Former chief urges community-led Seattle police reform

Feb 5, 2021
Written by wpengine

Carmen Best, Seattle’s former police chief, told MSNBC that successful police reform in the city must include community input.

“We haven’t been able to work with the community in the way we need to,” she said. “It has to be community led. Public safety is just that: public, everybody’s safety.”

In September 2020, Best retired as chief as the City Council moved to cut her pay and reduce police staffing. She’s now a law enforcement analyst for NBC News.

The Seattle Police Department, which remains under federal oversight, received criticism last year for conduct in response to demonstrations that sometimes devolved into rioting and property damage to many businesses.

In the December MSNBC interview, Best said police departments have to evolve to implement neighborhood ideas to earn respect and support from the people they are charged with protecting.

“My biggest fear is that we’re going to end the year tied to slogans and mantras, and we might fall short if we’re not laser-focused on moving things forward,” Best said.

Watch the interview here.