Councilmember Harrell Statement on Mayor’s Public Safety Speech

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Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Councilmember Harrell Statement on Mayor’s Public Safety Speech

SEATTLE Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, issued the following statement today regarding Mayor Ed Murray’s state of the city public safety speech:

"I applaud Mayor Murray for outlining a pragmatic, call-to-action public safety plan. I would like to express my gratitude to the Mayor for prioritizing public safety and calling all departments to engage in addressing public safety. I believe our focus, commitment and collaborative partnerships will be much different than what this city has ever seen. We will work together to implement the short-term solutions and set the budget for long-term solutions that address the underlying root causes of the problems we are seeing.

"In addition to supporting the Mayor’s ‘Summer of Safety’ plan, I hope to continue working with the Mayor on the following policy and public safety budget issues:

  • Explore the feasibility of an automated gunshot locator system (AGLS) in the fall biennial City budget. The system uses acoustic sensors to instantly triangulate and identify the exact location of gunfire. This technology, often coupled with an activated camera system when shots occur in hotspot corridors, deters activities and significantly increases intelligence gathering of unlawful shooting activity.
  • A complete assessment of crime prevention programs targeting and helping 18-30 year olds. This group is often referred to as "opportunity youth," young people who are disconnected from education and employment pathways to success.
  • Seek a resolution to the unresolved ambiguity regarding the legality of medical dispensaries in Seattle. Medical dispensaries should provide access to medical quality cannabis to patients in need, not as a breeding ground for criminal activity as we’ve seen in recent violent incidents.
  • Partner with the community, local businesses, local sports teams, and faith-based communities to discourage the "No-Snitch" code. This "code" has been changed in other communities by changing the narrative to describing an opportunity to protect and serve one’s community.
  • Chief O’Toole must identify and support Precinct captains with a set of expectations for the foreseeable future and establish reasonable continuity in these positions. This is a particular concern to Southeast Seattle.
  • Examine community benefit agreements for employers to incentivize development in hotspot corridors. The city should partner with regional employers and labor to expand the summer youth program and increase training opportunities. As the Mayor stated, "nothing stops a bullet like a job."

"In addition to these items, Council will work with the Mayor and Chief O’Toole to focus on these major areas to improve public safety:

  • Focused and proactive crime reduction using evidence-based methods to reduce the most serious neighborhood crime problems;
  • Positively change the culture at SPD and attitudes related to the practice of collecting and reporting the required data as part of the six new policies developed as part of the Settlement Agreement;
  • Build community relationships and trust in all neighborhoods with a consistent visible presence; and,
  • Prioritize build out of the Business Intelligence System.

"As part of the confirmation of Chief O’Toole this last Monday, Council presented a letter of expectations to Chief O’Toole. Read the complete six-page letter of expectations to Chief O’Toole here."

[View in Council Newsroom]