Safety – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 22 May 2018 12:46:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ID-protecting advice in the spotlight as state attorney general visits South Seattle College Wed, 16 May 2018 23:32:05 +0000 (Photo courtesy AARP)

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson was in West Seattle today as part of an event presented at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) by a coalition led by the AARP. It was the first in a new series, “Taking Charge of Your Digital Identity,” with other events to be held around the state. AARP spokesperson Jason Erskine says consumer-fraud experts advise taking these “three key steps” to better protect your personal information:

1) Take Charge of Your Credit File
Getting a credit freeze is one of the three primary recommendations of security officials to help protect your identity. With a credit freeze in place, a criminal is unable to access your credit file or open new credit accounts. According to AARP’s report however, fewer than one-in-six Washington adults (14%) report having ever ordered a security freeze on their credit.

“Along with checking their credit reports regularly and reviewing bills promptly, many consumers find that freezing their credit is a simple thing they can do to protect themselves from crooks looking to set up phony credit accounts,” says Federal Trade Commission Regional Director Chuck Harwood. “A new Washington state law will soon let all consumers freeze their credit and lift the freeze at no cost.” AARP and the State Attorney General’s Office lobbied for the successful passage of the “Free Credit Freeze for All” law this year, offering free credit freezes and thaws for Washington consumers beginning in June of 2018. Prior to the laws’ passage, consumers had to pay around $10 to each of three credit reporting agencies to freeze their credit files, and another $10 per bureau to thaw their files.

2) Check Your Online Accounts
With the ever increasing number of data breaches, experts say almost all of us have had our personal information exposed to potential identity thieves. So it’s vital that consumers have online access to all of their important bank accounts, credit cards and retirement accounts and to check them frequently. According to AARP’s report however, only four-in-ten (38%) of Washington adults have set-up online accounts for all of their bank accounts, while one-in-five (21%) admit they have not set up online access to any of their bank accounts. Similarly, only half (50%) of Washington adults have set-up online access to all of their credit cards, while more than one-quarter (27%) haven’t set up access to any of their credit cards.

To make matters worse, some consumers who say they are staying offline are doing so for all the wrong reasons. Nearly half of respondents who have not set up online access to some or any of their bank or credit card accounts (45%) say they haven’t because they are afraid their personal information will get stolen; about four-in-ten (41%) say they feel safer without an online account; and over one-third (36%) say they don’t trust the internet. “It’s ironic and unfortunate that fear and mistrust of the internet is actually putting people in greater danger that their personal information will be stolen and used by ID thieves,” says AARP State Director Doug Shadel. “Crooks have told us that people without online accounts are the perfect targets. It allows the criminals to set up online access themselves, and to even set passwords and identifying information locking people out of their own accounts.”

3) Strengthen Your Passwords and Privacy Settings
The difference between secure computing and falling victim to online fraud or identity theft often comes down to a dozen or so keystrokes – your password. However, nearly half (45%) of Washington adults report using the same password for more than one online account. Younger adults are more likely to report doing this compared to older adults (18-49: 49%; 50-64: 46%; 65 and older: 33%). Using the same password across multiple accounts is a very risky practice. If hackers are able to break just one of your codes, they can now access each of your accounts . “Our members know we are very vigilant about protecting their data and often ask us what else they can do. We tell them to treat their passwords like toothbrushes,” says Kyle Welsh, BECU’s Chief Information Security Officer. “Change them frequently; don’t share them; don’t leave them lying around; and the longer you brush, the better.”

Privacy concerns over users personal information on Facebook has also been in the spotlight lately. AARP’s survey shows that among Washington Facebook users 18+, nearly three-quarters (72%) report having changed at least some of their privacy settings from the default settings. However, significantly fewer adults aged 65-and-older (33%) have done this. “Social media sites can be a great way to stay active and engaged, just be careful what you share,” says Jeff Lilleskare, Online Safety & Security Risk Management, Microsoft. “Check your settings to make sure only friends can see what you post, or at most friends of friends. Don’t post when you’re going to be traveling. Don’t share your address, and be careful about taking pictures with sensitive information in them,” he says.

Also at the SSC event, AARP released a new report surveying adult internet users in our state, “Up for Grabs”; Erskine says it revealed that “a lack of awareness and knowledge of online dangers may be contributing to increased dangers for Washington consumers” You can see the report here.

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FOLLOWUP: 35th Avenue SW ‘Phase 2’ info now online Tue, 24 Apr 2018 04:58:43 +0000

Three weeks ago, we brought you first word of SDOT‘s decision about Phase 2 for 35th Avenue SW. The relatively small changes will include adding a stoplight at 35th/Dawson, turn restrictions at 35th/Juneau, the already-promised 35th/Graham stoplight, turn signals at 35th/Barton (which is in the Phase 1 zone), but no continuation of the rechannelization that comprised Phase 1 south of Morgan. When we talked with SDOT’s Jim Curtin on April 2nd, he said the plan would soon be added to the project website, and would be sent to many West Seattle homes in a mailer. That mailer arrived over the weekend, and the website is now updated – including the map shown above (here’s the full-size PDF version) – so if you want to see the official final version, here’s the project page. No further meetings planned, but if you have questions, Curtin says, you can e-mail the project team at

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Drop-in meeting Saturday morning, survey open now for West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway extension to North Admiral Sat, 14 Apr 2018 02:18:46 +0000

Two weeks ago, we reported on the plan to build the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway all the way into North Admiral, instead of having its north end at The Junction. The city also announced two drop-in meetings for feedback, and plans for a survey. The first of those meetings is tomorrow morning – and the survey is open now. You can answer it here, and/or stop by Uptown Espresso at California/Edmunds/Erskine, 10:30-noon on Saturday. Meantime, from an update sent by SDOT, more information about the greenway plan:

Our final route for the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway reflects many of the needs we heard from the community to connect people with schools, parks, local businesses, and the greater transportation network. The new neighborhood greenway will bring affordable, active transportation options for all ages and abilities.

Below are several community priorities we incorporated into our final design:

*Design the pedestrian safety islands so they’re wider to give people adequate space for their bikes

*Time the new traffic signal at 35th Ave SW and SW Graham St with the rest of the 35th Ave SW traffic signals to reduce corridor-wide delay as much as possible
*Upgrade access to the existing signals for people walking and biking at
30th Ave SW and SW Barton St
30th Ave SW and SW Roxbury St

*Install traffic calming near Our Lady of Guadalupe School

*Minimize any on-street parking loss

*Reduce gravel on the sidewalk and street along SW Kenyon St

*Enhance traffic calming on 30th Ave SW and SW Thistle St

We’ve been able to incorporate all these elements into our work plan. Thank you for sharing such helpful insights.

Phase 1 Construction
The first phase of construction for the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway will begin later this spring and is expected to continue through 2018. This phase of construction, which begins at SW Roxbury St and ends at SW Graham St, allows us to open a large section of the Greenway an entire year earlier than expected!

During phase 1 construction you should expect temporary detours, parking changes, and crossing closures so that we can install greenway pieces such as pedestrian safety islands and new crosswalks at intersections. We’ll be in constant communication throughout construction to ensure we coordinate with residents and businesses directly affected by specific projects.

We recognize that construction is an inconvenience and appreciate your patience and communication as we begin creating the West Seattle Greenway for you and your neighbors to enjoy.

Schedule …

Construction is broken up into three phases. This will enable us to start installing greenway improvements earlier than expected. We are excited to help people get to important community locations like Roxhill park by walking and biking in 2018, a full year earlier than anticipated.
The three phases are highlighted below:

Phase 1: SW Roxbury to SW Graham St on 30th Ave
Construction starting in spring 2018

Phase 2: SW Graham to SW Edmunds St
Construction as soon as fall 2019

North Admiral Connection: SW Edmunds St to SW College St
Outreach & planning beginning spring 2018
Construction as soon as 2020-2022

This will be West Seattle’s third greenway, after North Delridge and Highland Park/South Delridge. You can find more project information here. And if you can’t get to tomorrow morning’s drop-in discussion, the second one is Thursday (April 19th), 4:15-5:45 pm, at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, 2306 42nd SW.

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A conversation about a costly crisis: The price being paid, and not paid, to save young lives Thu, 12 Apr 2018 04:49:17 +0000 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The two scenes could scarcely have seemed more divergent:

A comfortable waterfront home in Fauntleroy / a crowded complex in Burien.

The sound of small talk and laughter / the crackle of gunshots, followed by chaos.

A colorful rug adorning a wood floor / blood staining the pavement.

The scenes were five miles and eight days apart – with one connection: A crisis.

In Burien, that crisis, youth violence – youth, in reference to the victims and/or perpetrators – stole two young women’s lives.

In Fauntleroy, that crisis, youth violence, brought together an extraordinary assemblage of people who all had the ability to do something about it.

Some of them were associated with Southwest Youth and Family Services (SWYFS), the Delridge-headquartered nonprofit that issued the invitation to a conversation about “current successes and gaps” in preventing youth violence.

SWYFS’s work in that realm includes being a partner agency for programs such as the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, and questions about its future erupted at points during the evening.

“What an amazing time to have this discussion,” said facilitator Mark Wirschem, a retired King County Juvenile Treatment Services manager and current SWYFS board member. He expressed the hope shown by last month’s March For Our Lives, “privileged white youth embracing (and working with) youth of color.”

Solemnly, Wirschem also said that every word of the evening ahead should be in honor of the young women killed in Burien. While violence on school campuses has been in the spotlight recently, its victims number in the hundreds, while youth killed by gunfire in all circumstances each year number in the thousands – homicide predominant among black and brown children, suicide predominant among white children. Mental-illness treatment is vital. “We’e here about trauma and the impacts of trauma … These kids sometimes are victims before they commit offenses.” He urged work “to erase the margins between us and the marginalized” – youth don’t want to be judged, they want to be respected as they are. He also talked about county programs to help people get out of the “gang life.”

No doubt, everyone in the room had stories they could have spent the night telling. Not everyone spoke. The next who did: Robert Gant, director of the Counseling Center at SWYFS, where he has worked for almost 20 years. Shifting a lens to consider what’s happened in someone’s life, as a way of understanding what they are doing, is important, though he said accountability is too.

He also mentioned trauma, talking about “trauma-informed care.” Returning again to the Burien murders, he spoke of another SWYFS staffer getting a text early in the day from a school official, saying, “Our young people are hurting; what can you do?” They reached a therapist immediately and headed to the school. They “offer(ed) a space for all these young people to come through and process what’s going on” – they supported staff, too, and also had someone at a middle school to talk with youth who were at the shooting scene.

South King County is an increasing area of focus for SWYFS, added Justin Cox, King County Violence Prevention Program manager, and the staffer to whom Gant had referred. But they’re short-handed, covering the south county from White Center to Auburn with a team of six. More volunteers would help as well as more staff.

Debra Williams, who coordinates the Aggression-Replacement Therapy (ART) program, had a personal history to recount, with her children participating in SWYFS programs long before she joined the staff. Her program helps youth “change negative behaviors” via social skills, moral reasoning, anger-control training. They help youth understand anger “inside and out” and what it does in the community. The program has an 88 percent success rate – no crimes – “it’s a win-win program for us in the community.” They meet with youth three times a week, one hour at a time, create relationships, “show you how to keep your personal power -” by teaching “the ability to control what happens to you from the actions and choices you make.”

One attendee observed that adults need help too – we train people in math, in science, but not in social skills. “How do you reach out more to society?” she wondered.

Williams observed in response that the lack of these skills has been affected by the loss of the family-unit gathering, such as sitting down together at dinner. Many social skills were provided at home, she mused, but not so much any more, so the skills she teaches are as basic as “respect your elders.”

The program is relatively expensive – $2,000 to $3,000 per person – but, facilitator Wirschem observed, that is less expensive than the five-digit cost if the youth ends up in the criminal-justice system.

Where do ART referrals come from? Self-referrals, school counselors … “What kind of kid is most suitable?” “Any kind who is troubled – if they’re being expelled, they’re aggressive, they have anger that’s not controlled …” Williams said ideally, every kid, every adult could benefit from ART. “The way a case manager might navigate you through the hospital system, we will navigate you through anger.”

“But we as a society are not willing to pay for it,” observed Leslie Harris, the West Seattleite who is president of the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors, reminding all that the state is only funding 9 nurses for a district of 54,000 students. The need, she added, is so great, “but we’re not willing to pay for it, to frontload it, to make sure these children have a future.”

Sadly true, acknowledged Williams, and yet we know what the outcome can be – pointing again to the loss of two young women.

“You pay for it – not the way you want to pay for it,” called out a voice from the back of the room.

Anothe attendee observed that every adult has the opportunity to influence a young person by modeling behavior.

SWYFS has funding from the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, it was noted, though its future is uncertain. They hope the collaboration will continue, regardless of the specific program’s future. A new data system is enabling better continuity, Gant said, if a young person for example moves out of this area.

Wischam elaborated: Anything that can be done … to address funding, keep it going. The $8 million from SWYVPI just covers Seattle. “Keep those big initiatives going, and more.”

King County Chair Joe McDermott asked for clarification on the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative funding. It’s from the city general fund, initiated a few mayors ago, and is undergoing review, said SWYFS executive director Steve Daschle, to see if the existing program should be continued, or if something new should be tried.

Marcus Stubblefield from King County’s Criminal Justice Policy and Strategy Section said that this should be a unified effort, between city and county and others.

Youth violence needs to be seen as a crisis, and funding will follow, suggested another participant.

Daschle picked up from what Stubblefield said, stressing the importance of continuity beyond the city limits, talking about New Futures, which has been part of SWYFS for five years, since resources “dried up” in South King County – not just county funding, but also public-school funding. He explained that New Futures once operated at the 500+-unit Burien complex where the double murder happened, formerly known as The Heights, now Alturas. “We’re trying to go back into (that complex) with some form of the New Futures program … we want to avoid violence (becoming) a way of life” as it is in cities such as Chicago.

But how?

Stubblefield said, “You teach kids how to manage conflict.” Absent that teaching, they get a gun and feel that’s what gives them power.

One attendee asked, “And what does it say to kids when adults won’t let their guns go?”

“In some neighborhoods,” answered Stubblefield, “(adults) give guns to kids to protect themselves.”

To address that – build leadership among our young people, Gant urged. And even for those who have started down a dangerous road, he noted, many of the skills that facilitate survival on the streets are transferable – so, “how can we transfer that skill in a way that they can become leaders, transfer it in a healthy way?”

Mike Dey, husband of SWYFS board member Susan Lantz-Dey, the evening’s host, talked about how slowly the system works, how months might elapse between an offense and the action that is taken.

That turned talk toward the criminal-justice system, represented in the room by at least two judges. One said that the county’s courts, prosecuting attorney, and public defender have lost a lot of funding in the past decade. Continuing needs for cuts have led to actions such as closing the 4th Avenue entrance to the downtown courthouse, which in turn raises access issues: “It goes back to Tim Eyman’s initiatives … The county’s general-fund funding is broken, and it’s been broken for years.” To the wait that Dey had mentioned, the judge said, cases aren’t being filed for months because there’s no prosecutor to handle it – or because police might not have been able to refer it.

That brought a mention of King County’s “new youth jail” and a question, why does the county have funding for that but not for the other things?. One of the criminal-justice professionals present pointed out that it was approved by the voters, money that could only be used for a capital (construction) project, and that much of it will include non-detention facilities.

Anyone want to form a committee to talk about how to get new funding for the types of programs discussed earlier in the evening? asked a community member.

McDermott said, “I’m in.”

A participant warned of tax fatigue. That led to discussion of the problems of our state’s tax system – “inequitable and regressive,” as Harris put it, also declaring “it’s ‘fake news’ that we’ve addressed the McCleary crisis, because we do not value our children.”

If we don’t take care of them, nothing matters, said Wirschem.

The most plaintive voice of the night, that of a visitor from Chicago, interjected that he “stands in the gap” for youth who are not in programs. “How can all of this help them? The one that are currently in gangs, currently killing each other… Right now, in this time, gun violence IS the answer [for them] … because there’s too many meetings, too many people gathering in one place for too long, and not bringing all the knowledge and resources to the streets … Whatever resources you have, whatever power you have, you need to bring it to the streets … some of them don’t even get a chance to get incarcerated … they just die.”

There was no simple retort or summary for that; it lingered in the air as people rose from their chairs and moved into small conversations, perhaps to make small steps toward steering youth to safety before it’s too late.

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Expired, no-longer-needed prescription medication in your home? Drug Take-Back Day 2018 is 3 weeks away Sat, 07 Apr 2018 18:08:09 +0000 Don’t flush it, don’t toss it – if you have expired or unneeded prescription medication to get rid of, Drug Take-Back Day is only three weeks away. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis sends the reminder that the national event is set for 10 am-2 pm on Saturday, April 28th, and the precinct is a drop-off spot as usual, 2300 SW Webster. P.S. If that day doesn’t work for you, note that the Junction QFC pharmacy is now a year-round dropoff spot. (Photo – start of 5th bag filled by dropoffs during last October’s Drug Take-Back Day at the SW Precinct)

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See SDOT’s final design for Chief Sealth Walkway Improvements Project in Westwood Fri, 06 Apr 2018 19:10:28 +0000 SDOT has announced the “final design” for the Chief Sealth Walkway Improvements project in Westwood, which you’ll recall was at one point going to be reduced, and then was restored to full size. From SDOT:

This project will improve connectivity, walkability, and safety for residents and students who currently use two unimproved and overgrown paths on 25th and 26th avenues SW, between SW Trenton and SW Cloverdale streets.

Project elements include:

• Two 10-foot-wide asphalt walkways on 25th and 26th avenues SW connecting SW Trenton St and the cul-de-sacs to the north
• Pedestrian lights along the two paths
• Removal of overgrown vegetation and installation of new trees and plants, where appropriate

This document has backstory from the original community proposal. Construction could start as soon as mid-May, says SDOT, which also says the final design is available for another NSF project, Harbor/Spokane, but as of right now still has not updated that project website to show it. Also, both projects will be handled by the same contractor, and SDOT says the bid/award process isn’t complete yet.

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FOLLOWUP: Safety additions at apartment complex where 2 cars flipped in 1 night Thu, 05 Apr 2018 18:42:14 +0000 (WSB photo from last December)

You might recall that scene from the last week of last year – two flipped cars alongside an apartment complex on the SW Genesee hill west of Avalon. It was the aftermath of two crashes in one snowy night, over the span of a few hours starting late Christmas Eve. No serious injuries. The second driver to crash that night, KC, had wondered in post-crash comment discussion why the complex had no safety barriers along the driveway, given the dropoff – and now, KC tells us, that’s changed, with this installation yesterday:

KC adds, in the note accompanying that photo: “After the event, I never wanted any monetary compensation but only for safety devices installed and an admission that there was a clear and present danger! I have had nothing to do with how these have come to be… but they have been installed so others may be spared the over the rockery trip. As far as admission of a hazard… I take comfort in knowing actions often speak louder than words, such is the case here!”

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FYI from SPD: Level 3 sex offender moves into the area Wed, 04 Apr 2018 20:43:21 +0000 Just received from Southwest Precinct crime-prevention coordinator Jennifer Danner, another one of the occasional notifications that a Level 3 sex offender has moved into the area:

In an effort to keep you informed, and in our constant attempts to reduce future victimization, we want to let you know about one level 3 sex offender that has recently moved into the Southwest Precinct area.

Jeremy Lelko, a 39-year-old White male, is a level 3 registered sex offender who has recently moved to the 5000 Block of California Ave SW. Mr. Lelko is no longer under Department of Corrections supervision.

Detective Spong from the Seattle Police Department’s Sex Offender Detail is responsible for verifying his addresses as long as he is living there.

To learn more about this offender and for additional safety tips please visit the website at and search by his name. [Editor’s note: His photo and background information are on this page.]

If you have further questions about this offender, contact Michelle McRae of the Seattle Police Sex Offender Detail by phone at (206) 684-5581 or by e-mail at

To register to receive an email alert whenever a published offender registers within one mile of your desired addresses, go to (this) link.

Level 3 sex offenders pose the highest risk to re-offend. It is normal to feel upset, angry and worried about a registered sex offender living in your community. The Community Notification Act of 1990 requires sex offenders to register in the community where they live. The law also allows local law enforcement to make the public aware about Level 2 and Level 3 offenders. Since these offenders have completed their sentences, they are free to live where they wish. Experts believe sex offenders are less likely to re-offend if they live and work in an environment free of harassment. Any actions taken against the listed sex offenders could result in arrest and prosecution as it is against the law to use this information in any way to threaten, intimidate or harass registered sex offenders. The SPD Sex Offender Detectives will check on these offenders every 3 months to verify our information.

The single most effective means of protecting your child is communication with your child. They have to feel comfortable discussing sensitive matters with you. Teach your children that they should not be asked to touch anyone in the bathing suit areas of their body or allow anyone to touch them in those areas. Teach them types of situations to avoid. It is not good enough to tell a child to avoid strangers. Please remember that children are most often molested by someone they or their parents know.

Please feel free to call or email me with questions and/or to schedule a Block Watch meeting if your block is interested. My office phone at the precinct is (206) 256-6820.

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Why Seattle Public Schools will have increased security on Tuesday Tue, 03 Apr 2018 02:24:09 +0000 Thanks to the parent who forwarded us the following message that Seattle Public Schools subsequently confirmed to us was sent to families throughout the district:

In recent weeks, a social media post from the United Kingdom began promoting April 3 as “Harm a Muslim” Day. Social media can spread messages quickly, and some of SPS students are talking about this.

While this activity seems to be focused in Europe, in an abundance of caution, there will be increased security at schools. If you hear of something, please contact the district Safety & Security office at 206-252-0510 or call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.

As a school system, we will do everything we can to make sure our students are safe while in our care. Anyone who feels unsafe or targeted for any reason should immediately contact a trusted adult.

Harassment of any kind is not, and will not, be tolerated in Seattle Public Schools.

New York schools also are increasing security; Portland’s school district has sent a message to families after discovering flyers about the “day.”

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DATES CHANGED: Drop-in discussions for West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway Fri, 30 Mar 2018 22:14:06 +0000

As reported here back on Tuesday, SDOT says the planned West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway will extend into North Admiral, and invites you to two drop-in discussions about that. But the dates/locations have just been changed – SDOT’s Dawn Schellenberg says that has fixed a conflict with Seattle Public Schools‘ spring-break week (and we also note that one previously announced location that was way too small for a community meeting has been swapped out). The new dates/locations:

Saturday, April 14
10:30 AM-Noon
Uptown Espresso (Junction location, California/Edmunds/Erskine)

Thursday April 19
4:15-5:45 PM
West Seattle Library (Admiral District)

This will be West Seattle’s third greenway, after 26th SW in North Delridge and (South) Delridge-Highland Park.

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‘Problem solver’ explains local justice/court system to West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network Thu, 29 Mar 2018 02:22:50 +0000 From last night’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting at the precinct:

(Precinct liaison Joe Everett, right, with precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis seated at left)

PRECINCT LIAISON EXPLAINS THE JUSTICE SYSTEM: Joe Everett, the Southwest Precinct‘s liaison from the City Attorney’s Office, gave an overview, starting with an explanation of his role – the face of a “long-term, proactive partnership.” The program started in 1995 “as a thing that happened downtown,” then over time “moved out to the precincts.” Until late last year, South and Southwest Precincts were handled by one liaison lawyer; now, each precinct has its own. Reducing crime, developing a more efficient/effective response to public-safety problems, improving communications are all part of what he’s supposed to help with. Also: “Providing real-time, proactive legal advice for officers … protecting SPD resources by working closely with other City agencies to address neighborhood problems before they become criminal problems.” Overall, “I like to think of myself as a problem solver,” he summarized.

Explaining the court system:

He has the most experience with the Seattle Municipal Court; he was a prosecutor specializing in domestic violence. SMC is a “limited jurisdiction” court – handling violations of city ordinances, within the city; maximum penalty 1 year and $5,000 fine, misdemeanors/gross misdemeanors – examples of the latter include DUI, car prowling, theft, “simple assault.” Felonies are handled by King County Superior Court; misdemeanors outside the city are handled in King County District Court. That’s also where preliminary hearings – which must happen within 72 hours of arrest – are handled, regardless of where the eventual prosecution will be.

He explained which property crimes are non-felony and which are felonies. In some cases it depends on the value of what’s been stolen or damaged. Another difference is for example a defendant’s history – car prowling can be a felony if you have more than two previous convictions.

One of his slides presented the “anatomy of a criminal case” to help people understand who makes what decision – police investigate the crime, and forward the case to prosecutors. That’s who makes a charging decision, handling arraignment, pre-trial proceedings, and trial. Then a judge handles sentencing, prison/jail and/or probation and/or fines.

One attendee wanted to know how to look up information about suspects/defendants once they are making their way through the the system. Everett said he would be happy to help, provided there’s some information about the name, maybe a police incident #. (We noted that we do a lot of research, following up on suspects; you can get case numbers by looking up names in Washington Court Search – then Seattle Municipal Court makes documents available online for free, while King County Superior Court’s ECR Online system makes them available if you set up an account and prepurchase “pages.”)

So what about what some call the “revolving-door” justice system? Everett explained that the system is currently geared toward pre-trial release for suspects – either:

*On “personal recognizance”
*On bail or bond
*Conditions of release

That’s even if a judge finds there is “probable cause” to hold the person. “They can only hold someone if it’s been demonstrated that the person won’t appear for future hearings voluntarily, might commit a violent crime, or a few other factors. Even if someone “has 18 thefts on their record, if there’s no history of violence,” then they likely won’t be kept behind bars.

At least one person in attendance was incredulous at hearing that, citing at least one case on which we’ve reported in which a person was caught pretty much red-handed, and was a repeat offender, and yet was out of jail shortly thereafter. Yes, that’s how it often happens, Everett acknowledged. He later said there are usually “conditions” for release. The attendee scoffed at the concept of the accused person following rules.

Another attendee wondered about looking up judges’ records to review before elections. It’s all a matter of public record, Everett said.

He also explained stages along the way – decision points such as the investigation stage, the charging decision, trial decisions such as pretrial negotiations, defense investigations, discovery issues, and filing policies. “Certain prosecutors’ offices have their own guidelines about when they’ll file a case and when they won’t,” which can be frustrating for police and citizens, to say the least, Everett acknowledged.

He also talked about victims’ rights – which are listed under Revised Codes of Washington 7.69.030. So how do you know when there are hearings in the case? asked one attendee. You have to really stay on the prosecutor, Everett said.

Even once someone is out of jail, Everett added, that’s not necessarily the end of the case if there is probation (community custody) and, say, they violate its conditions.

Another question had to do with making decisions about prosecuting. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and City Attorney’s Office have voluminous filing policies, Everett replied. And he mentioned “there’s a lot of tough decisions” such as the one widely reported recently regarding the county deciding not to file lower-priority misdemeanors (from outside the city) so it could focus on higher-priority cases.

A discussion of filing standards followed, with a bit of police perspective as well as prosecutorial perspective. Sometimes it has to do with what kind of evidence they have – Everett gave a hypothetical example of someone being arrested for assault, it’s obvious they did it, but they have no cooperative witnesses nor anyone else who would provide evidence toward a conviction, so they might just “cut it loose” rather than take it through the system knowing there won’t be a conviction.

So what can we do to assist, to stop criminals from wreaking havoc in neighborhoods? asked an attendee. Everett: “Put the word out to your neighbors, to be calling 911, to report stuff -” some crimes go unreported and that doesn’t help matters. Everett said what you’ve heard before and we’ve said before – SPD for example is very data-driven so at least reporting a crime “goes on the ledger as a car prowl, and if enough people do that, Capt. Davis knows he has to send (resources) to (a certain area) to deal with it. … Make sure you have information, so that if you talk with a police officer, you have” a case number that you might have been given on a card by an officer. And Everett reiterated that the “liaison” part of his job is to help people figure out who to call and when. (His contact info is on the right sidebar here.)

POLICE UPDATE: From Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis, Highland Park is a nexus of property crime right now. Getting information to police as fast as possible is important. “The more bad guys we put in jail right now, the quieter our summer seems to be.” Lt. Ron Smith affirmed that they’re working on repeat offenders, depending on warrants or probable cause. No other info on trends/stats.

Capt. Davis was asked about the state of the Community Police Team. Kevin McDaniel, who used to work in High Point, is now a detective. Officer Todd Wiebke is working with High Point as well as his other accountabilities as point person on homelessness-related issues. John O’Neil continues as western West Seattle CPT officer; vacant houses are one of his areas of specialization. Officer Manning is a new member of the team, mostly for eastern West Seattle.

EMERGENCY EXERCISE: WSBWCN co-leaders Deb Greer and Karen Berge are also leaders in the local preparedness community and so wanted to be sure everyone knows that April 28th, volunteers are welcome to join the West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs‘ drill. Watch for more info soon!

The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meets fourth Tuesdays most months, 6:30 pm at the Southwest Precinct. Watch the WSBWCN website for updates between meetings.

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FOLLOWUP: School-zone beacons, curb-ramp upgrades on SW Admiral Way Tue, 27 Mar 2018 20:24:43 +0000 We checked in with SDOT today to see when the promised school-zone beacons would be installed on SW Admiral Way near Alki Elementary. Spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg replied, “The flashing beacon equipment has arrived. Installation to complete the work will happen in the next few weeks.” And she added this update on the 49th SW/SW Admiral Way intersection:

In addition to the other improvements planned at this intersection, our pedestrian program decided to upgrade the curb ramps on the side where the crosswalk is being moved and the flashing beacons are being installed. We’re completing the curb ramp design based on this updated improvement. The addition, however, will delay the installation somewhat. We still expect to have everything complete in 2018.

After her reply, we went by 49th/Admiral for a photo and discovered an SDOT crew had just arrived on scene:

The school-zone beacons were not part of the original SW Admiral Way Safety Project plan, but resulted from a discussion with Alki Elementary parents.

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What ever happened to Phase 2 of SDOT’s 35th SW Safety Project? Wed, 21 Mar 2018 21:43:13 +0000 (Looking south on 35th SW, south of SW Dawson)

More than four years ago, the city announced a “multi-year” safety project for 35th SW. One year after that, the first major phase was announced, including rechannelization between Roxbury and Willow. Another year passed before Phase 2 possibilities were unveiled – but no final plan has followed. After recent reader questions, we checked in today with SDOT point person Jim Curtin, five months after he told us Phase 2 was definitely still in the works. He tells WSB that Phase 2 “outreach” is now scheduled to start in early April, with “a mailer with the Phase 2 project elements, construction schedule, and potential project impacts,” as well as “a couple of drop-in sessions to gather input” and a website update that will include “the latest stats for Phase 1.”

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González, Durkan, Holmes say they’re working on new gun-safety laws Wed, 21 Mar 2018 20:21:53 +0000 Two weeks ago during a “town hall” event at Chief Sealth International High School, Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city was looking at laws to help prevent violence involving guns. Today, she and two other citywide elected officials announced what they’re working on – here’s the news release:

Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and Councilmember M. Lorena González announced that they will be developing legislation within the next month to address gun violence in Seattle. Following outreach and engagement with stakeholders including gun owners, safety advocates, community members, public health experts and others, this legislation will require safe storage of firearms and increase civil penalties and legal responsibility for not reporting lost or stolen firearms, which is required within 24 hours.

“We should not pretend for one second that the level of carnage in our country from guns is inevitable. We cannot allow it to become the new normal,” said Mayor Durkan. “Unsecured, unsafely stored firearms are more likely to be stolen, used in a suicide, accessed by children and teens and unintentionally fired.”

Across the country, nearly 1,300 children die and 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds each year. In 2015, an estimated 150,000 adults in King County reported keeping a firearm unlocked. In Seattle, 250 stolen guns were reported from burglaries and car prowls in 2017 according to Seattle Police Department.

“We’re taking seriously the call to action from youth and their families to address gun violence in our schools, our communities, and within our own homes,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González (Citywide, Position 9). “More than 40 percent of King County adults with guns in or around their home said they left them unlocked. This legislation is about public safety. Our proposal to require gunowners to safely store their firearms will prevent children from accessing guns, and will reduce firearm injuries, accidental deaths and suicides among our youth. Simply put: this strategy will help us create a safer community.”

“Gun violence and mass shootings are a plague on our society, and for too long our federal and state governments have failed to enact common sense measures to promote gun safety. I support, and am prepared to defend, Seattle taking steps to move forward at the local level,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.

In 2015, the Seattle City Council passed legislation to establish a tax on gun and ammunition sales to fund gun violence prevention research. Although the City Council continued funding gun violence prevention work at Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, the revenue was initially blocked due to ongoing litigation. With the tax upheld by the State Supreme Court, this proposal will invest 2018 revenue and future gun and ammo tax revenues in Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center’s work to help individuals with firearm injuries.

In 2013, Seattle became the first city in the nation to conduct basic research on gun safety. The City Council-funded research led to a report from The Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center that established that “gun violence begets gun violence.” The research found that individuals hospitalized for a firearm injury were 30 times more likely to be re-hospitalized for another firearm injury than people admitted to the hospital for non-firearm related injuries.

In addition, the City of Seattle and Seattle Police Department launched a new site,, to ensure all Seattle residents can easily complete an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). An ERPO was designed to give family, household members, and law enforcement a way to petition the court to restrict the access and ability for a person with health crisis issues to purchase or possess firearms. In Seattle, 18 ERPOs have been petitioned by law enforcement with 37 weapons recovered.

“From Columbine to Newtown to Parkland, we are constantly reminded that Extreme Risk Protection Orders are more important than ever. These protection orders won’t prevent every act of gun violence, but we know they are already making a difference,” said Seattle Interim Police Chief Carmen Best.

Councilmember González, a West Seattle resident re-elected last year to a citywide council seat, chairs the committee that would consider new laws, the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans, and Education Committee.

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REMINDER: Alaskan Way Viaduct inspection closure next weekend Sun, 18 Mar 2018 16:56:15 +0000 As we first mentioned a week and a half ago, next weekend brings what just might be the last of the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s twice-yearly inspection closures. It’s officially scheduled for two days as usual – 6 am-6 pm Saturday, March 24th, and 6 am-6 pm Sunday, March 25th – but these closures have tended in recent years to just need the first day.

For history fans, summaries of the inspections going back more than 15 years can be read here. As for why we note that this might be the last semiannual inspection, yet another briefing last Thursday (like this one three weeks ago) suggested the AWV might be out of service before October arrives.

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