council started trying to de-fund SPD. As our own divine Mrs. Vel-DuRay then told us, there are things called "union contracts" and "laws" which prevent an immediate 50% defund. (And the federal judiciary reminded our Council of the Consent Decree, another legal obstacle to sudden changes in SPD budgets.) So, the Council took out their petulant frustration on Chief Best's salary. Then she quit.

Or, as BLM Seattle-King County put it,

"Today’s news of the retirement of Chief Carmen Best is a loss. It does nothing to further our fight for authentic police accountability and the safety of Black lives, that the first Black woman to hold the position of Chief of Police of the Seattle Police Department has been forced out of her job by the Seattle City Council."

(https://blacklivesseattle.org/black-lives-matter-seattle-king-county-statement-on-retirement-of-chief-of-police-carmen-best/)

6

Because a big pay cut was coming down the pipe that probably made taking a pension now pencil out better than after the cut.

Police Chiefing is a J-O-B, which people do for M-O-N-E-Y. That's why.

7

Seattle has become a left wing version of the Tea Party.
Don't believe ne? Just go to the I D, Western Ave, Westlake (in addition to Capitol Hill), and gaze on the boarded up buildings.Lots of that artwork is great!
But Seattle is now ungovernable. Our string of one term mayors shows this.

8

@7 You don't think that maybe the boarded up businesses has more to do with the Covid?

9

One of the most infuriating things about the hard right anti-tax movement is their insistence that government workers are all incompetent, and the solution to that problem is to cut their pay, which will magically result in better employees being hired. It's amazing to watch the city council in Seattle come to the exact same conclusion.

Governance by fantasy is something that Democrats should leave to the GOP. If the Seattle city council thinks that the way to attract high quality employees is to underpay them relative to the market, they've truly become no different than Tim Eyman.

10

"This isn't about money," Best said, during the conference, adding that she would have entered a different profession if she cared about making money.

Bet she's about to enter a different profession that is going to make a lot of money.

11

Because she thought she was in charge of Seattle and that our citizens were her serfs, but we made her realize that we were in charge of Seattle and it's our city, not hers.

That plus she had already raked in enough cash to buy three homes and cash out.

... oh, you wanted me to say something to pretend she cared ...

... how special ...

12

cough Fox News Consultant cough

13

Well, I guess this puts to rest once-and-for-all the canard that Conservatives care about cutting gubbamint spending...

14

I heard it went down like this . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmgbiMf99NQ

16

Best is retiring because her pension is fully vested, and there will be salary cuts for top-level SPD executives before the end of the year. Since she was making 330k per year while she was chief, and pension payments for SPD retirees is determined by averaging pay based on your top 5 earning years (it may actually be top 4, I forget exactly), now would be the ideal time for her to pull out while the money's hot. She'll almost certainly end up getting a top cop job in another city and continue to make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in base salary + pension payouts, so this costs her nothing except for a change of clothes and a new zipcode.

Always follow the money, y'all.

17

@15: Her family huh.

18

I'm sorry Nathalie. Mrs Best is not the councils or your movements slave. She was disrespected and shown exactly what the council thought of her.
P. S Nobody is wondering whey she quit. Do you think we are stupid?

19

Seattle continues its slow decline, bleeding jobs, people, and business. The only growth industries are the homeless and Amazon, and Amazon is pulling out as quick as they are able.

21

@1 Police and Firefighter pensions paid in Washington state are not directly paid by the city and have no bearing on the city budget. LEOFF 2 (Law Enforcement and Fire Fighters pension system 2) is a state pension system. Only pension contributions made during the employee's tenure affect the city budget.
While employees are working, pension contributions are made by the employee (8.59% of their salary), the city (5.15% of the employee's salary) and the state (3.44% of their salary) into the pension fund. Pensions are paid out of that fund. LEOFF 2 was 108% funded in 2018 (see the link below).

https://leoff.wa.gov/member-resources/demographics-faqs

Members of LEOFF 2 do not participate in Social Security unless they have/had other qualifying employment.

@6 Her pension wouldn't have decreased. It just wouldn't have increased if her pay was cut substantially.

@ 16 It's the highest aggregate salary over a consecutive 60 month period that it is based upon for LEOFF 2. She wasn't the Chief for 5 years so she could likely have increased her pension benefit had she stayed at a salary of 275K. The rank she was at previously made about 200K at the time. She'd probably have to leave the state to both collect her pension and collect a salary as a police officer.

22

@19 the last time I saw actual numbers (rather than the poisonous fantasies of haters) it was housing prices up in spite of the covid.

But cheer up - if you wait long enough all events will eventually happen in an infinite universe

24

"Best—who was all smiles and laughs during the conference..."

I watched it. I even heard you ask your question, Nathalie. Your description robs a Black woman of her agency in that she was sombre, near-tearful, solemn and over it, in parts, during her time at the podium. Maybe Black people just shuck and grin a lot in your world.

25

A victory for all minorities, getting rid of the black, female police chief. Fantastic win everyone, wrap it up and head to Quiznos for a victory taco. This is the mark of a spineless city council, without a plan, with a knee jerk response, humiliating the leader of the local police force and putting the city in a shaky position to recruit and retain good cops and leaders. Good work everyone. Good work.

26

Carmen Best is a good person and capable police chief who deserves a level of respect she and her staff were not shown by the council. Nathalie: there is no metatext or coded message to decipher here. Carmen made it unmistakably clear today she was reacting to the council's treatment of her and her staff and the police department generally. She repeatedly praised and thanked Mayor Durkan, who obviously is not going to quit and who, unlike the council, has not been politically damaged by this development. And I respect Carmen Best's word: I don't think this is primarily about the money. She's been fed up with the council for a while and finally reached the breaking point. The reduction of her salary by over $100,000, the equivalent cuts to her staff's salary, the refusal of the council to consult with her about proposed changes--all made her feel disrespected. She's not a housemaid and won't tolerate pious liberal condescension any more than she'll tolerate overt bigotry. Her quitting has proven somewhat embarrassing for some on the left, because they see themselves as the great defenders of people of color. Carmen isn't having it. As Ron Sims noted: council members might call themselves liberal (and feel all righteous and huffy about protecting people of color), but that doesn't give them the right to humiliate a person the way they did Carmen Best. Again, good for her. Progressives' fear of acknowledging their own racism is not her problem. She has a life to lead. Good for you, Carmen!

27

I love reading Natalie take snarky jabs at women of color who dedicated their life to public service. And see city council cut the salary of said woman of color before cutting their own salaries. Then both falling back on the "protesters wants" to make it okay. Couldn't be a more clear case of white privilege and class warfare.

28

Hahaha. Look at all the new Dory Monson trolls!

You know that if Best had defied SPOG the Rightwing trolls would be demanding her resignation and screaming how race is irrelevant.

29

Crisp & succinct focus by Angelica Chazaro:
" "This is not about 'good apples' or 'bad apples' in SPD. It’s about rethinking how we achieve real safety in this city for Black communities, and about acknowledging that continuing to pour money into policing will not get us there." "

Straight up.

I still want to know who's decision it was to unleash two weeks worth of nutso police brutality on demonstrations against police brutality.
Best's? Durkan's? A combination of both of them? Or was it the officers themselves vindictively acting on their own, making their chief & mayor look atrocious? I'm willing to entertain all options, I just want to know.

30

@10 - Police Consulting! =D

31

@8, No, there are several reasons downtown businesses boarded up windows and doors with plywood. Keeping out the Corvid virus is not one of them. Windows, if allowed to remain, would be more than sufficient for that. Think again Idiot.

32

Can anyone make the argument that the City Council handled this well?

33

Na na na-na! Na na na-na! Hey, hey! Goodbye!

See how they cry when we take their money? Let’s take some more of it, and keep on taking until they learn to stop killing and beating us.

34

@33 -- there's prolly more than
a Few in blue willing to happily
beat hippies' Blacks' and
journalists heads and
all for Pro Bono.

@jackky -- 'think again Idiot:'
another Perfect projection.

hint: glass will NOT stop the spread of CV-IXX
but stopping trumpf et Ignoramuses will surely Help.

35

Seattle’s tea party left is mirroring the alt right. It is a sad day for Seattle.

36

You know, maybe if we just gave every Black person a police uniform and a gun, the chuds would stop mewling about the evil influences of "black culture?"

38

@wat,me?: better clean your jeans

rbs, you may well be onto something:

IF we supplied Every Black person with a Gun
terrified Reptilcans'd Outlaw personal possession
of firearms post-fawking-haste (that means: like, yesterday).

40

@39 Nice to see you've come around to the idea that racism might be a problem somehow, somewhere in America.

41

"As for Durkan... well, she'll continue to position herself at odds with the council, since it's the only play she has left."

And it's a good one, too, if our Council continues flailing this miserably.

Will our Council actually attempt to do their jobs now, or will this failed attempt at a virtue-signaling pose become the final flame-out of their efforts to reform SPD?

42

@41 Oh hey you're right if the people really get upset they might express their preference for Council members in an election.

There is no such thing as 2018, the number is forbidden, to think it is to unthink it.

43

@42 You can have Starbucks, or you can not have tear gas, but you can't do both, RS. Durkan and Best understand this, sadly the city council, and probably a majority of the electorate as well, does not.

45

Sounds like that thing where crowds of protesters show up at a public official's house to intimidate them really works.

46

@45 Weird, then, that Herbold, Mosqueda, Gonzales, Constantine, and Durkan haven't resigned.

Maybe they're all just tougher in the face of intimidation than the Chief of Police?

47

Seattle is fucked. It was never easy to get a cop when you needed one to begin with. I hope y'all have Ksharma's personal phone number on speed dial so she can come help you out when you're in trouble.

49

@47 Huh, I thought the way we were all supposed to deal with "trouble" was to go out and buy three assault rifles for each family member.

Now you're saying we should be calling the police instead?

50

@48 What?

51

@47 what's a cop? Only time I see any are when there's a parade or a protest, other than this one time a few years back.

Oh, and near light rail stations.

53

Fredt, what seems like common sense to many of us is too much reason for these strangers.

55

@54 You're in luck, there are regularly scheduled elections for that?

Weird though that the chuds don't seem to remember how their very confident predictions for the last one turned out.

56

Rule rule of law means that everyone is a "slave" to democratically passed laws. In contrast, t,he police believe that respect for officers means we can't layoff officers, and that elected officials merely suggesting ways the police chief can lay off bad cops first is overreaching and micromanaging, and that unanimously passed ordinances should be stopped in court in favor of a process where police voices are heard and respected (the consent decree Durkan wrote does this at each step in the process).

In short, to avoid being a police state the voters via their elected representatives must control the police but police find this disrespectful and think they alone should be the deciders. Whether or not you like the council's specific policy, at stake is whether we have local democracy or a local police state.

57

@52: I don't think the Clowncil is hostile to Blacks per se (I'm sure they're working overtime to figure out how to shovel money to Nikkita Oliver, just like they gave CHAZ 'warlord' Raz Simone tens of thousands of dollars to build a recording studio), they are hostile to Blacks who don't behave as they feel Black people should behave.

Chief Best was a consummate professional who put her City, her cops, and her professional integrity before racial politics and Political Correctness. In the eyes of the Clowncil, she was unforgivably 'off the reservation', and was duly punished for it.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the whipping post. Rather than bow her head, tug and her forelock and Steppin Fetchit her back to the Plantation to do the SCC 'Massas' bidding, she stood tall, gave them all a big black middle finger, said 'blow this for a game of soldiers', and strode off into the sunset (and no doubt some sweet consulting and speaking gigs).

It is no surprise to see shameless opportunists like D1's Herbold standing around slackjawed, saying, 'We're shocked - shocked, we say! - at this resignation!

Make no mistake: all this stopped being about George Floyd and equity in policing a LONG time ago. Sawant, Oliver, and the rest of the Radical Left have completely co-opted this thing and turned it into a thuggish grab for power, money, and property.

The Clowncil has totally caved to the Mob. Their craven cowardice and refusal to fulfill their primary duty of ensuring public safety brings to mind the words of Winston Churchill to Neville Chamberlain in 1939:

"You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war."

The

58

@42: "Oh hey you're right if the people really get upset they might express their preference for Council members in an election."

Here in West Seattle, we expressed our preference for the City Council candidate who said this:

'Regarding support for police, she says the “most objective measure” she can point to is continuing to vote for increasing SPD’s funding, plus back pay in the new contract, and hiring bonuses.'

(https://westseattleblog.com/2019/07/election-2019-talking-with-city-council-district-1-incumbent-lisa-herbold/)

So, that's what we here in West Seattle voted to have. What, exactly, do you suggest we do to get it?

(Note: all quotes from 2019. As in later than 2018. Also not 2018. Not 2018, too.)

59

@16:

Why would she need to change zip codes? Her previous job apparently didn't require it, so I assume she'll be able to keep at least one of her current residences...

60

@19:

And yet, our population continues to grow, even in the midst of a pandemic - strange how that works, amiright?

https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/seattle-wa-population

61

@46:

I'm guessing it never occurred to her that anyone would drive from Seattle all the way to Snohomish just to call her out - her neighbors certainly didn't.

62

@51:

Don't forget outside parking garages - because apparently downtown office workers need special help pulling into traffic...

63

@60 COMTE: The current PNW regional building boom going on is insane. We're in a global pandemic! There are few to zero sustainable wage jobs actually available--ANYWHERE. Just what we don't need: miles upon miles of clear-cut once open wilderness and farmlands, rezoned "commercial" and built up full of empty spaces For Lease.

64

There will always be a home for stooges on FOX News. Especially ones who protect bad cops from firing. Good riddance to her.

65

The problem is this...if the funding levels for the police are not drastically cut-or worse yet, if they are increased like authoritarian types like tensor and mistral want-none of what's wrong in the SPD can ever be changed.

66

I am glad chief Best has chosen to retire. I respect those who know themselves well enough to know when they are not up to the task at hand. She can retire with a generous pension due to the largess of Seattle taxpayers, and room will be made for a new (hopefully) outsider PC with experience and leadership in deescalation and community engagement.

It is a win-win for everyone.

67

@65: What's the connection between funding levels and police reform? It seems to be assumed by the "defund" crowd, but no basis for that assumption has ever been given. Perhaps you can tell us what it is?

(Also, I didn't say I wanted an increase in funds for SPD. I said the voters of District 1 had, collectively, returned to office the Council Member who'd touted her increasing of funding levels for SPD. I never said nor implied my agreement with that collective decision.)

68

@67: The connection is that maintaining the existing levels of funding, of increasing them-for the record, tensor, I didn't claim that you personally an increase- is always going to be taken by the the SPD as an unqualified endorsement for the status quo, thus once again preventing any change, as has been the case with every police reform effort in Seattle history. It's impossible to support the existing level of police funding AND make any sincere call for anything to change.

Also- as you know- without significantly cutting funds for SPD, the funds cannot be found to deal with the root causes of crime-which, as always, are poverty and the lack of any other means to get out of poverty in the post-1980 economy- and drug decriminalization-the change that would do more than anything else to reduce crime and make it possible to offer non-judgmental support methods for people seeking to move past substance abuse without risking arrest for admitting they use drugs-
because the police will always use their legislative clout to block drug decriminalization in the legislature and in Congress and will always argue that preservation of their existing funding levels by municipal governments means that the municipal governments are endorsing everything they do- and when they say that, that always ends the discussion and the right-wing Nixon/Agnew/Wallace/Trump approach will always be preserved.

That's why there's no difference between preserving continued full funding for the police and opposing any change in what the police do at all.

And it's why the term "police reform" is now totally and permanently discredited- why it's now nothing but code but "say a few catch phrases, then stall a few months until you think it's all blown over, and go back to letting the cops go full Dirty Harry on everybody black and brown and young and red.

69

@68: Thank you for providing the grounds for believing that defunding the police will lead to police reform. Let's examine those grounds, shall we?

"The connection is that maintaining the existing levels of funding, of increasing them ... is always going to be taken by the the SPD as an unqualified endorsement for the status quo,"

In fact, increasing police budgets can be a way of saying we're not happy with the status quo, as in the crime rate is too high. So, your assumption is not valid.

"thus once again preventing any change, as has been the case with every police reform effort in Seattle history."

The SPD spied upon law-abiding citizens who opposed the American war in Viet Nam. When this illegal surveillance was discovered, it was outlawed. Have you any evidence the SPD has since been spying on potential or actual protesters? If not, then this assumption is also invalid.

"It's impossible to support the existing level of police funding AND make any sincere call for anything to change."

This statement is based upon the same two invalid assumptions, and therefore is also not valid.

"...without significantly cutting funds for SPD, the funds cannot be found to deal with the root causes of crime..."

The SPD budget is less than a half-billion dollars, from a city budget which is well over $5 billion. So the level of funding of the SPD is not significant when considered against the overall city budget. We can either do better with the budget we have, or seek new revenue sources. There's no connection between supporting a given level of funding for SPD, and reducing some root sources of crime.

"...which, as always, are poverty and the lack of any other means to get out of poverty..."

Given the number of well-off white guys who get imprisoned for financial crimes, I'd say this assumption just went invalid as well.

"...because the police will always use their legislative clout to block drug decriminalization in the legislature ..."

And yet, recreational usage of cannabis is now legal in Washington state. So, no excuses for those of us who want all other recreational drug use de-criminalized as well. The police haven't stopped us with cannabis, and we shouldn't assume they will stop us now. De-criminalization of sex work, along the same lines as de-criminalization of cannabis production, distribution, and use (regulated and taxed), will also deprive the police of work which has historically corrupted them. Then, we'll be well on the way to justifying lower budgets for the police.

"That's why there's no difference between preserving continued full funding for the police and opposing any change in what the police do at all."

Again, this is based upon nothing but a pile of invalid assumptions.

'And it's why the term "police reform" is now totally and permanently discredited-'

While "defund" got there a lot faster!

70

Best quit in a huff, because she couldn't protect her dirty cops any longer. Good effing riddance.