Re: “Seattle City Council members propose police layoffs but say they can’t defund by 50% right away” [Aug. 3, Northwest]:
We have a historic opportunity to change the way public safety is accomplished in Seattle by moving to approaches which reduce the use of force and address systemic racism. The country will be watching closely to see if we are successful and will either use us as a model to emulate or as a cautionary tale of how to fail.
Immediately reducing the size of the force as a policy statement without first fully understanding what you are sacrificing and without developing an alternative to protect public safety will result in disaster.
I urge the Seattle City Council to slow down and work with Mayor Jenny Durkan, Chief Carmen Best, Black community leaders, business leaders and other community stakeholders to create a strategy, develop a plan and then work on implementing it.
Cutting the police force is not the first step in the process if you genuinely want this to be a model of success for the people of Seattle rather than an example to be avoided by other cities.
Karen Gielen, Seattle