Seattle police officer Sergio Garcia is “devastated” by Carmen Best’s decision to retire as police chief and believes the Seattle City Council, which voted in favor of measures effectively defunding police, is reacting with “no plan.”
Garcia, during a recent appearance on the Jason Rantz Show, explained why he is “devastated” over Best’s resignation. He said he originally moved to the area, in part, for the “agency, for the achievement that she made, her administration had made, for accountability, transparency, and just the oversight.”
Being a person of color myself and coming to a place that’s not as diverse as where I’m originally from, it was a great feeling working for somebody who did truly believe in equality, that truly believed in the police department and building a better department for the community.
Best announced her resignation following the Seattle City Council’s vote to defund police, decreasing the number of personnel “by as many as 100 officers through layoffs and attrition” and effectively dismantling the homeless encampment Navigation Team.
Best said her decision is rooted in the “overarching lack of respect for the officers.”
“This is not about the money, and it certainly isn’t about the demonstrators. Be real, I have a lot thicker skin than that,” she said during a Tuesday press conference. “It really is about the overarching lack of respect for the officers, the men, and women who work so hard day in and day out.”
And honestly, the idea of letting —after we worked so incredibly hard to make sure our department was diverse, that reflected the community we serve to just turn that all on a dime and hack it off without having a plan in place to move forward is highly distressful for me. It goes against my principles and my convictions, and I really couldn’t do it.
Like Best, Garcia is also concerned the council, despite its vote, does not have a viable plan. He noted the council “has no idea how the police department works.”
“I think the most concerning part is making cuts without really having a plan to replace what we’re losing. Where is that money going to go? In a city where there is a lack of accountability for government and elected officials, here we are giving them more money, to do what?” he asked, emphasizing the “important role” of the Navigation Team, which dealt with “some of the more dangerous encampments that have popped up in the city.”
“They would get the training and they had the correct relationships with the department and other nonprofits to get assistance and address these issues when they got out of hand,” he explained, wondering who the council believes will replace them.
“So what are we replacing that with? What’s the plan, what do we do? That’s the most concerning part. This is just a reaction with no plan,” he said.
While he said it is important to examine policing nationwide and address “concerning” happenings, he believes locals need to focus on the Seattle Police Department and what it has accomplished.