Chief Diaz’s Statement on Upcoming Council Budget Amendments

Good afternoon,  

About an hour from now, the City Council will vote on whether to eliminate 101 police officer positions. This would be devastating to our city’s already overwhelmed public safety system and demoralizing to the hardworking officers who have continued to serve our community through an increasingly difficult time. 

Over the past year we have already lost 325 officers to retirements, resignations, and cuts. That’s essentially like cutting our entire North, West and Southwest precincts. 

But the Council President’s amendment would permanently eliminate another 101 officers. This would greatly jeopardize the safety of our communities and have long term impacts on investigating violent crimes and caring for our most vulnerable. 

So, today, in a city with more than 163,000 people than 10 years ago, we cannot have fewer officers than we had in 2012.  

More cuts mean longer 911 response times, no staffing to adequately investigate violent crime, support large scale events, and if there is a natural disaster or major crisis, we cannot offer support to our local, state, and federal partners.  

I know we can retain and hire amazing officers – I see it every day – but the continuing message from some that less officers is the right path to public safety makes that nearly impossible. Right now, we have less officers than we need – and even if there were alternative response models – they currently aren’t in place, and are at least a year away. It is irresponsible to significantly undercut the police department before we have any solid plan, or evidence, about what number of officers we need. Cutting from SPD to fund other projects ignores a Charter responsibility of this city.   

The dedicated members of the SPD will continue to respond to calls for help, investigate crimes, and strive to provide the highest level of police services in the country. The idea that less resources is the way to fulfill that promise has no basis in reality.