(With the mayor: SW Precinct Capt. Joe Kessler, center, and Lt. Ron Smith, right)
After a tour of West Seattle with Seattle Police‘s West Seattle leadership, Mayor McGinn met the media (WSB and three TV stations showed up) this morning for a Q/A session outside the Southwest Precinct. He’s been doing this at every precinct; West Seattle was originally scheduled for July 5th, but breaking news that day elsewhere in the city forced a postponement to today. First, here’s our video of today’s entire 32-minute briefing/Q-A session with the mayor and precinct commander Capt. Joe Kessler:
We asked about something that was a hot topic on the post-Independence Day Friday when this event was originally scheduled – this year’s fireworks craziness, which was not just a West Seattle hot topic (we saw it come up on multiple neighborhood sites around the city, as well as sparking regional-media coverage). The mayor agreed there would need to be “a dialogue” before next Fourth of July, but also insisted “the community” would have to step up here, since it was beyond SPD’s ability to deal with possibly thousands of violations. We also asked about the status of the SPD surveillance cameras installed from Fauntleroy to Alki to Harbor Island and beyond (our coverage archive is here), which the mayor had said would not be activated until a “thorough public vetting” had taken place. The next step, he said, would be for “protocols” to go to the City Council, at which time there would be more public vetting; no timetable so far, though originally, when we first reported on this almost six months ago, SPD was working toward a March 31 target for activation.
While robbery and burglary numbers for the Southwest Precinct were higher in the first half of this year than a year earlier, Capt. Kessler said they had dropped in recent weeks due to some key arrests. Having reported some of those arrests here, we asked the mayor if his administration works with King County on issues such as prosecution of the suspects; he said they do. (No specifics.) Capt. Kessler also mentioned that SPD has changed up its Alki patroling strategy to some degree this summer, focusing on nighttime rather than daytime, and so far, no major problems. Alki was part of the tour the mayor took before the precinct Q/A; he said he also had visited High Point to talk about issues such as those raised at last week’s community meeting (WSB coverage here) and had been to the “Nickelsville” encampment – where, he said, the population has been going up, not down (we have heard a recent estimate of 170). On our video, you’ll also hear the mayor answering some non-WS questions asked by the TV crews.
The entire visit was pegged to a followup on the Safe Communities initiative, which included a meeting here in West Seattle nine months ago (WSB coverage here). A city staffer handed out paper copies of a handout with West Seattle-specific toplines on how concerns raised at that time had been dealt with since; we’re checking to see if we can get a digital copy to attach here.
ADDED: Here’s the aforementioned report.