Councilmember Strauss Statement in Response to Chief Best Announcing Her Retirement

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Councilmember Dan Strauss (District 6 – NW Seattle) issued the following statement in response to Chief Carmen Best announcing her retirement:

“I am saddened by Chief Best’s decision to retire after 28 years of service – this is a tremendous loss for our city. Chief Best was in an impossible position, caught between the Police Union and the Mayor.  

“I spoke to Chief Best last month and I reiterated that she could call me at any time.  When she came to my district the evening of my town hall, I made sure my staff was with her and I included her officer on my town hall panel.  The last thing I said to Chief Best is that she is ‘the best’.  I still believe this to be true today.

“The problems of a week ago are now even more difficult because of a loss of leadership. Simply changing who is at the top does not solve the problems we face. When I ran for office I believed that simply expanding the Seattle Police Department was the answer to increasing public safety and reform was working. I believed this until we witnessed days of tear gas used on Seattleites that was excessive and not proportional for the response required. If using military grade weapons on our own residents is the product of nearly a decade of reform work – then we need to reevaluate our approach. I still believe we need to hire more people to provide public safety services to Seattlites.  

“I look forward to continuing to listen and work with community leaders, Mayor Durkan, Chief Best, and I want to welcome Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz to his new role as Interim Chief.

“I look forward to collaborating with Interim Chief Diaz on the upcoming budget session to right-size our first response and bring systemic change to our public safety system.”