Tomorrow morning, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole reports to the City Council on her first three months leading SPD. The agenda includes this written report, with multiple points of special interest here. For one, she briefly mentions a potential change in the future of the surveillance camera/wireless mesh system first reported here in January 2013 – a system that has been put on hold pending SPD development of policies for its use, as mandated by the City Council a year and a half ago. Now, it seems SPD might be seeking to hand it off:
In accordance with City Ordinance 124142 the department has not utilized the Port Wireless Mesh system. We are exploring the prospect of transferring the management and administration of the Wireless Mesh system to the City IT Department.
Our last update on the system’s status was in March, when Mayor Ed Murray told WSB he didn’t expect them to be used for a long time – if ever.
Many other aspects of SPD operations are mentioned in the report, but this one caught our eye – the subject of unsolved murders. West Seattle has at least four in the past few years – Stephen Jeffries, Jr. (January 2014), Greggette Guy (March 2012), Kaari Higgins (January 2011), and Jeremy Peck (December 2010) come to mind, for starters. The report does not mention specific cases but says this:
The Criminal Investigations Bureau Chief and Violent Crimes Captain have conducted a thorough review of all unsolved homicides twice during 2014. While I cannot discuss specifics of those open investigations in this report, I can tell you that the cases that remain unsolved have either problems with the integrity of evidence or a lack of cooperation from witnesses. I hope that we can develop greater trust and communication with our community so that individuals with information about these cases or other unsolved crimes will come forward.
Chief O’Toole’s briefing is scheduled for 10 am during Monday morning’s City Council “briefing” meeting. Immediately afterward, she and other SPD leaders will update the council on bias crimes/incidents in the city; the accompanying report says five were in the Southwest Precinct, out of 60 citywide, in the first half of this year.