Minutes provided by Billie O.
Photos and audio recording provided by John W.
- Homeless people living in the woods along Myers Way in violation of posted signs.
- Speeding, racing, reckless driving and noise pollution along Myers Way (and Olson Place) in violation of 25 mph limits.
- Large trucks parking for days at a time on Myers Way disturbing residents with noise particularly in early morning hours when drivers run engines in preparing to leave.
- Placement of No Parking signs along Myers Way.
- Discussion on the police department utilizing an empty retail storefront still available in our community for law enforcement convenience and the visibility of a squad car for deterrence.
- General concerns expressed by residents as it relates to their feeling of safety and security.
at 19 Minutes into this video
Aug 18, 2021
Seattle City Council previews
upcoming 2022 budget season
August 17, 2021
Newsletter for August 20, 2021
Finance Committee Action on Mid-year Budget Including SPD
In September, the Council will be considering the mid-year supplemental adjustment to the 2021 adopted budget, as recommended by the Finance and Housing Committee on Tuesday. This legislation includes changes to the SPD budget that I proposed, made possible by an estimated $15 million not needed for officer salaries this year. I first proposed these investments in May, which unfortunately did not pass. The supplemental budget proposal in the Finance and Housing committee represented another opportunity.
I proposed – and committee members approved - significant changes to the budget legislation to ameliorate the community safety impacts associated with the current shortage of police officers. The shortage of sworn officers is resulting in significantly reduced 911 “priority one” responses - responses that have a standard goal of 7 minutes. It’s important that we make investments to address the real workload challenges for those sworn officers who remain on as public servants in Seattle.
My amendments also added funding for civilian positions, technology investments, a new training program, and alternatives to an armed response to build community safety. Together, these amendments reflected the priorities of SPD, community safety advocates, the Mayor’s Office, and Council’s work to reimagine public safety and provide alternatives to an armed response, while ensuring officers have the ability to respond to calls that only they are qualified to do.
The successful new amendment, proposed with Finance & Housing Chair CM Mosqueda, includes funding for:
* Community Service Officers and Crime Prevention coordinators;
* Hiring process accelerators for both sworn officers and civilian hires;
* National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform 911 call data analysis to support re-imaging policing;
* Work, Scheduling and Timekeeping project updating and modernizing SPD’s management of overtime and addressing the recommendations made by the City Auditor in 2016, and recommendations made recently the Office of Police Accountability;
* $1.5 million for overtime. SPD requested $3 million. Both the Mayor and Council proposed reductions in the overtime budget last fall for 2021, assuming fewer large events would occur due to COVID. With additional events now taking place, more overtime funding may be needed, as well as for patrol 911 response.
* Evidence storage space, as recommended by the Inspector General;
* Funding for additional Public Disclosure work, as recommended by the City Auditor.
The amendment also incorporates priorities I announced in my Public Safety and Human Services committee in late July. The Mayor and SPD also stated support for these investments to re-direct a total of $1.5 million from the SPD budget to other departments.
* Community Safety and Communications Center funding for a protocol system for 911 dispatchers; this is critical for ensuring 911 call takers have the training to ensure the best response, as we embrace alternatives. Similar to what Seattle Fire uses in its dispatch center, the protocol system will implement a more consistent process for obtaining key information from 911 callers and support better data analysis to plan for resource deployment, including alternatives to police response. I didn't want to wait until the Mayor made a 2022 budget recommendation to begin providing funding for this effort.
* Regional Peacekeepers’ Collective funding to prevent gun violence. This is critically important right now. Community violence intervention programs such as the Regional Peacekeepers Collective have been shown to reduce violence by as much as 60%. I didn't want to wait until the Mayor made a 2022 budget recommendation to begin providing funding for this effort.
* Funding for Triage One; to redirect 911 calls as a result of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform call analysis commissioned by SPD; they are calls that do not require a first response from sworn officers, and reduce the need for them to respond to these calls. I didn't want to wait until the Mayor made a 2022 budget recommendation to begin providing funding for this effort.
Our amendment also includes an investment of $3 million in the Seattle Community Safety Initiative, to fund additional alternatives to policing. HSD recently awarded contracts to 33 of the 70 applicants; additional funds could fund additional projects, or extend the funding from 18 to 24 months.
I also proposed a separate amendment to fund $2.25 million for necessary SPD technology investments, which passed. It includes funding for Data Analytics Platform; for Capacity Planning Tool; Innovation Blueprint; and Officer Wellness and Supervision (which is a new version of this). Some of these are required by the Consent Decree.
The Data Analytics Platform will be used to monitor staffing and overtime, analytical processes necessary for reimagining policing such as 911 alternatives, next generation early intervention, and to monitor disparate impacts. The Capacity Planning Tool will evaluate staffing demand, and calculate staffing requirements based on scenarios such as 911 alternate response, and expands resource planning beyond core functions such as patrol and investigations to include support for functions such as force review and public disclosure. Innovation Blueprint includes identifying strategies and online tools to increase transparency and improve police practices. Officer Wellness and Supervision include more accurate statistical models for predicting and guiding interventions for employees exhibiting signs they need support, as part of the department employee wellness and retention strategy.
I strongly support Chief Diaz’s efforts to innovate in developing a training curriculum to ensure SPD recruits understand community expectations for a public service career in law enforcement in Seattle. That’s why I successfully proposed funding for a program Chief Diaz is initiating to support Seattle-specific training for new officer recruits before they go to the state training academy. The program is being developed under the guidance of a long-time educator, and consists of a 45-day program that “pulls recruits out of traditional classroom training and immerses them in community-based, peer-based, and introspective experiences that will provide them both a lens through which to receive their BLEA (I.e. academy) training and a foundation upon which to build their careers as Seattle Police Officers.” Most of this work will take place in the community. The curriculum strives to implement the principles of relational policing, as recommended by the Inspector General Sentinel Event Review.
On Monday, the Council voted 7-0 to adopt legislation that I sponsored to restrict the use of less lethal weapons, principally during demonstrations.
There are currently no restrictions on the use of less lethal weapons in Seattle law.
After the Public Safety and Human Services Committee voted 4-1 to pass the legislation in July, I moved to delay the Full Council vote until after a Status Conference for the Consent Decree was held in early August. It was important to wait in case the court wanted to comment on the legislation before the Council passed it. Court approval of the SPD policies that will derive from the new law is necessary, per the scope of the Consent Decree, which includes all laws, policies, and practices that relate to use of force. The legislation was not discussed at the Status Conference.
The legislation includes a full ban on acoustic weapons, directed energy weapons, blast balls, ultrasonic cannons and water cannons. Use of Noise-Flash Devices (Flash Bangs) are banned in demonstrations.
The bill permits the use of pepper spray and pepper ball launchers only in those cases when the “risk of serious bodily injury from violent actions outweighs risk of harm to bystanders.” If used to control crowds another condition must be in place, that there is a “violent public disturbance. The legislation defines when a “violent public disturbance” is taking place. Tear gas use is restrained by 5 separate conditions.
In developing the legislation, Council President Gonzalez and I met with the Consent Decree Monitor and the Department of Justice, to get their informal feedback in advance, with the understanding formal feedback will follow after
SPD policies based upon the ordinance are developed and filed with the Court.
You may recall that my PSHS committee first acted in February to recommend a draft bill that was used for those discussions.
During conversations about the draft bill, DOJ expressed concern about the potential that restricting the use of certain less-lethal tools in crowd management circumstances could actually lead to officers using higher levels of force, putting both assaultive protestors and the surrounding non-violent protestors at higher risk of harm. Judge Robart expressed similar concerns. DOJ likewise inquired as to whether the draft bill will provide time for relevant SPD officers to be trained to changes in policy, again, to avoid the unwanted impact of having untrained officers resort to higher levels of force than necessary. Judge Robart also raised this issue.
To address these concerns, we added a definition of “crowd control,” and added a 60 day training period. To address concern that officers should have some less lethal option to intervene when property damage is occurring but there is no risk of serious bodily injury, the legislation is silent on and does not regulate the use of non-chemical launchers, e.g. of bean bags or rubber bullets.
Another update allows for use of pepper ball launchers in, a demonstration or rally, but not for crowd control purposes, and only when the “risk of serious bodily injury from violent actions outweighs the risk of harm to bystanders.”
This change is in response to prior judicial decisions; Judge Robart specifically approved policies authorizing use of pepper ball launchers in late February, as part of SPD’s court-mandated annual update to use of force policies.
Development of this legislation began after Council's passage of legislation sponsored by CM Sawant in June 2020 to fully ban the use of most less lethal weapons for crowd control, after demonstrations in Seattle after the murder of George Floyd. Judge Robart issued a restraining order on that bill in July of last year. It never went into effect. In August pf 2020, the Community Police Commission, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Police Accountability made recommendations for how to change the law. These recommendations were sent to Council and Judge Robart, as he requested them as well.
The Public Safety and Human Services Committee has met seven times about this legislation, and heard extensive public comment.
While some criticize the bill as too weak and others say the Council shouldn’t legislate less lethal weapons regulations at all, my goal has been to adopt the strongest regulations possible, building on the August 2020 consensus recommendations of the three accountability bodies, while adhering to the obligations under the Consent Decree.
The CPC stated support for this legislation, while noting their perspective that they believe more needs to be done:
“The Seattle Community Police Commission writes today to offer its support for Council Bill 120105. The Commission believes that the bill’s inclusion of clear delineations of when less-lethal weapons can and cannot be used—and limitations on who can use them—is a significant first step in ensuring the safety of community members when they engage in First Amendment protected protests.
The Commission wishes to note that while we appreciate the improvements the bill would make to Seattle Police Department’s use of crowd control weapons, the Commission wants to ensure that the City Council does not forget that there is more work to be done. This legislation does work toward implementation of some recommendations made by the CPC last fall. However, those CPC’s recommendations identified additional changes necessary to best protect our community’s safety and civil liberties during protests for which we ask the City Council to not stop striving towards.
Now that the Council has voted to adopt the legislation, this is what happens next:
- First, SPD will draft policy revisions within 60 days (provided by Section 4 of the bill)
- Second, DOJ and the Monitor will review the policy revisions (this is when their formal review under the Consent Decree takes place)
- Third, the Court will review the policy revisions (also required by the Consent Decree)
- Fourth, if the Court approves the policy revisions, then the revised policies and the substantive provisions of the bill will take effect (provided by Section 5 of the bill)