NICJR

Real Change Reporting Reveals Federal Monitor Oftelie Getting Cozy with SPD

Seattle News

In a fascinating piece of reporting in Real Change, Glen Stellmacher wrote about how SPD and the City of Seattle controlled the media narrative around the 2020 protests and the Defund Movement. I highly recommend reading the entire article, but here are some key points:

  • In a June 19, 2020 survey, SPD leadership recommended at least 12 areas of service within SPD that would be better with civilian employees.
  • In the face of defund demands, SPD claimed they would have to cut the SW precinct, SWAT, or traffic enforcement if cuts went too far. However, this narrative was shown to be false by both the June 19, 2020 and June 27, 2020 surveys of SPD leadership.
  • By August 2020, SPD and the City were aware that 45% of SPD patrol service hours didn’t require an officer. However, Mayor Durkan requested a second IDT; the results, not available until June 2021, also said nearly half of calls could be handled by a civilian response. At that point, you may remember SPD insisted on a risk managed demand report, which wasn’t completed until September 2022.
  • SPD played with the numbers to make the loss of diversity in the force, should there be layoffs, seem as bad as possible.
  • It appears then-SPD Chief Strategy Officer Chris Fischer may have ghost-written a Crosscut op-ed for Antonio Oftelie; Crosscut says they didn’t know SPD was involved and has since removed the op-ed from their site. Two days after publication, SPD’s Executive Director of Legal Affairs was pushing for Oftelie to be named the new Monitor of the consent decree. He was named the new Monitor the next month, beating out several qualified candidates. 

This Sunday, July 23 from 12-7pm in Othello Park, there will be a Participatory Budgeting cookout to launch the idea collection phase of participatory budgeting. You can also submit a proposal here.

In a court ruling this week, a judge ruled the City of Seattle has been using an overbroad definition of “obstruction” to justify its sweeps activity, writing that it constitutes “cruel punishment.” The definition was expanded in 2017, increasing obstruction removals in the City. The lawsuit is scheduled for trial in September.

On Tuesday, an SPD officer shot a man downtown. SPD is supposed to release video footage of what happened within 72 hours.

The Office of Police Accountability (OPA) is investigating the incident of the mock tombstone of a man killed by SPD police displayed in an SPD breakroom. Chief Diaz has ordered inspections of precinct HQs for other potential inappropriate displays. At a CPC meeting this week, Chief Diaz had very little information to share.

And finally, it’s supplemental budget time! The proposed supplemental budget includes around $815k in additional funding for SPD, including increasing overtime to pay for more downtown emphasis patrols, paying for additional online crime reporting, and hiring six civilian positions, including four new public disclosure officers. It also adds an additional $19 million for the City to pay for lawsuits, many of which are related to police misconduct. The City already added $11 million to the 2023 for lawsuits last year, but apparently that wasn’t enough.

In addition, the supplemental budget funds a graffiti clean-up team, and because the contracts have already been executed, the Mayor’s Office has potentially forced the Council’s hand into cutting other Seattle Public Utilities programs to pay for this. More money is also being requested for the CSCC for its dual dispatch pilot and updating its call center technology and for OIG to take over the consent decree’s Monitor duties. 

There is a vote scheduled on the supplemental budget on the morning of August 2. 

Recent Headlines

Real Change Reporting Reveals Federal Monitor Oftelie Getting Cozy with SPD Read More »

Continued Institutional Resistance to a Civilian Alternate Response Service in Seattle

Seattle Public Safety Committee Meeting

Amy Sundberg
Good morning, and welcome to Seattle’s Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting! Everyone is here, and we’ll be hearing about the 911 call type for civilian response report status, CM Nelson’s resolution re SPD hiring incentives and CM Herbold’s related legislation.

We had a doozy of a Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting yesterday morning.

911 Call Types and Risk Management Status Report

First the committee members listened to a presentation on the status of SPD’s 911 call analysis/risk analysis, attempting to determine which calls could be answered by a civilian response. Present for this report were Director of Public Safety Andrew Myerberg and SPD’s Brian Maxey and Loren Atherley. As you may recall, last year a NICJR report on this subject found that almost 50% of 911 calls could be eligible for a non-officer response. At that time SPD agreed on 12% of calls that could benefit from this type of response, a consensus that led to the proposal of the (now probably defunct before it even started) Triage One program.
Now, however, SPD is walking back from even that low 12% number, saying it was simply a rough estimate and that the analysis they’re doing now is much more sophisticated. So sophisticated, in fact, that instead of classifying call types into 300 call types like NICJR, they’ve broken them into 41,900 types. No, those zeroes aren’t typos. Unfortunately, SPD’s highly technical presentation was not made available to the public ahead of time and is still unavailable at the time of this publication.
This presentation raised a few salient points. First, SPD has already been working on this analysis for quite some time, and they’re still not finished. They hope to have a populated risk matrix to present to the Council in July. Meanwhile, in spite of council member encouragement to stage the work (most of the CMs seem eager to move forward after two years of unmet promises to community), Andrew Myerberg sounds reluctant to push forward with much of the work until the SPD report is entirely finished…which may be July or even later. He mentioned he might be able to provide a timeline of when the City will stand up related work groups (not, you may notice, when they might be able to launch an actual pilot program).
Second, CM Lewis brought up the excellent point that several other cities have managed to stand up successful alternate response programs without doing this complex risk analysis: most notably, the STAR program in Denver, a comparably-sized city that has had such success with STAR they’re in the process of greatly expanding it. CM Pedersen also referenced a similar pilot that launched in Oakland, CA last month. CM Lewis asked why we weren’t visiting Denver and other relevant cities and learning from the work already done there.
The answers were revealing, to say the least. Andrew Myerberg’s response was that they had been studying such programs but wanted to wait until the data analysis and risk mitigation work was done. SPD’s Brian Maxey said he’d met with Denver’s STAR and that they’d developed call center protocols for triaging calls but hadn’t done a risk assessment like SPD is doing now.
However, Brian Maxey had two reasons to offer as to why Denver’s success wasn’t relevant to Seattle. First, he said in Denver there was an organic group that said they were interested in providing such an alternate response service. To this, CM Lewis said he was aware of several such groups in Seattle and would be happy to coordinate connections in this regard. Second, Brian Maxey said STAR mostly responds to calls that police didn’t historically respond to. CM Lewis rebutted this false claim, saying that of 2700 calls answered in the STAR pilot, 2294 of those calls would have in fact been responded to by the police. For those not wanting to do the math, that’s almost 85% of the total calls answered by STAR.
Over the course of the meeting, it became increasingly clear that SPD is going to continue dragging their feet and throwing up whatever obstacles come to mind to delay or prevent any meaningful non-police alternate response from being stood up in our city. It is popular to blame the city council members for such failures, but in this case it will ultimately be up to Mayor Harrell as to whether we push through this resistance and stand up an alternate response pilot program on a reasonable timeline.

SPD Hiring Incentives/Strategies Resolution and Legislation

The Public Safety committee then moved onto discuss CM Nelson’s resolution on hiring incentives and CM Herbold’s legislation lifting a proviso on $650k of salary savings to pay for another SPD recruiter and moving expenses, primarily for lateral hires, at least to start.
Both of these ended up with amendments. The language of CM Nelson’s resolution was amended to signal intent to release only the amount necessary to fund the incentive program, acknowledging some salary savings could be used to address 2023 budget challenges. CM Herbold’s legislation was amended to release more money from the proviso (for a total of $1.15m) in order to pay for a national search for a new police chief and a national officer hiring campaign.
Both passed out of committee with CM Mosqueda being the sole “No” vote, and because the vote was divided, they will come before Full Council for a vote on Tuesday, May 24. If nothing changes in the interim, we can expect both to pass, potentially with a 6-3 vote. It doesn’t seem like these measures will lead to much of an increase in SPD hiring but are instead passing on the merits of “doing something.” CM Nelson in particular repeated that she doesn’t care about the details as long as they’re doing something right now.

Other News

The City of Seattle settled the Seattle Times lawsuit over former Mayor Durkan and former Chief Best’s missing text messages, agreeing to pay a sum of $199,855 (that is taxpayer money, to be clear), and follow the rules/laws they were supposed to follow in the first place. Not a very satisfying conclusion to a betrayal of the public trust.
At the end of last week the Seattle Municipal Court voted to accommodate City Attorney Davison and exclude her “high utilizers” from using community court. An analysis by the King County Department of Public Defense shows that most of these high utilizers are either unsheltered or experiencing extreme behavioral health issues, neither of which are successfully addressed by a year in the County jail.
Will Casey reported this week on a new public database put together by the American Equity and Justice Group that contains all of Washington State’s adult felony convictions from 2000-2020. Obtaining reliable data about our criminal legal system tends to be dodgy at best, so this is a valuable resource for lawmakers and activists alike. AEJG plans to expand and improve upon their database; if you are a software engineer interested in volunteering your time, you can attend their launch event on May 17.
Finally, Kevin Schofield, lately of SCC Insight, is back with a new site, Seattle Paper TrailHis most recent piece is a breakdown of the 2021 Seattle Public Safety Survey conducted by Seattle University. While I always take this survey with a grain of salt, given its troubling weaknesses, he does draw some interesting conclusions from the flawed data:
First, it continues to be the case that the city’s Black neighborhoods are largely not the ones where fear of crime is high, even though they tend to be over-policed to the detriment of Black residents; they have some of the lowest levels of social disorganization in the city, and also some of the lowest fear of crime. Second, police legitimacy dropped across the board, with only a handful of exceptions in places where fear of crime also rose (though most of the places where fear of crime rose did not see an increase in police legitimacy; it seems to be necessary but not sufficient). Third, social disorganization also decreased nearly across the board, for reasons that are unclear though perhaps related to COVID and more people spending increased time working from home and populating their own neighborhood around the clock.

Recent Headlines

Last Call for a Progressive King County Prosecutor Candidate - Slog - The Stranger

District Court Judge Who Used Racist Language Has Been Taken Off Cases, Court Says | South Seattle Emerald

Families of Those Killed by Police Honor Their Memories | South Seattle Emerald

Attorney General Bob Ferguson on using his platform to pursue justice | Crosscut

Black police, blue line: What happened when a Tacoma officer challenged institutional racism | The Seattle Times

Continued Institutional Resistance to a Civilian Alternate Response Service in Seattle Read More »

Alternate Response in Seattle Meets Another Hurdle

Seattle News

Amy Sundberg
Good news at today’s Seattle’s Public Safety committee meeting this morning. There will be a public forum with the finalists for the OPA Director position. This wasn’t originally going to be part of the process, but it has been added.
Seattle’s Public Safety and Human Services committee met on Tuesday morning and discussed two items of interest.
First they discussed the process by which the City will hire a new Director of the OPA. As suggested by CM Mosqueda two weeks ago, a public forum was added to meet with the three finalists for the position, tentatively listed as being on June 23. The other change announced was that the search would be conducted by the City’s HR instead of an outside firm. As we’ve seen throughout former Director Myerbeg’s tenure, the OPA Director really sets the tone for the OPA as an organization, so this is a significant appointment. It’s also worth noting the current interim Director, Dr. Gráinne Perkins, spent fifteen years as an operational police officer and did her thesis work on “the risk and danger encountered by members of the South African Police Service in their daily routines.”
Amy Sundberg
Also at this morning’s Seattle’s Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting is the presentation of SPD’s 2022 Strategic Plan by interim Chief Diaz and COO Maxey. You can see the plan here: https://t.co/O4KS9FCJAj
You can read SPD’s 2022 Strategic Plan here, but as The Stranger‘s article about it states, only ten pages of the twenty-seven-page plan actually discusses any plans SPD has for 2022, so you can probably skip it. The bulk of the SPD’s presentation on Tuesday was about the Equity, Accountability, and Quality program (EAQ), which is a program that uses statistical modeling to look for systemic issues and patterns of disparity in police officers’ daily interactions. It’s a program with multiple components, and no materials about it were circulated before (or after) the presentation, although Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey said there would be another more in-depth presentation later. There are concerning implications of this program, but it’s hard to draw any conclusions from the information given, so I will be interested to hear more details.
Perhaps most troubling during the overall presentation was Brian Maxey’s answer to CM Herbold’s question about the SPD’s analytical work related to 911 calls to identify call types that don’t require sworn officer response. He said they’d be presenting a more granular report at the end of Q1 (which is practically upon us), and he also said as a result of this work, the city will be providing a service currently not being served rather than supplanting officer work.
If you recall, the analytical work being done now was in response to the report the department paid NICJR to conduct that found 49% of 911 calls currently handled by SPD could be handled by organizations other than SPD. SPD immediately pushed back, saying they could only identify 12% of calls they were confident could be answered with an alternate response. They said they needed to do a further analysis themselves to do a risk assessment and create appropriate dispatch protocols. That the first news we hear about this analysis is that officer work will not be supplanted does not bode well for the department’s willingness to offload some of their work to alternate responders like mental health professionals, social workers and case managers, and other civilians.
The only pushback to this announcement at the meeting came from CM Mosqueda, who suggested this evaluation should be done with an outside party. While it does seem it was perhaps asking too much for SPD to do this analysis by themselves in a non-biased way, we’re here in the first place because of recommendations by an outside agency that the SPD said they couldn’t implement without further study. If nothing else, the SPD has been doing a wonderful job stalling any significant alternate response from being stood up in a timely fashion, which serves both them as an institution and their officers more than it serves the community who has been asking for a more robust alternate response for over two and a half years now.
Also this week, the OIG released wave 2 of their sentinel event report of police response to 2020 protests, this one covering June 2-7, 2020. This report has not yet been presented at a committee meeting. As Paul Kiefer reports, one of the key findings is a persistent lack of trust between a portion of the public and SPD. How SPD could address this lack of trust given their behavior in 2020 and the lack of accountability with which much of that behavior has been met is an open question. The report also offers two dozen suggestions to improve SPD’s protest response planning.
Meanwhile, at UW, the university recently expanded its existing civilian responder program with a team to respond to non-criminal emergency calls and removed armed police patrols from its dorms, replacing them with a combination of in-house social workers and campus safety responders. In response, sworn officers filed an unfair labor practice complaint, saying it was a violation of their contract for the university to hand over some of their responsibilities to a new team of employees. Publicola reported on the outcome:
PERC sided with the university, ruling that the decision to use civilians instead of sworn officers to patrol the dorms has a “limited impact” on the police officers themselves—an impact, they wrote, that is outweighed by UW’s “compelling interest” in rethinking how it approaches campus safety. According to the ruling, the change did not require UW to lay off or cut the pay of any police officers, nor did it reduce opportunities for the officers to work overtime.
Officials in Seattle government could potentially use this ruling as an argument in favor of the legality of creating more alternate response from non-sworn officers who don’t carry a gun.
And lastly, yesterday CM Nelson put forward a resolution to support the development of an SPD staffing incentives program, which rated its own press release including support from CP Juarez. That this resolution should be coming from someone other than the Chair of the Public Safety Committee seems a bit strange, especially as any related legislation would normally move through that body before coming to a final vote at Full Council.

WA State News

Late last week Governor Inslee signed 2037 into law.
We also have more salacious news about WA’s redistricting panel. Not only did the panel violate the state’s Open Public Meetings Act, it now appears dozens of relevant text messages were not released as public records to Crosscut when they should have been, and some of these texts may have been deleted. As Melissa Santos reports:
The withheld text messages show a much deeper level of coordination between state lawmakers, legislative staffers and the Redistricting Commission than what was shown in the records the commission previously released.
State Representative Pollet is considering the possibility of filing a Public Records Act lawsuit in response.

Recent Headlines

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Alternate Response in Seattle Meets Another Hurdle Read More »

Digging into Seattle’s SPD and Public Safety Budgets

Seattle Budget Meetings

Today was the last of the Seattle Select Budget committee meetings on issue identification related to the 2022 budget.
This first thread is on alternatives to police response and the criminal legal system:
Amy Sundberg
Good morning! I’m here live tweeting at today’s Seattle select budget committee meeting where they’re about to discuss issue identification for alternatives to police response and the criminal legal system.

The second thread finishes up the alternatives conversation and then covers the SPD presentation:

Amy Sundberg
Okay, we’re back with Seattle’s select budget committee, finishing alternatives to police response and the CLS. We’re talking about subsidies for electronic home monitoring.
The City Council has a bunch of decisions related to public safety to make regarding next year’s budget. Here are some things to watch for:
CM Mosqueda sounds dedicated to clawing back as much as possible of the JumpStart funding the Mayor used in the proposed 2022 budget; she wants to implement the JumpStart spending plan passed by the Council last year and avoid future spending cliffs. Unfortunately, this seems to entail taking $27.2m of PB, leaving $30m to spend in 2022 rather than the much larger $57.2m in the proposed budget; some large amount from the Equitable Communities Initiative so they’d have exactly $30m to spend in 2022; and possibly some money from the HSD community safety capacity building program so they’d have exactly $10m to spend in 2022. This means we’re seeing the above priorities be pitted against JumpStart spending plan priorities. For anyone who is generally in favor of both sets of spending, the effect is a bit dampening, to say the least. Of course, for the former priorities, any additional money beyond the ongoing annual amount would need to be spent on one-time projects and investments.
There is a lot of question as to which alternatives to police response should be funded in the new budget, as well as disappointment expressed by CMs that more investment isn’t already in the budget in this area. The new Triage One program, which is being proposed to be housed in SFD, will not be able to be implemented until December 2022, which is still fourteen months away; if it were instead to be housed in CSCC, it would take even longer. Other alternatives being considered by CMs include contracting with an outside community organization for these services or beginning a new different pilot project within CSCC. CM Lewis in particular is in favor of experimenting with a few different approaches in 2022 and then deciding in future budgets which efforts to scale up or down. Several CMs agreed on the urgency of this work.
There was also a bit of discussion about administrative responders, which would be civilians who answer certain calls to take reports, for example for minor traffic accidents or damages/burglaries when the insurance company requires a police report be filed. This could potentially be a body of work taken on by the CSOs or another group. And of course, there’s the perennial question of where the CSOs should be located: within SPD or within the new CSCC.
CM Herbold suggested they might be able to take a different approach to moving certain bodies of work outside SPD. Because there is such a staffing shortage at SPD at present, this may be creating extenuating circumstances that create a different legal framework for having civilians do certain tasks because the City is otherwise unable to get the work done at all. This could have potential implications for parking enforcement officers, community service officers, and even for things like how much work the fire department does in Harbor Patrol compared to SPD.
Response times to 911 priority one calls have been going up, but it turns out the number of sworn officers responding to calls hasn’t changed between this year and last year. (This is because Chief Diaz has moved a number of officers onto patrol duty to make up the difference.) That indicates the greater response times might not be because of SPD’s staffing woes, but rather because of management problems, the way responders are being deployed, increased traffic, increased number of calls, etc.
The SPD appears to be saying they want to spend around $1m on technology to do even more analysis on the NICJR report about which 911 calls could be responded to by people other than police officers. They anticipate having a risk analysis done on the 29 call types that are being considered “low hanging fruit” by the end of quarter one of 2022…so a bit more than five months from now.
There continues to be a somewhat antagonistic relationship between SPD and the Council in that Greg Doss from Central Staff, when discussing technology investments for which SPD wants to spend salary savings, said that SPD appears to be telling the Council what they’re going to do rather than asking. They’ve already entered into some commitments regarding these technology investments even though they haven’t yet received budgetary authority for them. In better (?) news, it does appear SPD might not overspend their overtime budget in 2021, although given that we’re still in a pandemic, that isn’t perhaps as big an achievement as it would have been in other times, especially when we also consider the fact that other city departments aren’t generally in the habit of overspending their budgets and then asking for more money after the fact.
Then there is the issue of SPD’s salary savings spending plan. In the proposed budget SPD will have 1357 sworn officer positions funded, but will only be able to actually fill 1223 of those positions (and that’s if they can meet a very ambitious hiring plan, hiring more officers in 2022 than they have in any of the last ten years, and have the lower attrition rate in 2022 they’ve estimated). This will result in an estimated salary savings of $19m. The Council has to decide, first, whether to continue funding those additional 134 sworn officers positions that will remain empty in 2022. If they do, then they have to decide whether to approve of SPD’s plan of how to spend this salary savings, including on another squad of CSOs; $1.1m on hiring bonuses in an ongoing program; and $5m on various technology projects. Additionally there is the issue that funding for the proposed Triage One team and the Peacekeeper’s Collective is currently coming from this salary savings; this means that if SPD staffs those unfilled positions in the future, there will no longer be a funding source for those two programs.
Meanwhile, some details pertaining to sustaining and/or expanding the pre-filing diversion program seem to depend on the upcoming election for City Attorney. The City Attorney, for example, gets to decide when to charge somebody and how much diversion to practice. CM Lewis once again pushed for the Council to pass legislation to require the City Attorney to maintain a diversion program. The City Council could also theoretically pass legislation to decriminalize certain crimes (although not those on a state level), which may save money that could then be spent on the diversion program.
The next budget committee meetings are on October 26-28, starting at 9:30am, when the CMs will be discussing their proposed amendments to the 2022 budget. There will be time for public comment at the beginning of each of these three meetings.

More Resources on these Budget Discussions

Digging into Seattle’s SPD and Public Safety Budgets Read More »

A Clearer Picture of Seattle’s Proposed Budget Begins to Emerge

Seattle Budget Season News:

This week the Seattle City Council has been meeting to be briefed upon the Mayor’s proposed 2022 budget. Here is the live tweet thread and slide deck for the general budget overview held on Wednesday morning, as well as the proposed budget in total:

Good morning, and welcome to this season’s first select budget committee meeting! There are budget meetings all day today, tomorrow, and Friday.
And here is the live tweet thread for Thursday afternoon’s briefing on Community Safety and Community Led Investments and the Seattle Police Department.
Amy Sundberg
Good afternoon, and welcome to Seattle’s select budget committer, where we’ll be hearing presentations on community safety and community-led investments and the Seattle Police Department.
We’re beginning to see a few points of contention emerging in regards to the budget. One of them is about alternate emergency response: while SPD and the NICJR report supposedly agreed on 12% of 911 calls that don’t require a response from law enforcement, the only additional emergency response funded in the proposed budget, Triage One, is designed to answer a fraction of those calls. Chris Fisher from SPD says he wishes to do risk assessment for every type of call, including the 28 call types upon which there was agreement. When pressed, he said it might be possible to expedite the process for those 28. Meanwhile, there’s no movement whatsoever on the information provided by NICJR that 49% of calls don’t require law enforcement involvement and an even larger percentage still don’t require law enforcement to lead the response. The Mayor’s office is also pushing for any alternative emergency response to consist of city employees, which is different from the Cahoots and Star models that have been so heavily discussed.
There is also the question of the Community Safety Officers. The proposed budget adds another unit of CSOs, and there is disagreement as to where they should be housed: within SPD itself or within the new CSCC. There are labor issues involved here, as well as resistance from within SPD itself, which doesn’t want to relinquish its control over the CSOs. There was a suggestion of possibly even adding more CSOs, but both where they would be housed and current lack of data as to how much time they save sworn officers make that proposal uncertain.
The SPD presentation didn’t make clear how much salary savings was anticipated in 2022 (when asked, Director Socchi said $18-19m) or where it was all being spent, so that information should be forthcoming. CM Herbold also discovered an unintentional error, with $4m of funding for community safety hubs being overlooked, but Director Noble said they could probably fill that funding gap.
There was also an allusion to the possibility of Ann Davison winning the City Attorney race, with CM Lewis suggesting the Council make a pre-filing diversion program for young adults a permanent fixture of the City Attorney’s Office.
Meanwhile, certain CMs expressed their disappointment in the Mayor’s use of the JumpStart funds:
Mosqueda said “it was disheartening to see the mayor’s proposed budget not only use those funds in ways that do not align 100% with what the JumpStart investment was for, but then to also propose legislation” that essentially allows future mayors to use JumpStart funds however they’d like.
Another issue with this decision appears to be the hope that the one-time federal relief dollars would be additive in terms of investments in affordable housing etc instead of merely hitting the original JumpStart spending goals.
Aside from the regular business of calling, emailing, and meeting with your CMs, the next chance to get involved with the 2022 budget will be the week of October 11. The first public hearing about the 2022 proposed budget will be on Tuesday, October 12 starting at 5:30pm, to be followed by three days of budget meetings on October 13-15, which will also have short public comment periods each day at 9:30am.

WA State Redistricting

 

The public hearings related to Washington State’s once-a-decade redistricting effort are coming up next week. Opportunity to give public comment on redistricting regarding STATE legislative maps will be on Tuesday, October 5 from 7-10pm, and opportunity to give public comment on redistricting regarding proposed Congressional maps will be on Saturday, October 9 from 10am-1pm. You can read more about what’s at stake during this redistricting process here.
Right now there are four proposed maps drawn by commissioners, two of whom are Democrat (Sims and Walkinshaw) and two of whom are Republican (Fain and Graves). Unfortunately there are some problems with the Republican maps, namely:
  • greater deviation in district population
  • both split Hispanic/Latino communities in the Yakima Valley
  • neither honored the Chehalis Tribe’s request to remain split between the 19th and the 20th
  • Fain’s map splits Spokane Valley into 3 LDs in spite of community asking to remain in 1 LD
  • Fain’s map in particular further divided many majority-POC cities
  • the Democrats’ maps reduced city splits while one Republican map increased these significantly and the other increased these by a small amount
Why are these maps important? Because they will determine the political future of Washington State on both the state and national levels. Please consider providing public testimony or submitting written comments. At least three commissioners must agree on a final plan by November 15, or the decision moves to the state Supreme Court.

Other Seattle News

SPD released a letter today from Chief Diaz to SPD employees, telling them that Monday, October 4 is the last day for them to get their second Pfizer or Moderna shot in order to be fully vaccinated by the vaccine mandate deadline. He says, “At the moment – we have to assume we have hundreds of unvaccinated individuals based on the information submitted.” HUNDREDS.
District 3 of Seattle will be voting on whether to recall CM Sawant during a special election on December 7. The election will cost around $300k of City funds to administer.
In Seattle’s mayoral race, both candidates have raised a large amount of money. One of Harrell’s largest PACs is financed by large real estate interests, while one of González’s largest is financed by labor. The two candidates attended a debate on homelessness sponsored by the Seattle Times on Wednesday, with Bruce Harrell making what can only be characterized as a callous gaffe, saying, “We shouldn’t have to look at the human suffering of other people, and that’s my attitude going in, that I will bring into the mayor’s office: We don’t have to see it, and we’re going to lead with love, and we will make sure that people can enjoy their parks and have a quality of life that they deserve.”

Recent Headlines

King County crisis services ask for clarity on police intervention | Crosscut

A Clearer Picture of Seattle’s Proposed Budget Begins to Emerge Read More »

2021 Policing and Public Safety Voter Guide Is Out!

Policing Voter Guide is Out!

People Power Washington is pleased to present the 2021 Policing and Public Safety Voter Guide for Seattle, King County, and Burien to help you know where local candidates stand as you make voting decisions in the August 3rd primaries. (This week is the time to fill out your ballot if you haven’t already!) Key races will determine who sets the course in areas that impact all of us including choosing heads of our law enforcement departments, setting budget priorities, and negotiating collective bargaining agreements with police guilds.
Many local candidates responded to our questionnaires about public safety and the criminal legal system; you can read their on-the-record answers at the website and work to hold them accountable if they are elected. The website also includes explainers to provide context to the critical issues at stake this year. If your own jurisdiction is not covered by the current guide, you can contact People Power Washington at wapeoplepower@gmail.com if you’d like to help them add it for the general election in November.
I’m on the steering committee of People Power Washington and worked directly on some of the questionnaires and issue explainers. I hope you find them helpful!

A New Director for King County’s OLEO

Today the King County Council selected a new Director for OLEO (Office of Law Enforcement Oversight): Tamer Abouzeid, an attorney, mediator, community organizer and policy professional. He is replacing previous Director Deborah Jacobs. He is starting on September 20.

Seattle City Council Meetings

Amy Sundberg
Good morning, and welcome to Seattle’s Council Briefing!

On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted to pass a clerk file to make sure facial recognition technology is included as part of the City’s surveillance technology ordinance. CM Herbold reported that last week the Mayor’s Office announced committing $2m in next year’s budget to a regional response to gun violence, the Regional Peacekeepers, and CM Herbold would like to try to get some of that money out the door this year instead of next year.

Good morning, and welcome to Seattle’s Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting.
At today’s Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting, we heard about OIG’s phase one sentinel review report on the protests last year, as well as Summary Findings on the Executive Order on Re-imagining Policing and Community Safety from the executive branch (Central staff presentation here/Executive branch presentation here). The live tweet of this meeting is of more than usual interest given the topics covered.
This first phase of the OIG’s sentinel review report only covers the first few days of the protests last summer, focusing on five primary events during those days. The report offers 54 recommendations that they hope are actionable for SPD. (As a side note, one of the most interesting things about the sentinel review report process is the use of a peacemaking circle within the selected panel to try to facilitate trust building and peace, as well as listening and reconciliation. I do question whether trust can be built between community and an organization with such deep systemic issues, but am interested in other applications for this process.)
One of the OIG report’s main critiques comes from Decriminalize Seattle, who tweeted that while the focus of the report is on fixing the system, the brutal police response of last summer IS the system, and the recommendations made in the report are “almost laughably pro-cop.”
Decriminalize Seattle Coalition (Official)
The only problem:
Last summer’s brutal police response to protest IS the system
As for the summary findings for re-imagining public safety, the IDT involved in this work says they learned three things from community engagement: that community is not a monolith, that public safety extends beyond policing, and that people want more visible patrol presence, especially in the International District, Belltown, and Pioneer Square.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the report was that the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) was contracted to do an analysis of Seattle’s 911 call data, and they found 174 call types they thought could be answered by alternative responses instead of sworn officers, which Chris Fisher from SPD said would equal about 49% of calls. However, SPD did their own analysis and decided only 12% of those calls (28-30 call types) could actually be answered by alternate responses, including person down and welfare check calls. They said part of this was due to labor and legal issues (aka the police contract and local laws).
CM Herbold brought up the point that 12% of 911 calls is 48,000 calls a year, but the Mayor’s Triage One proposal (the new emergency response pilot) is only designed to answer 7,000 calls per year. She asked about the additional 40k calls in that 12% and why they weren’t included in the Mayor’s proposal. Julie Kline from the Mayor’s office said that Triage One is just a first step, what they see as “low-hanging fruit.” It is noteworthy seeing just how small a first step it is.

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