Retired Seattle officer warns about risks of defunding police, encourages more training

Alvin Little knows a little something about policing. He spent 35 years with the Seattle Police Department before retiring in 2019.

He worries about the negative consequences of defunding the department. 

"It's just really frustrating and I feel so bad for the men and women out there, because I know their hearts," said Little about his fellow officers.

He also understand reforms are necessary.

“I take off the uniform and I’m a black male. So I totally understand,” Little said.

Little has also been the target of racial profiling. He was pulled over by another police agency early in his career and questioned, he believes because of the color of his skin.

“The reason why many of us who are black and blue get on the police department is to change perceptions and to build those bridges so that we don’t have that contention,” he said.

He said if Seattle city leaders decide to defund the police, it will impact communities of color more than the city’s affluent neighborhoods.

“Broadmoor can afford their own private security. But for that working mom or that working family or that working dad.. they depend on law enforcement to protect their assets, their home, their car, their kids, their family,” said Little.

He also worries defunding police will put dedicated public servants in danger.

“If I get killed in the line of duty, does my Black life matter too? Because I sure would hope so,” he said.

Little has deep roots in the city. A community center in the Central District named after his grandmother. He loves Seattle, but feels deeply concerned about where its headed.

“Number one when your bosses hate you, it’s hard to be motivated,” he said.

He hopes elected leaders deciding whether to defund police or not, will listen to the officers on the front lines.

“How about reach out and see what cops do," he said. "Maybe we can come to a consensus or maybe not, but at least we have a dialogue.” 

For four years during his work as a police sergeant, Little trained other officers. He believes better police training is the answer to reducing police brutality, not defunding the department.