I hope everyone had a nice break because we’re about to be in the thick of it again!
All right, time for the first Seattle City Council meeting of 2022! This isn’t an official live tweet but I’ll post when things happen that I think are interesting.
First up, today Debora Juarez was elected to be the Seattle City Council’s Council President, so from now on, she’ll have a CP in front of her name. In spite of predictions to the contrary, she left CM Herbold as the Chair of Public Safety and Human Services, and it will remain on its old meeting schedule of every other Tuesday morning. Here is the full committee assignment roster and schedule, provided by Erica C. Barnett of Publicola:
In an address this morning, new Mayor Harrell made a few comments about public safety in Seattle:
In his swearing-in speech, Harrell says that a “safe city needs the right kind and right number of police officers.” That number will be a biiig question mark in the coming years. Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell will be the point person on the issue of policing.
Harrell also seems to have refined the “different kind of police officer” he mentioned during the campaign into an “unarmed alternative responder” – not unfamiliar language, but more closely resembling what the council discussed last year.
This is another signal Mayor Harrell remains interested in alternate emergency response. He also said he wanted to give interim SPD Chief Diaz a chance to have his performance assessed at the job and will decide by the end of Q1 whether he’s going to conduct a nationwide search for a new police chief.
In other news, Court Monitor Oftelie and the CPC have announced three joint community engagement meetings
: one each in January, February, and March. The first meeting will be next Tuesday, January 11 at 6pm, covering the topic of crisis intervention and focusing on the following three questions:
- What ideas on policy and practices, systems, measures, and/or general innovations and change do you have to improve policing services for the City of Seattle?
- What new policies, research, and/or general innovations should the Seattle Community Policing Commission pursue in 2022?
- What policy and practice areas, if any, should the Federal Monitor oversee implementation on in 2022?
If you are interested in public safety in Seattle, I highly recommend attending this meeting. The other two meetings will be a discussion on stops and detentions on February 8 and a discussion on use of force on March 8.
WA State Legislative News
The next state legislative session begins on Monday, January 10–less than a week away! In the wake of the ongoing Omicron wave, it’s been announced that the session will once again be virtual, which is great news for everyone who would like to weigh in on legislative issues without hauling themselves out to Olympia on a weekday.
In addition to lawmakers going back to the table to take another look at HB 1310 and HB 1054, which were passed last session, other possible public safety bills that may be discussed include an independent prosecutor bill, a police discipline bill, a qualified immunity bill, a traffic stops bill, and a solitary confinement bill. There’s also a bill regarding odd year elections that should prove interesting. Expect more on these bills soon!