Council member Herbold’s Statement on Mayor Harrell’s Press Conference on Public Safety

SEATTLE – Councilmember Lisa Herbold(District 1 – West Seattle & South Park) issued the following statement in response to Mayor Harrell’s press conference on public safety earlier this morning:

“I applaud Mayor Harrell’s attention to public safety in Seattle and calling for a multilayered approach to address the challenges we face.

The full year data in the 2021 Year-End Crime Report confirms trends, that crime increased in 2021. The number of shots fired increased as well.

With fewer sworn officers, we need comprehensive approaches that blend both traditional public safety and innovative community safety approaches.

The Council approved funding for both approaches in 2022:

Traditional public safety:

  • Fully funding the Seattle Police Department’s plan to hire 125 additional police officers more than the department has ever hired in a single year.  As in both 2020 and 2021, the budget fully funds the hiring plan developed by SPD
  • Expanding the Community Service Officer Program
  • Technology resources necessary to support alternatives to police response
  •  Adding funding to the Seattle Fire Department to support 20 additional firefighter recruits above and beyond the 60 recruits in the former Mayor’s proposed budget
  •  Adding funding for 911 dispatcher positions, to ensure calls are handled in a timely manner.

Innovative community safety approaches are also needed, especially with fewer officers:

  • Expanding the LEAD program
  • $4 million to restore the community safety hubs in the Central District, West Seattle and SE Seattle operated by the Seattle Community Safety Initiative
  • Funding to support expansion of successful prefiling diversion approaches
  • Funding for the Regional Peacekeeper Collective: with gun violence up in King County, a regional approach, public health-based approach is critical
  • Funding for training 911 dispatchers to integrate alternatives into 911 response
  • Funding to continue SPD’s analysis of 911 call types they believe may be suitable for a non-officer response, and reduce the workload of police officers
  • Funding for an additional Health One unit, development of the Triage One program, and Mobile Crisis Teams to respond to persons in crisis.

In the 2021 supplemental budget, the Council also adopted funding for additional SPD programs to address the officer shortage, adding additional Community Service Officers, Crime Prevention Coordinators, and technology investments requested by SPD.

2021 represented a ten-year high for shootings and shots fired in the City of Seattle. 52% of shooting victims were Black or African American. Research shows that where there are more guns, there is more gun violence. I appreciate SPD taking 1,127 firearms into custody during 2021.”

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