Comments

1

"I think there’s a real gap between groups like the CPC being able to effectively communicate with community and then having [a strong understanding of the various legal factors] that come into play as to why we weren’t able to get to the full 50%, or why the consent decree is problematic and that’s a community education issue."

I didn't see any attempt on Oliver's part to explain Robart's decisions as being in accordance with established fact and legal structure, as a lawyer she should be able to do that. Which would account for good Robart one day bad Robart the next. Instead it was an emotionally subjective account. Somehow Robart just does what he does.

2

Why didn’t you include Sara Nelson in the photo? She made the effort to be there.

3

sigh The Stranger reaffirms its commitment to preaching to the choir, even when the choir has moved on.

4

Keep saying 'defund the police' and learn to lose a lot of future elections.

5

I appreciate Nathalie reporting out more of this discussion. It really highlights how destructive Oliver will be for this city if elected. There is no reason some of these community programs couldn’t be tried on a smaller scale to show effectiveness without dismantling Publix safety for the grand experiment. There is no substance there, just blind ideology and we have enough of that already.

6

Thomas by far comes out looking the best of the candidates interviewed here. The only who offered specifics, the only one who outlined an implementable plan, the only one who evidenced understanding of how the legislative and budgetary process works.

7

I also appreciate Nathalie's reporting here, even though I'm guessing that we probably don't have the same takeaway as far as leaning towards particular candidates. Also, no mention of why 50% from Oliver. At that point, why not 10%? Why not 90%? Why not 1%? Why not 100%? Haven't seen a good argument for 50% yet, which is pretty glaring when we're talking about a decent chunk of the city's budget. Also not thrilled about Thomas' opposition to pilot programs. Seems pretty illogical to throw the entire city into an experiment (i.e. even less police presence) without having any local data to prove efficacy. In terms of crime, weapons, guns, homeless populations, I don't exactly see a good analogue to Seattle that would be a solid enough reference point to warrant skipping the validation phase of a new community program.

8

That one chick has a point. Communities does not mean paid professional activists. As much as those activists will try to convince you they represent some majority of POC, they are usually far removed by their elite endoctrination

9

You kind of have to do pilot programs if some of these are newer ideas. It helps improve the programs and decrease the risk of opening the city up to lawsuits. I mean, somebody walked into a Community Passageways program and shot a guy. You're going to put a bunch of young men, many with criminal pasts and relationships, into a room at a scheduled time with minimal security? Easy targets much?
Then you have people like Andre Taylor, six-figure "street czar", coming out this past week saying we need a gang unit. Why are we paying this guy handsomely if we aren't going to take up his recommendations? As the violence increases, the needle is going to swing more rapidly back to the, "we need more cops, not less" amongst everybody and that includes BIPOC people. All the local "leaders" are still stuck in last summer with the "defund" movement. But don't worry, Dow pledged $1.5m for more YMCAs, or something...violence solved.

10

"In 2018, when Thomas was working for the council, labor representatives pressured city council members to support the notoriously bad Seattle Police Officers Guild contract." This is utter nonsense.

Thomas worked for Gonzalez & fully understood what happened in 2018: Gonzalez & Harrell were, at every step, willing to bargain away accountability for the pipe dream of better police training & policy, along with a promise to be better. Gonzalez & Harrell were both on the committee that oversaw SPOG negotiations & could have fought harder to maintain the already pathetic 2017 accountability measures they put in place.

Labor pressure was truly irrelevant. In fact, the mayor, the CPC, and the council withheld the SPOG contract from the public for weeks, making it difficult to develop grassroots opposition to the 2018 SPOG contract.

Gonzalez was determined from the start to undercut real (i.e., civilian control of) police accountability. Gonzalez, with the consent of the CPC, refused to allow even consideration of more robust civilian oversight models. When the CPC & council members travelled to NYC to investigate their police oversight system they intentionally ignored looking at Newark, New Jersey because it was far too civilianized.

Let's be clear: before the SPOG contract was negotiated, the council, the CPC, the mayor, & Holmes had already given away half the loaf. SPOG negotiations just took away a few more slices.

Let's not pretend that if the 2017 legislation had been fully implemented that one less protester would have been beaten, that one more cop would have been held accountable for last years horrendous abuse, that the SPD wouldn't have killed Charleena Lyles, Kyle Gray, Jason Seavers, Iosia Faletogo, Danny Rodriguez, Ryan Smith, Shaun Lee Fuhr, Terry Caver, Gregory Taylor, and Derek Hayden, or that the OPA wouldn't have certified these killings as "Lawful and Proper" or not even bothered investigating. Seattle's accountability system was a sham and a fig-leaf from the start.

Oliver's statement that "part of this is a communication and education issue, and some of that I actually put back on the CPC who lost their entire community relations crew over the period of the protest, so nobody’s doing work with community to get them to understand—to get us to understand—what’s happening" is disconnected from reality. The CPC, though mandated by the federal consent decree to have yearly community engagement meetings, has had one such meeting in 6.5 years. And at that one meeting the CPC listened to everyone from the community demand that only civilians should investigate police misconduct and then the CPC voted the opposite of that just one week later. When Terry Caver was murdered by the SPD on May 19, 2020 the CPC didn't even notice and continued not to notice for nearly three months, when one might think the George Floyd protests might have made them a bit more woke. The CPC also seemed nonplussed when OPA's director Andrew Myerberg failed to open an investigation into this murder -- after all Myerberg was the CPC favorite choice for heading the OPA, despite the fact that he has spent his entire career defending police, including defending NYC against the civil claims made by the Central Park Five, see: https://hjgale.tumblr.com/post/643859576948654080/february-2021-interviews-with-opa-dir-myerberg

Regardless of how much we defund we will always need accountability. In fact, even if we abolish policing as we currently know it, there will still be people in any public safety system that can abuse their authority. So, we will always need an accountability system for any form of public safety. Currently we spend over $9 million per year on an faux accountability system that actually serves to enable abuse. While we wait for other systems we have a moral responsibility to limit the harm our current system does.

So, all other debates aside, we need to have real 100% civilian control of investigating misconduct, deciding discipline, and setting policy for police/public safety.

The 2017 police accountability legislation was a low bar that Judge Robart accepted. There is no reason Robart wouldn't accept a much more realistic and robust system similar to those developed in Nashville, Portland, and Oakland. See SeattleSTOP.org for a proposed initiative to do exactly this.

11

So, the Defunderpants Gnomes remain, lurking, convinced -- just convinced! -- that if we defund by 50%, then we've actually done something toward real reform. The entire debacle last year means nothing to them, because facts mean nothing to them.

Nikkita Oliver, we didn't "get to 50%" because, as our very own (and very, very fabulous!) Mrs. Catarina Vel-DuRay had told us, the city has contractual obligations to SPOG members, and if we refuse to meet our obligations, it will cost us more money, not less.
is to provide labor to staff the East Precinct. Therefore, the illegal vacation of the East Precinct house by SPOG-represented officers could provide legal grounds for vacating our contract with SPOG, or even de-certifying SPOG. Having SPOG out of the way could remove a significant impediment for police reform. Why not investigate this option?

And why piddle around with more "reform"? The city of Ithaca, NY, eliminated their police force, replacing most of it with exactly the type of public service teams discussed by our candidates in this article. We'd still have a small gun-and-badge crew to solve crimes, but most emergency calls are handled by other types of responders. Why not start pilot programs in certain neighborhoods now?

12

@11, That third paragraph should have started, "Now, SPOG has obligations in return, and one of those is to provide labor..." I apologize for the typo'.

13

Defunding and reassigning existing funding to social and health services to address drug addiction and poverty, which are the prime movers behind crime makes real sense.

Nevertheless, how do we teach law enforcement to be compassionate, which is ever more crucial in these heady days of defunding and global warming, with the resultant short fuses and reckless, trigger-happy behavior from police?

Also, police must learn to be more analytical in tense situations like the Charleena Lyles assassination, which could have been defused with intervention by mental health experts trained to negotiate with emotionally afflicted or mentally ill people in the field.

A more robust and intelligent approach to law enforcement and social turmoil that produces violent stand-offs is the answer.

Let's take a look at progressive tax policy that addresses societal inequities that are another component of violent crime.

Bill Gates, proponent of marginal computer software and Jeff Bezos, with his big hairy kazoo should face stiff taxation to help fund improved social and health outreach for poor folks who have been marginalized by these tit-flapping wealth-mongers.

Vote for progressives like Echohawk, Oliver and Sawant, and above all we should teach law enforcement to be compassionate, not Peruvian death squads or angry gangsters who traffic in blood and hate.

14

Lets take a chance shall we.

yes....defund the police and send that money to community groups-- excellent idea.

.... none of the community groups have experience in law enforcement
--- there is no oversight on the qualifications of the leaders of theses groups or how the use $
-- there is no track record on history on how this works.

I like the idea of assigning the community groups and social workers to deal with domestic disturbances. Maybe they can talk them down....maybe they can't .... lets see how this works.

Can anybody tell me what I should do when my security alarm goes off and the nearest police is 45 minutes out? Do we hold the door open for the burglar?

I see crime rates are climbing as police presence is reduced.... causation? correlation? .... or just a one off?

15

I think all in-coming SPD should have 4 year college degrees with incentives for current police who complete theirs (as those educational incentives exist for teachers in quality school districts). Studies show cops with 4 year college degrees are less prone to employing violence - they rely first and instead on independent problem-solving and analysis.

I think it would be great if Seattle had a PD filled with cops who've studied literature or theater or music - science, arts, social sciences. Those police just bring a whole other set of cognitive and human skills to the table. Not that cops who don't have degrees "don't" - just that it's more often the case and direly needed in an increasingly complex 21st C world. We don't need robo-cops in militarized gear; we need thinking, relatable and responsive professionals.

I also think SPD should lead the nation by psychologically testing any applicants and current police for psychopathy/sociopathy. These attributes, which clearly belong to this cop who murdered George Floyd, are testable. We don't need serial killers or sadists hiding out in police depts behind a badge of authority.

While diversity in a police dept is not a magic pill, it's still very important as part of a comprehensive package of solutions. I do think it's a shame if the first police to go in cut-backs are the very police hired as part of that effort to make a dept that's more in tune with the communities we live in, and, if they have college degrees, to boot.

They DO need to drastically cut any funding for militarized policing of protests. How come these rioters at Alki had only a couple of plain clothes cops standing around casually (with a "boys and girls will be boys and girls" attitude?) while non-violent protesters exercising their first amendment rights are confronted by a veritable army?

However, some of the described policing issues via 911 calls (e.g. "parking" "domestic disputes") are unduly minimized, IMV. I can think of many examples that are indeed 911 police issues - and not a situation that calls for a social worker. I'm also not a big fan of paternalistically (or maternalistically, either) imposing social or psychiatric services, uninvited. If someone calls for a cop, they have a right to a cop. And sometimes, yes, the only thing someone violating someone else's rights understands - is a cop or two showing up. Not a therapy session, but a cop saying, "No. Stop."

At the same time, it's true that the 911 system is abused and overused; i myself have had to wait for real emergencies, and I've watched non-emergencies and even ridiculous calls get immediately addressed. I've read they have the same problem in B.C./Vancouver - and during this killer heat wave, it was interfering with their ability to respond to real and even life-threatening 911 emergencies.

Apart from policing, IMV, housing is "the" key issue in the city. We need a rent freeze and rent control as they've implemented in New York. So I would be willing to compromise on policing (e.g. I'm not an advocate of "abolishing the police" -- but I don't think it's an immediate "danger" anyway) if it means getting elected officials who would fight for these things regarding housing and the cost of living, and once in office. Oliver is a renter, a movement builder and activist -- so on that basis, I'm leaning (heavily, even) in her favor although I might disagree with her on some other issues.

Frankly, I'm not seeing anyone in that race yet who fully represents my own views. Nelson brings some good concepts to the table but I don't think she gets the critical issues around homelessness - - as does Oliver and she seems to support and accept gentrification in the sense of "these necessary evils." (This was my take-away from the local tv interview posted at her campaign website.)

I like the focus she brings to "basic services" but the devil is forever in the details. She's lived in Greenlake as a homeowner for twenty years. Why isn't the public bathroom opened 24/7 so the homeless aren't shitting in the lake her own children must swim in. And I mean, just the human decency and dignity of having a fucking toilet at night? I think this is horrendously inhumane -- and this is her neighborhood. People are swimming in the e coli, yet her position (I gather) is, it's worth it if it doesn't "encourage homelessness?" Like homelessness needs encouraging?

I'm also wondering why the libraries aren't open more - including Greenlake. Seattle was so "proud" of allegedly having them open during this horrendous heat wave. But these were the standard paultry hours anyway - which meant most of them were closed on the worst day of all - Sunday. Including the main Central branch which they spent so much money building - and which was the largest. They had it closed on Sunday, is my understanding. Only something like 3 smaller branches were open in the entire city? So where were any of the outspoken people on this matter? From either the left, center, or right? Same question on bathrooms? Not a word to heard from any of them as far as I read (including Nelson and her "Basic Services").

Like the bathrooms - opening ALL air conditioned libraries on Sunday - is a no-brainer that none of the candidates address, in my opinion. And not just in the heat wave, but all year round. How is this city of so-called liberalism and intelligence cutting back on libraries? You can't even find a copy of some of the greatest works in literature in the Seattle system that aren't in tatters down in a special reserve basement. They should have new copies of all of them. They had money for a grandiose air conditioned building, but not basic books, and then, they keep the building closed on Sundays (when so many people are off work and would need a library) -- and even during 110 degree heat in a neighborhood where so many people would need an air conditioned building to go.

So "basic services" sounds good -- but no one is talking about what this really means - so I can't bite. Besides which, the rent is still too damn high -- and in the end, that is where I will vote -- and who will be ready to fight on that "front." The police dept, as an on-going battle that dominates the discussion to the exclusion of everything else in our daily lives, is almost becoming a wedge issue.

16

@10: Thank you for taking the time to explain the political background of how we arrived at the current broken model of policing we have in Seattle and King County.

At the end of WWII, Germany fundamentally changed their police force from the Gestapo that existed until 1945 to what is now one of the most respected police forces in the world. They instituted many changes over the years to improve their performance and relationship with the public, but at it's core was a law they passed post war that placed all police in Germany directly under the control of civilians and it has made all the difference.

More than even budget cuts, civilian oversight terrifies the Seattle Police Union that has always been solely responsible for not holding itself accountable. It would make the most difference, which is why they fight it the hardest.

Accountability is a Prerequisite of Respect. SPOG has made it clear they would rather live with a lack of respect than submit to accountability.

17

@14 The homicide rate has increased in Seattle, and to its highest in 26 years. I think this figure is even underestimated; for example, the clear murder of a young woman in Greenlake 1-2 years ago was initially classified as a suicide (and very rapidly), then reopened with a more tenuous status, but still not as a homicide. This case, to me, pointed to the need for greater funding of investigative SPD work with respect to violent crimes like homicide or rape; i.e. actually solving the crime/s. Someone brought up the example of paying so much money to a consultant who recommended a gang-related police unit. Interestingly, when I read about this case at Greenlake, it seemed, to me, that the way in which she was murdered (along with some other details related to the story) indicated a plausible gang hypothesis (NTM a recent news story about a rise in violent gangs in the area). But ... they'd rather spend money on turning police into a military unit to stop 1st Amendment protesters who like to read. Solving that murder would be a much better use of resources.

As for Seattle ITO crime overall, here are the most dangerous in America (on a quick google, at least). Seattle is not the list, and someone tell tensor that Kshama Sawant was no where to be seen in any of those locations (though I do see some rather "conservative" local governments in control there).

safewise.com/blog/most-dangerous-cities/

18

@15 Another strength with Oliver ... I listened to a local tv interview with her, as well, on the same station that did Nelson (I have yet to listen to their interview with Thomas). In this interview, Oliver addresses the need for transparency in the budgeting process - as well as changing the way that whole process works - and so that community members can see what's really going on, and have input and involvement.

I think this is very important, and again, points to her background as a movement builder who can bring residents into the process of what is supposed to be "our" government, not a government just for some -- and in area where it counts the most -- counting the money and deciding where it's allocated. Apparently, it's currently a hidden process and she intends to bring that into the light of day -- where it should be.

19

@17

In 1990, 1,271 SPD officers handled 65,053 serious (FBI Part 1) crimes and cleared (a proxy measure for “solved”) 13,425, equal to 51.1 crimes handled per officer and 10.6 cleared.

In 2019, 1,371 SPD officers handled 39,055 serious crimes and cleared 3,447, equal to 28.5 crimes handled per officer and 3.2 cleared.

The Seattle Police Department's budget grew 68% from 2010 to 2020 alone, giving us the highest paid police force in the country.

Given that the SPD budget has exploded over the past 30 years and the has resulted in the police clearing (solving) far fewer violent crimes than they did 30 years ago in an environment where crime was 50% lower, the idea that they need more money to care more about the lower number of murders they solve less frequently does not add up.

Here is the hallmark of a functional and credible government institution:

1) transparency — you should be able to know the rules before you play the game.
2) consistency — the same rules should apply to two people in the same situation.
3) accountability — the people enforcing the laws should be accountable for their decision.

Can anyone honestly say that police and prosecutors in Seattle meet any of those three standards in a way that is not meant with sarcasm?

We cannot buy our way out of the failed police model in Seattle. We tried that for 30 years and the results are in and all bad. Without civilian accountability, any more money spent in this broken institution will be wasted.

21

Thank you, Nathalie, for a well written and informative article and update on the SPD.
I don't fully believe in defunding the police, but rather in re-educating [SPD] officers. What I feel needs to be defunded is the NRA, guilty of PROFITING FROM AND SUPPLYING AR-15s, AK-47s, plexiglass shields, tear gas, and rubber bullets. Police are hired to PROTECT AND SERVE the citizens--not treat them as the enemy in times of war. And while we're at it, let's defund the GOP, forever guilty of pushing such propagandic bullshit as "War stimulates the economy!"

@20: The only idiocy I see is the trolling.

22

@19 Those are very troubling statistics. I don't see that SPD overall needs more money, but it seems it should redistributed. I earlier used the example of militarization regarding protesters. This, to me, needs to be radically cut with the money going to other depts that need more - though your stats certainly raise very legit questions about what else might be going on there.
Again, to return to this Greenlake murder case -- it's mind-boggling to me how it could have been so quickly classified as a suicide to even casual observers. Or why a liberal community didn't even care enough about how this could have happened to a young woman in a beloved public park where children play - and insist that the police dept figure out what happened.

Plus there was DNA evidence that, last I read, they still haven't analyzed 1-2 years later. Evidence that could be crucial to solving what happened.

Maybe what is going on in the police dept (in some ways) is also a reflection of what's happening in our society overall. A failure in work ethic and independent judgment and reasoning -- people not really caring about their jobs and what those jobs mean or what they "do" or "produce." Because I see some of the same problems happening in businesses and other work environments. Nobody cares. The 1%ers want to make everyone expendable and replaceable -- including police (based on observation of this militarization robo-cop model) - and the result is that people lose interest and motivation ITO what they are doing. And this includes the police - and why, as you say, you can't just throw money at the problem. I agree, to an extent, that's true.

Still, let me share something I read at this West Seattle blog. They were covering this murder at Alki Beach. A young father was shot and killed by a 19 year old with a gun because they were asking around about who set off some fireworks that hit one of their friends - this young woman. It sounded like the wild west. He was carrying a gun too. Imagine that - you're down at Alki beach for the evening to have a nice time - but all these people are walking around with guns.

Anyway, I was reading their posts and some comments about this story -- but then, I started reading some of their other coverage. And a year earlier, they had another beach shooting and residents wrote/communicated with the precinct captain who reported a stark labor shortage for their area. From his description, I was appalled by how short-staffed they were ITO responding to residents' requests:

Here is an excerpt:

"I also want to be transparent about SPD’s current resource situation. It is not unusual to have a total of eight officers working in all of West Seattle at any given time–usually four on the west side and four on the east. And during our most busy times, all of those officers are literally running from 911 call to 911 call, based on priority. I recently had to make the difficult decision to eliminate the full-time bicycle squad in West Seattle and to incorporate the officers back into the 911 call response rotation.

"Last week I spoke with a frustrated resident who called the non-emergency number several times about some issues at the Don Armeni Boat Ramp, seemingly without a response. I did a little research to find that his call held for almost an hour because officers were busy responding to a rape, shots fired, threats to harm with a suspect on scene, a stolen car, and a stolen license plate. Once officers were finally free and able to respond, they arrived within 16 minutes of being dispatched.

"I hear often from residents who make a request to have an officer stationed on their block or in their neighborhood. We simply do not have the resources to fulfill those requests. In past years, SPD had the budget to have officers work emphasis patrols in certain designated areas–like Alki–on an overtime basis. Unfortunately, our budget no longer permits us to do that, and we must work with the available on duty resources."

westseattleblog.com/2020/08/followup-after-alki-shooting-precinct-commanders-message-to-the-community/

Anyway, I think the point here is that you simply have to have enough "labor" for certain issues -- and labor costs money. Just as testing DNA samples does, as well. Meanwhile, I see a veritable army of police uselessly down at a simple non-violent protest to confront people who aren't violent - people who like to read and write and participate in government (vs march around on a public beach with guns looking for fights) - in the most ridiculously expensive militarized gear imaginable. And I can think of a number of other places (like that beach) where their presence would be useful and needed, instead. So this is not necessarily about cutting funding overall, but redistributing the money and resources. Though you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink (as the saying goes) -- so there's probably something of that going on, as well (meaning that the money is not always the problem either).

23

@19: I think there's a lot of truth in what you say here.

Why the police force that showed up for a protests against police violence over the Summer where equipped like soldiers kicking doors and killing Taliban in Kandahar is make little sense and is troubling. No question in any protest you will have some trouble makers breaking windows and vandalizing things and they should be arrested, but that is not the same as a Black Hawk Down in Mogadishu situation and cannot be treated the same without openly suppressing the peacefully protesters as well.

Unfortunately, the police unwillingness to follow up on DNA evidence is an ongoing problem in Seattle not limited to the case you describe. I'm sure you're aware of the thousands of untested rape kits the SPD have in storage, but have not followed up on.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/massive-backlog-of-untested-rape-kits-indicates-years-of-indifference-to-victimized-women/

Your example of the potential homicide at Greenlake and description of the violence at Alki Beach is troubling and all too common. I have sympathy for the SPD staff who must respond to more crime than they can possibly address with those numbers. I think if you asked the SPD they would tell you this is a result of understaffing and underfunding. Some might even say lack of appreciation, although I find that one less credible since so many of the hardest workers I know in society are far less appreciate that the police. Fast food workers are some of the most underpaid and under appreciated members of society, but they work their assess off and continue to smile in the face of a society that places almost no value on them, or their work. Being loved is not a requirement to do your job.

As we talk about under funding and under staffing at the SPD, here are some things to keep in mind however:

The Seattle Police Department's budget grew 68% from 2010 to 2020 alone, giving us the highest paid police force in the country. An obvious question, did they not hire anyone new during this time and if not, why?

We have the King County Sheriff Department with it's $180 million + budget, so the SPD is not the only police force we have operating in Seattle. Why are they not helping to address some of the violent crime?

When there was the Jungle, it was almost impossible to find any patrol officers willing to enter the area despite knowledge of ongoing violent crime.

SPD apparently has the resources to run man hour hungry multi year overtime intensive operations like this while untested rape kits continued to sit untested on the shelf:

Seattle Police "Rescue" 26 Sex Workers. But Did They Want to Be Rescued?
https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/03/11/39551922/seattle-police-rescue-26-sex-workers-but-did-they-want-to-be-rescued

and this

Massive Seattle police prostitution sting a ‘colossal waste of time’
https://mynorthwest.com/343527/massive-seattle-police-prostitution-sting-a-colossal-waste-of-time/

Or the continued extremely expensive and police intensive war on drugs the local police claim they no longer waste time on:

https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2021/04/07/nineteen-indicted-drug-distribution-conspiracy

and this not uncommon scenario, where SPD sent 4 officers all on overtime to do a welfare check of an elderly man that could have been done by 2 officers at the most and could have obviously been handled as regular police work:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/welfare-check-at-mans-seattle-home-ends-in-him-being-cuffed-lawsuit/ar-BB1eYK7P

And who can forget this story of Seattle budget allocation:
"Seattle patrol officer tops $400,000 annual income"
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/times-watchdog/how-a-seattle-patrol-officer-became-the-citys-highest-earner-paid-for-the-equivalent-of-two-years-within-the-span-of-one/

Over and over what we find is increasing SPD budgets combined with a complete lack of willingness to use that money to address violent crime that actually affects the community. Instead we see 6 officers standing around downtown spending and hour questioning some hopeless guy to see if he will say anything to justify a search for the small amount of drugs he has in his pocket that will send him to jail for a week.

We can double their budget, triple it, but if all we get elaborate useless police operations and $400,000 a year patrol officers, 10 officers sent on overtime to handle some minor welfare check that could have been handled by 2 officers, elaborate prostitution and drug stings that waste enormous resources and money to justify more overtime and freebies for the officers while doing nothing to address the type of violent crimes they are always short staffed for, you will still end up with 1000's of untested rape kits and 8 overworked SPD officers unable to address the murder, rape and theft they simply don't want to get involved with. You are just paying more for the same bad outcomes.

It's a leadership problem and a priority problem, not a budget problem. The police always ask for more money when we ask them to do any additional training of the sort you and I recommend. As you rightly point out, perhaps they can replace a few of their $400,000 a year patrol officers and drop some of their lucrative multi year overtime intensive lifestyle crime investigations and use some of that money for the additional training they need.

24

This Independence Day, Thank a Protestor.

25

"But the defund movement hasn't gone anywhere, it just is—and always has been—more nuanced than Westneat understands."

Doubling down on inanity. "Defund the police" isn't hard to understand. If it requires spin to be persuasive, it's dead - the undecided listener has heard the words. A slogan is a very simple proposition. That's why it needs to be right from the start.

I rarely agree with anything Ronald Reagan said - and despise the man and Reaganism - but he was right in saying, "If you have to explain, you lose." (It was probably put in his ear by a handler, of which he had, and needed, the best in order to be the right-wing businessmen's frontman.)

"Defund the police" couldn't have been more counter-productive if it had been dreamed up by Karl Rove, or the ghost of Lee Atwater, or some GOP provocateur in the BLM ranks. (And I'm not sure that last part isn't what happened.)

When progressives start doing politics intelligently, then real progress will be possible.

26

What about a free, two year community college program that trained potential applicants in psychology, nonviolent communication, emergency response and trauma informed policing? Officers in training could do ride alongs (similar to Explorer programs), observe and work as interns to experienced officers.

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@23 Yes, I agree; prostitution stings are a massive waste, and drugs should be legalized and/or decriminalized with certain types of use treated as a medical issue, not a criminal issue. There are many violent criminal issues associated with drug trafficking that simply would not be the case if they legalized and/or decriminalized. Same with prostitution, though there are different forms of prostitution, some of which is really human trafficking and slavery with people being held in captivity. And then there are the cases involving children or minors. So they need to separate some of this stuff out. And .. I read about this HT case that really amazed me (I think it was another city - not Seattle) in that the police were so blind to what was going on in several of these locations.

But those are really stunning statistics you share - it's all over the place - and I have to concur. It's almost like there's a major failure in basic strategic intelligence and common sense/problem solving in our society. The system is set up in such a way that it keeps itself spinning on the same deterministic and inexorably Kafkaesque course. Kind of like the death penalty system (for example, the Troy Davis case.) And no one is willing to step out of it - even at the highest levels where they actually have the authority to do so - and make (what is, in some cases) even just very simple adjustments or changes that could "alter the flow of traffic" so to speak. And perhaps quite significantly.

I was actually at Greenlake the day they found this young woman's body (another reason the case interested me) -- and I was amazed by how many police were at the scene in this one area -- and to later read how they rapidly concluded - and with all this manpower there - it was a suicide (though there were key people there who knew immediately that it wasn't). It was such a massive misuse of labor and resources. At the same time, for example, a murderer or serial killer was possibly getting away right under their noses -- yet none of these police were actually walking or biking around the lake itself -- and none of the police were asking the numerous pedestrians questions about whether they had seen anything or not.

Really good points about fast food workers. Other occupations I can think about are teachers and nurses. In some areas of the country, I'm appalled by how negatively people speak about teachers -- and nurses couldn't even get the appropriate protective gear for working during this pandemic, and right now, they're having to fight for federal legislation to get basic standards in nurse/patient ratios in hospitals. These horrendous ratios are even one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. because one nurse simply has too many patients. But ... there are the police in incredibly expensive gear -- as you well describe, they might as well be shipped off for a war in another land -- totally useless for the circumstances (yes - sometimes someone breaks a window, but you don't need a army prepared for the invasion of Iraq to deal with that one or two persons) -- and meanwhile, nurses can't get appropriate covid gear. And I'm guessing that many police would agree with the absurdity of this situation.

Police, too, I've read, are generally quite popular compared to these other occupations. Apart from the "defund/abolish" movement, and unless this has changed since the nationwide police brutality protests, polls have conventionally shown that a majority have positive attitudes about the police. I don't know if it's even the case about most of Seattle. You'd have to get some objective pollsters to really measure the attitudes (and untainted by the monetary interests from either side of the issue).

That is an important point, too, about the Sheriff's office. In terms of the recent incidents at Alki Beach, for example, it's a public park, isn't it? So King County and the Sheriff's office could step in, couldn't they? Maybe West Seattle residents should make such a request (i.e. to have the Sheriff's office patrol the beach area at night, and as a deterrent to this gun violence).


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