New Southwest Precinct commander @ Fauntleroy Community Association: Priorities, crime trends, ‘defunding’

Now that he’s had two weeks to settle in, new Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman is making the rounds of community meetings. This past Tuesday night, he introduced himself to the Fauntleroy Community Association.

After sharing some of his background – which we reported here last month – he outlined his three top priorities for the precinct:

1. Violent crime (though he acknowledged it’s relatively low in West Seattle). That includes pre-emptive action – he said he tells his officers, if you can legally take a gun from someone who shouldn’t have it, do that. He also promised that shots-fired calls will be investigated thoroughly.

2. Auto theft – the city is in the top 25 nationwide for this crime, and though local numbers aren’t horrible, he wants to reduce them, as it’s a “very impactful” crime. He has a crime-analysis detective mapping for preventive action.

3. Burglaries – Also not high here but this is another “impactful” crime. So if there are hot spots, he wants to get resources on top of that..

West Seattle’s crime trends right now: Overall, 16 percent down from this time last year, “no other part of the city is looking as good as West Seattle right now” – and of course he acknowledges COVID-19 and the bridge closure are major factors. Violent crime is down 15 percent, auto theft down 5 percent, burglaries are down 22 percent. For Fauntleroy in particular, violent crime is almost non-existent, burglaries are down 38 percent, but auto theft is up 18 percent over this time last year.

Capt. Grossman said he hopes to focus on prevention efforts – such as making free “Club” type devices available, which he had done as South Precinct commander, via a Seattle Police Foundation grant.

In Q&A, he was asked who’s doing all the car-stealing. Mostly people who use the cars to commit other crimes, such as mail theft. He was also asked about the current political battle between the mayor and council over “defunding” SPD (the council discussed this further at its Wednesday budget meeting but has not yet voted on anything). He said he has spent several days reassuring officers at roll calls who are “wondering if they’re going to get a pink slip any day now,” while also hearing older officers wondering “how soon can I get out.” He’s hoping “the rhetoric calms down a bit” – he agrees that there’s an overreliance on 911 to solve our society’s problems, and acknowledges that police have traditionally ben asked to do a lot of things they shouldn’t do. “There’s room for a bigger conversation about what police should be doing, shouldn’t be doing.” but he hopes there’s room for a rational conversation, though he says 50 percent would be too big a cut – “a cut like that would be devastating and would seriously affect the level of service we would provide.” As for specific types of change, Grossman offered support for the CAHOOTS model. “That would take a lot of work away from us – that’s all right, but that’s not in place yet. … Would probably save the city a bunch of money and might turn out better than some of our calls.”

One other question – about the whereabouts of Steve Strand, since Grossman has a new second-in-command, Operations Lt. Sina Ebinger (the position Strand previously held). He noted that Strand has been promoted to captain and is now one of three citywide night captains.

Capt. Grossman is scheduled to be a guest at tonight’s Alki Community Council meeting, as noted in our morning preview.

Also discussed at the FCA meeting – the recent Washington State Ferries online community meeting (here’s our report), the recent District 1 Community Network meeting (here’s our report), and planning for the next annual community survey to be conducted by FCA.

The Fauntleroy Community Association will next meet in September; watch for updates.

42 Replies to "New Southwest Precinct commander @ Fauntleroy Community Association: Priorities, crime trends, 'defunding'"

  • walt July 16, 2020 (4:12 pm)

    Is there a way to know how many stolen cars are recovered? I was told that cities with working ports have higher car theft because it’s easy to ship them out. While it makes sense that the older easier to seal cars are stolen to commit other crimes I thought that newer and higher end cars that get stolen are shipped out of the country via the ports.

  • Matt P July 16, 2020 (4:15 pm)

    “no other part of the city is looking as good as West Seattle right now”The bridge being out probably has a lot to do with that.

    • WSB July 16, 2020 (4:52 pm)

      As is noted immediately after that phrase.

  • Mike July 16, 2020 (4:24 pm)

    How about we just defund police in the neighborhoods that have the most people who are calling for it?  People who enjoy the quality of life that a properly supported police department provides stay happy, and people who want to experience what life would be like without police around get their wish too.  Everybody wins.

    • A July 16, 2020 (5:04 pm)

      Yes Mike and also let us know what communities don’t want police so we know never to visit them. With such a big decision such as defunding the police, it baffles me that it isn’t going to be put to a vote and that the council is deciding this for us. They are cowering to the vocal minority and it’s pretty disgusting what they are turning this city into

      • CatLady July 16, 2020 (11:23 pm)

        Dude, give it a rest already. #1 – there have been tens of thousands of people out protesting, week after week. Less than a hundred showed up for the pro police rally that was held yesterday lolol. And yet the people who want to defund the police are the “vocal minority”? Sure Jan. #2 do you not understand how representative democracy works? We the people don’t need to vote on defunding the police, we voted on who we want on the city council representing us. That’s their job. 

    • Lagartija Nick July 16, 2020 (5:16 pm)

      How about you learn what the defund movement is actually about? Hint, it doesn’t mean no police.

      • A July 16, 2020 (6:47 pm)

        I know more about the defund movement than you do Nick and I know it is an absolutely terrible idea. Let’s let the citizens vote on it. Why is the council deciding this for us? If it’s such a great idea then let’s see what the voters have to say about it

      • Brenda July 16, 2020 (7:25 pm)

        Yes, it does. You should educate yourself Nick. 

      • heartless July 16, 2020 (8:35 pm)

        Lagartija Nick,

        Absolutely correct.

      • Bradley July 17, 2020 (12:34 am)

        90+% of the entire SPD budget is officer salaries and benefits. ANY cuts beyond 10% mean fewer patrol officers and detectives. 

    • WestSeattle family July 16, 2020 (5:45 pm)

      Properly supporting the police is part of defunding. Supporting them by ensuring services that are not police response appropriate get the right response. 8 police responded to 2 people verbally arguing near my home yesterday. The 2 people departed after I asked if they needed help – offered compassion and help. Long before the police even arrived. Several police hung around over an hour chatting. Watched them search and rifle through a car parked nearby with no evidence of a warrant. Militaristic black uniforms with black masks covering faces. For some of us – that kind of police presence is simply fear inducing and certainly a waste of tax dollars.  

      • WW Resident July 16, 2020 (7:00 pm)

        You mean the black uniforms that was under O’Toole? The black covid masks that the city gave to all city employees? Did Smollett write the rest of your post? It seems contrived

      • A July 16, 2020 (7:01 pm)

        You can’t say properly supporting the police means defunding them. That makes zero sense. Our police department is already understaffed and underfunded. They need more funds not less. Boston is a city with less of a population than ours yet they have 700 more police officers. Lisa Herbold was on board with hiring more officers during her election campaign yet now she’s on board with defunding them and having less officers? Makes no sense other than the council has an agenda and are anti police. Also, when the police were called to that argument you are describing, there is always a chance that argument escalates and someone gets shot or stabbed. If the argument was between people living together, the odds of that argument turning violent go up quite a bit. If you are suggesting we call in a social worker for a situation like that then you are going to end up getting that social worker killed as they will not have a weapon to defend themselves. The USA has more guns than any other country and it’s not even close so like it or not we need cops and they need guns to defend themselves while protecting us. Also there’s this thing called Corona virus. Not sure if you’ve heard of it but it’s kind of contagious so that could explain why those scary cops were wearing masks

        • heartless July 16, 2020 (7:16 pm)

          “You can’t say properly supporting the police means defunding them. That makes zero sense.”

          Sure you can.  You can say to the police: you are doing way too much, a lot of stuff you never signed on for, a lot of stuff you were never trained for, and a lot of stuff you really don’t want to do.  You are overworked, as evidenced by how much overtime you work.  We are going to take away money that, for example, was previously allocated to overtime pay, but in exchange there are many calls that you will no longer need to respond to.

          Maybe it’s the gin talking, but I just can’t see how this is so hard to understand…

          • Glenda July 16, 2020 (7:49 pm)

            Two problems with this though:   1) If the tone of the conversation was actually what you mentioned here i.e. ‘thank you for your work, you’ve been asked to do too much by society, we have some ideas of how to relieve your burdens, let’s talk about what that looks like…” I don’t think ANY officers would have any issues with that.  Instead much of the rhetoric is “ALL officers are evil (unprintables) etc.” which isn’t exactly a great place to start a conversation.  2) I don’t think you understand exactly how overtime works?  A lot of it is requested or needed – either by a call going over, or short staffing, emphasis teams and also a ton of special event staffing (Seafair, etc).  So yes, you can relieve some of this with different kinds of services to take some of those calls, but it also comes from community requests – people ASKING for certain emphasis or events to be staffed. So requests and demands need to be looked at as well, it’s not a one to one tradeoff.  My point is – to get the actual level of services needed (more social services) you may actually end up with more people on a call (for security reasons social workers/mental health specialists may want an officer nearby or to respond with them) and it all may cost more money total.  Which honestly, I’m fine with if we get better services. It’s just not that simple. 

          • heartless July 16, 2020 (8:32 pm)

            Glenda, good points.

            I’m not too worried about tone, but you are right–police are on the defensive, in part because of the violent (against them) rhetoric.  I’ve tried to avoid most of that rhetoric, but they surely know it’s out there, and it makes any talks about this harder for them to stomach.

            As for overtime, I don’t think we disagree?  I’m saying if much of their work is taken over by others, they won’t have to put in as much overtime.  That’s all. 

            Finally, with regards to hiring others–no, I don’t think that will cost more money.  I mean, how much do you think social workers earn?  They have more training than cops, true, BUT their jobs typically pay a lot less.  Just google salaries for social worker v cop.   

        • KM July 17, 2020 (9:24 am)

          More police isn’t better policing, and Boston PD as a comparison to anything remotely positive gave me a hearty laugh. So, thanks for that. But honestly, more of a corrupt thing isn’t a good thing, and its important to remember our experiences with police are largely shaped by our race and wealth presentation. It seems like more cops might seem like a “good thing” for me, someone who presents as white, female, non-disabled, and middle-class, the lived experiences of others proves otherwise. We have to focus on reducing harm rather than protecting the illusion of safety that police presence gives many of us. 

          • Jess July 21, 2020 (11:00 am)

            I think your point about recognizing how much our race impacts our view of the police is so important. Most of West Seattle is predominately white and hasn’t experienced police racism (not that all police are always racist) or the fear that the presence of police may instill. I believe it is so important to listen to the stories of people of color at this time and the racism they have experienced for years. I know it’s easy to be scared and reactive with all the change that’s happening, but please open your hearts to how scared so many people have been for so long. Let’s shift this conversation from attacking each other to how can we best be allies to our black and brown communities in this ongoing fight for equality.

        • wscommuter July 17, 2020 (1:24 pm)

          “Defund the police” is different than “cut SPD by 50%”.  I understand the difference and there can be a serious discussion about the former; there cannot be about the latter.   Right now, 7 of our city council members, including Ms. Herbold, are advocating for the stupid, ignorant and radical 50% cut idea.I have no problem with a thoughtful, planned change in allocating resources and finding alternative methods for delivering services which address certain social problems.  Dealing with the mentally ill comes readily to mind and the CAHOOTS program may be part of the solution, for example.  However, advocating for a knee-jerk/arbitrary 50% cut in SPD funding is just moronic and does no more than pander to the far left anti-police crowd.  There is no data that I am aware of which has looked at SPD’s budget and identified specific units which could be cut without an impact on services we should all want the police to perform.  I’ve seen the (ignorant) ranting about police overtime and suffice to say, those claims don’t address the contract situation SPD had to deal with (is still dealing with).  I’m sure there are tasks SPD would be pleased to no longer perform that community activists would like done by someone else.  Cool – identify those,  staff them and fund them from SPD’s budget.  Of course, that isn’t what is being discussed now; instead right now, all we have is the bleating of the “all cops are bad” crowd, who have nothing of substance to add to the conversation.  

          • Barton July 17, 2020 (3:29 pm)

            Thank you WScommuter.  Hopefully people will educate themselves that the concept of “defund the police” – a concept worth further exploration – is NOT what is being proposed with this moronic arbitrary 50% slash of the budget with no meaningful plan.   Every time I think the City Council cannot propose something stupider under the guise of “progressiveness” (which is lapped up with zero critical thinking by a segment of this city), they do .

      • Anne July 16, 2020 (7:56 pm)

        I’ll bet lots of police would rather not have to be social workers, drug counselors, mental health workers. Westseattle Family-since you diffused the situation so well- & long  before police arrived- hopefully you’ll sign up to part of community police-of course you could wear mask color of your choice. 

        • WSJ July 17, 2020 (11:26 pm)

          5% of police calls are violent-crime related. The other 95% is the kind of stuff you mention cops don’t like to do… doesn’t that tell you we hired the wrong people for the job? And that we should hire people who want to do what’s needed, not simply what they want to?

    • TreeHouse July 16, 2020 (5:51 pm)

      Im all about defunding and reallocating those resources elsewhere. SPD’s demonstrated their unaccountable culture during the protests. My eyes have been opened. I’m proud of Lisa for taking a stand to be on the right side of history. 

      • Really July 16, 2020 (7:07 pm)

        I hope you’re OK speaking for yourself and not the rest of the community. I’m happy to have police and wish they were able to do more.I just got my ballot and will be voting for Republicans this time around. 

        • heartless July 16, 2020 (7:18 pm)

          Funny, cuz they wish they were doing less.  Most police in this country feel they’re spread too thin.

          • WS Guy July 16, 2020 (10:27 pm)

            That’s why the police need more, not less funding.  But to the extent that they stop policing it will be up to private citizens to pick up the slack.  I’ll be voting Republican and I’m also thinking about getting a firearm.  

            Maybe an HK VP-9?  Any recommendations?

          • Question Authority July 17, 2020 (8:22 am)

            Self contained backpack rotary belt-fed Minigun, like in the original movie “Predator” would work fine.

          • heartless July 17, 2020 (8:45 am)

            WS Guy:
            Imagine cops are really busy tracking down lost pets and dangerous animals.  They are so busy that to also be available for responding to crimes they need to work overtime.

            I’d suggest we just hire some animal control workers, and let them do all the animal stuff.  To free up the cops to do actual, you know, policing.  That way animal specialists get to deal with the animals, and cops don’t have to.  

            YOUR solution, in the previous example, is to give the police more money so they can hire more cops so that we have enough cops to police but also to deal with animal problems.

            Here are just a couple reasons why I think your solution (just hiring more cops) is dumb:

            1) cops don’t want to be dealing with animals in the first place–you know who does?  Animal control workers. 

            2) cops cost a lot more money, so why pay cops to chase down stray dogs when someone else can do a better job for cheaper?

            (And no, I don’t have a recommendation for a firearm for you, sorry–haven’t been interested in guns since I was a little kid.)  

  • WW Resident July 16, 2020 (5:12 pm)
    Exerpt from a Q13 news article in which I hope that this kind of rational thinking gains more traction :SEATTLE – The Seattle Police Department’s African American Community Advisory Council is calling out the Seattle City Council and the mayor for their plans to slash the Seattle Police Department budget without further input from the community.

    • A July 16, 2020 (9:04 pm) Please everyone that disagrees with defunding the police send her an email and voice your concerns. I’ve never reached out to the council before but I just sent her an email. This issue is that important that the silent majority needs to be heard. We can no longer sit by silently and let this city be turned into an experiment by a socialist city council. We saw first hand what happens with no police presence in CHOP. Two murders with multiple others shot, sexual assaults and arson just to name a few and that was only in a two week period. Let’s not let our city turn into CHOP. Please email Lisa and the other council members

  • dftl July 16, 2020 (6:51 pm)

    “Scary black masks”… Wow

  • D July 16, 2020 (7:01 pm)

    “That includes pre-emptive action – he said he tells his officers, if you can legally take a gun from someone who shouldn’t have it, do that. “

    What exactly does that mean? As opposed to illegally? I’m not sure what the above statement means in a practical/operational sense. 

    • mok4315 July 16, 2020 (7:43 pm)

      It means if someone is in processionals of a gun illegally, they have legal grounds to take it away. 

      • mok4315 July 16, 2020 (8:18 pm)


  • uncle loco July 16, 2020 (7:54 pm)

    Does anyone else notice that when there is a problem in the city the council’s solution is always to raise taxes and throw money at it. In this case the police are the perceived problem and now the council solution is to defund by 50%. I guarantee you this isn’t about fiscal responsibility since they will find somewhere else to squander that money. There’s something else at play here but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

    • Wsguy123 July 16, 2020 (9:46 pm)


  • A July 16, 2020 (8:49 pm)

    What we should be defunding is the homeless budget. Hundreds of millions of dollars pissed away by the city every year and what are the results we get? We get a problem that gets worse every year and then the council asks for more money to throw at the problem. Well whatever the city is doing is clearly not working so either they are completely incompetent or they are running a great scam. I’m done throwing away money on this issue let’s defund the city’s homeless industry and reallocate those funds to hiring more officers and cleaning up our streets

  • Wsguy123 July 16, 2020 (9:43 pm)

    We should only be talking defunding once police are able to get a handle on the low level crimes. They can’t even get to a lot of things because of politics or low staffing levels. If you are in West Seattle and drive or walk, then you should see what I am talking about. People are getting away with moving violations. It’s been such an ongoing problem, people are quite comfortable in their illegal actions no matter the form of transportation you choose. It’s so dangerous that I am surprised there are not more collisions.

  • 1994 July 16, 2020 (10:09 pm)

    Defunding the police and giving non-profits increased funding raises issues of accountability for how the funds are actually spent. The non-profits will need to come up with performance measures, have audits, and the city will need to write contracts for all of this….another layer of bureaucracy, new city jobs will need to be created….in the end all of this costing even more money then perhaps what is spent at present funding law enforcement.  I work in social services. Social services staff calls for police assistance, often. The job roles/duties of police and social services are getting blurred with the defund the police and give the funds to social services ideas. Each job has their role. 

  • WS Guy July 16, 2020 (10:24 pm)

    This is less about defunding police and more about shifting funds to their friends in the social services businesses.  The council did not measure their effectiveness or hold them accountable to performance metrics before, and they won’t in the future either.  

    They’ll just ask for more dollars as crime rates rise.

  • Cogburn July 17, 2020 (6:27 am)

    A couple of months ago the SPD were essential workers, heroes we hailed. Now the city council has branded them as dangerous out of control monsters. We all should know chaz/chop started out as peaceful assembly quickly taken over by criminals, gangs and persons supported by SA socialist alternative organization purposefully creating situations that put the police in a bad light. That is SA’s modus operendi in many cities – paint the police as evil, then try to install socialist agendas, like one of our city council members. Seattle is looking at over 700 officers cut when statistics prove severe under-staffing already and the closure of the SW precinct. This will be severe for west seattle. We do need to have other means of addressing calls that could be handled by competent persons not police, sure. Do you want to devastate the police coverage in your neighborhood to do that? Please let the council know if this concerns you. WS has no bridge, no hospital and soon to have only a handful of officers.

Sorry, comment time is over.