FOLLOWUP: No police at Alki closing time tonight

10:54 PM: Closing time at Alki tonight looked a lot like last night in one way – quiet, no fires, not-so-summery weather. But in another way, it was different: No police. As reported here this morning, red tape strangled the plan for three officers on overtime to help Seattle Parks at closing time Thursdays-Fridays-Saturdays, with Parks covering the cost, after just one night (here’s our Thursday night coverage). Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman said today, “I learned yesterday that any movement of funds from one city agency (e.g., Parks) to another (e.g., SPD) requires city council approval. So until that issue is resolved, the dedicated Alki emphasis patrols will be paused. This is a disappointing development — both for my officers and for the neighborhood.” So what happens now? We immediately inquired with both Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office and Parks. Herbold legislative assistant Newell Aldrich told us in the morning they were “looking into it” and then at day’s end sent this update: “We haven’t got answers from Parks to our questions; they’ve indicated the answers are more complicated than they anticipated. They are working on getting us answers.” So it appears the ball is in Parks’ court right now (we haven’t heard back from them yet at all). Meantime, Capt. Grossman added that he has “directed that our available on-duty resources conduct patrols on Alki when not otherwise committed”; no officers were in sight as we drove the length of Alki, including Don Armeni, before and after the 9:30 pm closing time tonight. There was a Parks vehicle on the promenade, headed west right at 9:30, but it then headed out of the park; by then, light rain was falling.

2:24 AM: Commenters say the fires started later in the night tonight. Here’s a photo sent by a reader:

54 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: No police at Alki closing time tonight"

  • Curate August 8, 2020 (12:02 am)

    Subtext of headline: Hey lawbreakers, you have a few more days of freedom!

    • lm443 August 8, 2020 (8:47 am)

      Other subtext: SPD is slow-walking doing their job by jamming it up in bureaucratic red tape, in order to register their dissatisfaction with the council’s defund vote. Note that nobody knows the answer on how to move this money because nobody’s had to do it before.Same playbook for police depts across the country when they reap what they sow: Jam the citizens up and refuse to do their job. 

      • Friend O'Dinghus August 8, 2020 (10:16 am)

        Complete supposition. Any supporting evidence that SPD is doing this, or are you just creating as much ill-will as you possibly can? Is your agenda more important than the truth? No, it is not.

      • Frog August 8, 2020 (11:32 am)

        I think you are being very unfair to the police here.  Attempting to enforce laws would bring them into potential conflict with citizens, which is very problematic now.  Especially young citizens of color.  Police know that if they get in conflict with citizens, they have few tools to work with, and the public does not support them.  If anything goes wrong, they will be savagely criticized.  A large, influential segment of the public is telling them not to enforce laws, and not to engage citizens (and trying to defund and fire them so it’s not even an option.)  It’s totally reasonable for the police to back off, and reassess which laws they can reasonably enforce, where, when, with whom.There is even a deeper level of conflict here, which is hard to discuss, but needs to be understood.  The lawbreakers having beach fires and partying past closing time on the beach probably don’t consider the laws they are breaking to be legitimate.  They probably consider it to be just an expression of the dominant culture by rich people who live in Alki.  Breaking those laws might not be so much a sign of flawed character, as you seem to assume, as an act of civil disobedience.  Before you scoff, go count the piles of dog poop on the Alki playfield.  Privileged people in Alki also pick and choose which laws they will obey, and disregard laws they don’t consider legitimate.  Considering what affects me personally the most, I would rather the police patrol the parks and ticked scofflaw dog owners than patrol the beach and hassle young people having parties.  We all have our different perspectives.

        • Jim August 8, 2020 (12:51 pm)

           >>>The lawbreakers having beach fires and partying past closing time on the beach probably don’t consider the laws they are breaking to be legitimate.<<<  You are onto something there Frog.     Individuals picking and choosing which laws to obey based their own viewpoint.  Where have we seen this lack of respect for “the law” before?           Sanctuary City ring a bell?   Slippery slope when you start a precedent.  

        • B.W. August 9, 2020 (8:40 pm)

          Absolutely well said 🐸

    • Alki Res August 8, 2020 (11:37 am)

      Thanks for announcing it! I enjoyed the one night of peace and safety. Why are we advertising to the lawbreakers who have taken over?  We appreciated the police presence. However, if they are not going to stand up and protect the communities, then why should we believe there is a problem with defunding them? 

  • ws August 8, 2020 (12:57 am)

    I drove down Alki Ave around 12:30 and saw 8-10 fires.  No large groups of people, however.

  • Wsguy123 August 8, 2020 (1:38 am)

    I hope they get the budget sorted out because I cannot wait to see all the scofflaws get told to leave on one of the busy sunny warm days/nights. At least until 11. How hard is it to be aware of and follow the law or be considerate of others like with the constant fireworks noise or smoke from illegal fires? 

    • Anne August 8, 2020 (7:35 am)

      Are you kidding around here it’s impossible for many. 

    • John August 8, 2020 (8:03 am)

      Imagine the possibilities if a 50% defunding of SPD goes through.We’ll have a lot more than fires to worry about.

    • WTF August 8, 2020 (8:16 am)

      As rhetorical as your question is, the short answer is, It’s Seattle. That’s why.

  • 22blades August 8, 2020 (5:02 am)

    Red Tape over public safety: another display of a lack of leadership.  On Thursday, the community applauded. On Friday the community was once again let down. Seattle loves the discussion of minutia over executing a plan. The police department can find a way to navigate around a consent decree but can’t keep three patrol officers on a known public nuisance affecting safety.

  • Cogburn August 8, 2020 (5:07 am)

    Wait until red tape, approvals and “looking into it” comes to the 911 call center. Political policing won’t work. Come to the stop defunding rally tomorrow, Sunday 12:00 pm at City Hall. No bricks or gas masks needed. 

    • Jethro Marx August 8, 2020 (8:20 pm)

      “Stop defunding” is ambiguous and borders on a double negative realm; you ought to call it the “status quo” rally. I’m glad you’re not planning on bringing bricks; are the wacky open-carry guys going to show up in wannabe cop gear? 

  • MaryV August 8, 2020 (6:56 am)

    WSB – how you you been able to reach anyone associated with Lisa Herbold? I and several neighbors have tried to reach her over the last 2 months. She replied to one of my messages saying her staff person would reach me within 2 weeks, but 2 months later, crickets. 

    • Mark B August 8, 2020 (1:27 pm)

      So far the only proven way to communicate with CM Herbold is by showing up at her house en masse at 10pm. Perhaps if we reduce her salary and cut the Council’s budget by 50%, she and her colleagues will become more representative and effective. 

      • Duffy August 8, 2020 (3:32 pm)


    • ACG August 8, 2020 (3:05 pm)

      I also have tried reaching her by email and by phone and have never received anything from her- not even a promise of a follow up. So frustrating. 

  • anonyme August 8, 2020 (7:08 am)

    Pulling ALL police seems like a stunt.  The games being played by both sides of the defund debacle are childish, and at the expense of law-abiding taxpayers.  Rather than pay cops overtime through another budget, why not just fine everyone on the beach?  That would more than pay for the time needed by the cops to do it.  Win-win instead of lose-lose.

    • Duffy August 8, 2020 (3:34 pm)

      Good point. Why do cops throw their hands up and play the “budget” card when all we are asking is for them to do their jobs?

      • Curious August 8, 2020 (5:12 pm)

        Duffy – agreed! The police should be responding to crimes. If what is happening at Alki is a crime – and they don’t respond – then they aren’t doing their jobs. Including the SW precinct leadership! 

  • flimflam August 8, 2020 (7:21 am)

    seems like the council has waaaay too much power in this city – but, if they promise to run their next election cycle with “no police/police = bad” as a central theme i could at least respect them a little bit. the bait-and-switch they are pulling now is pretty shameful.

  • Stay home stop the virus 🦠 from spreading August 8, 2020 (8:10 am)

    Excellent , what a waste of taxpayers money to pay 💰 police to go to Alki.  Instead people should learn to follow the law and have some common sense and stay home and stop 🛑 maybe spreading the virus 🦠. Because of people who continue to go to beaches and having parties is helping contribute to why children and adults are unable to go to school and college in person and also why so many places are closed and people are out of jobs. STAY HOME And HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF THIS DEADLY VIRUS 🦠! This might save your life and someone in your family life!

    • Anne August 8, 2020 (9:40 am)

      You do understand that folks are NOT  doing all those things -right? Yes they should- but, as often happens-when we leave following rules/laws  – or just doing the right thing up to individuals/groups -many just can’t/won’t comply. These folks  aren’t ignorant -they just flat out don’t care about themselves or anyone else -family or not.  The people who live  along  Alki should be able to have some semblance of peace & quiet after park hours end. If it takes SPD/SFD & Parks Dept. to accomplish that -then so be it. 

  • Hmmmmm August 8, 2020 (8:29 am)

    It was right back to the usual night time noise and crowds at Don Armeni park Friday. Looking forward to the Parks quick response.

  • Kj August 8, 2020 (8:34 am)

    This looks like a Fire Department issue not a Police problem. If the fires were anywhere else in the city SFD would put them out.

  • Jennifer August 8, 2020 (8:46 am)

    I still don’t quite understand the governs reasoning for the curfews?  If we are all wearing masks and distancing how does the virus know what time it is? 

  • MW August 8, 2020 (9:12 am)

    Social workers should be sent to deal with the beach scofflaws and noise violators.  No need to send armed cops!

    • Richard August 8, 2020 (12:51 pm)

      Ridiculous. People already ignore the Parks Dept new “Rangers”.  Only a police officer gets their attention; and why not? It’s their job to enforce laws and curfews

    • Are you being serious August 8, 2020 (1:14 pm)

      I really hope you are being sarcastic. Do expect them do have impromptu counseling sessions?

    • Bubba August 8, 2020 (11:09 pm)

      Exactly. Defund the Police!!

  • Alki-Holic August 8, 2020 (9:13 am)

    Defund the police!!!…. Until it affects “my” neighbor hood…. Now we need extra patrols!! Good luck w/ that…

    • Bubba August 8, 2020 (11:06 pm)


  • Anne August 8, 2020 (9:44 am)

    And SFD has done that – Blog reported on that week or so ago. But once  they put out those fires -SFD can’t really be expected to sit down at Alki for hours. They also shouldn’t be ones to enforce park hours rules-that’s also a big part of the problem. 

  • aRF August 8, 2020 (9:56 am)

    The Seattle City Council has been bending over backwards to move funds out of the Police Department (whether it contributes to equity or not… see Danny Westneat’s column). So when funding starts to trickle back in to the PD from another city agency forced to perform policing functions for which it is not equipped, of course you can expect the Council to aggressively interrogate such moves.

  • JohnW August 8, 2020 (10:07 am)

    Station one SFD pump truck with fire hoses from Alki or better yet, a SFD Vessel to douse the fires (and remaining scofflaws) with sea water from offshore.

    • Michael Waldo August 8, 2020 (11:47 am)

      Love this idea! Fire boat would be a safe distance away but still get the job done.

  • Just wondering August 8, 2020 (10:08 am)

    Release the Fire Boats!

    • 22blades August 8, 2020 (6:32 pm)


  • Anne H. August 8, 2020 (10:26 am)

    We need help. We want our neighborhood to be safe, no matter what time of day it is. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, is it?

  • JL-Alki August 8, 2020 (10:45 am)

    PHOTO FROM LAST NIGHT. I was the one that took the photo of the fires shown above, at precisely 11:30 PM. They’d started up about a half hour earlier after the rain let up, so the editor must’ve just missed them in her 10:54 PM pass. A police vehicle drove by at about 11:40, when the fires were many and street racer activity was brisk. If they had just turned on their lights, stopped for two minutes and announced that the beach was closed over their loudspeaker, as they have done for years in the past, it may have at least had some small effect. They wouldn’t have had to even get out of their car, but they just rolled by in darkness, unnoticed by the Covid super-spreaders down on the beach. The racers saw them but were unconcerned. We have a complete view of Alki Beach from our window and have been observing its dynamics for 26 years. It is a priceless treasure, a crown jewel of our city. This can be managed. They’ve done it successfully before and know how to do it, if that institutional memory still exists. We witnessed that success during many summer seasons. Also, KUOW announced the SPD-Parks Dept partnership on the news, saying it was in response to “noise complaints” with no mention of last week’s drive-by shootings or nightly Covid super-spreading concerns — just “noise complaints” from neighbors. As a working journalist, I was deeply disappointed. This CAN be stopped, dear Seattleites, and must be, for so many reasons. 

    • Richard August 8, 2020 (12:47 pm)

      You are squad car with its lights on, a spotlight, and intercom, used to professionally close the beach every night; maybe a 2nd pass a half hour later to check on stragglers

    • Anne August 8, 2020 (1:09 pm)

       So what-is there any chance at all that SPD  has been ordered to stand down from beach patrol? Or maybe all they had was one car available-to drive by -but with that many groups & fires on beach – with no back up that officer was not going to try & move them out alone.  (People think it’s a joke /lie that SPD is understaffed- but I’ve you remember -way back to last year -Mayor Durkan -as part of campaign promises -said she would hire more police officers .The last I recall there were going to be 22 new hires-then COVID hit-so no academy- then everything else hit. You can count on it-Seattle will not be adding more police officers in the foreseeable future. )Do you really think-getting on their loud speaker to announce  Beach was closed-which obviously every person there  knew-would have had one ounce of chance of being effective??   But you’re right  – it might have been worth a try. In years past SPD would have mobile precinct parked down there-several cars, bike patrols -even mounted patrols -we’ve seen the last of those days . Maybe folks should get on the PARKS Dept. instead- Its their territory( beach) seems they have $$-as they were going to use it to pay SPD- why is no one slamming them for not moving folks off beach after hours? I mean-doing that wouldn’t result in anything dangerous right-they shouldn’t need police help.? Oh —maybe they don’t have the authority-so let SCC give them the authority-should be easy  fix right? If you’re concerned about COVID spreaders-maybe you should contact Seattle Health Dept-or Governors office. The police ( SPD/KCSO) from the beginning of COVID rules -made it clear they were not going to enforce  distancing, masks etc. Next time you’re up late-taking pics etc. if you see an SPD car out there-maybe you could go out & flag him down & mention your concerns. As a working journalist- you might find their response interesting -even worth a story.

  • Mj August 8, 2020 (12:42 pm)

    Many commentors are hypocrites, you want the beach goers to stay home?  Why not say EVERYONE needs to stay home after 2130?   

  • Randy August 8, 2020 (1:11 pm)

    With people’s wisdom alone, this will happen. What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. Look this quote up.

  • Jim P. August 8, 2020 (1:44 pm)

    A slow descent into chaos while elected officials play “Hide the potato” with each other and our tax dollars.

    One imagines a different scenario if partiers set up a few fire rings and picnics on the Mayor’s front lawn late of an evening.

  • Jim August 8, 2020 (1:52 pm)

    Elections have consequences 

  • Mj August 8, 2020 (2:11 pm)

    JL-Alki  you state the people at Alki Beach are super Covid spreaders please provide the data?

    • Wsres August 8, 2020 (11:04 pm)

      MJ, don’t be obtuse. Everyone has potential to be a covid-spreader. I am betting they are younger people since they said “Super” covid spreader.

  • alki_2008 August 9, 2020 (12:05 am)

    9 beach fires at 11:45pm, Saturday.  Even if cops sweep the beach until 11pm, it’s not going to stop people.

  • Brian August 9, 2020 (5:54 am)

    There is an obvious answer:  Pay the police out of a neighborhood pool of funds. Start a go fund me or something. It’s a classic protection racket. You have to pay for protection, apparently. Or, if you don’t want the cops, maybe there is a version of the mafia that can step in. Mob areas in Brooklyn and the Bronx stay quiet and drug-free, but it’s not the cops that keep it that way.  Think of it as a form of wealth tax.  Or a homeowners association. 

  • Beth August 9, 2020 (7:57 am)

    This will continue until there are actual -real- consequences. The lack of respect is abundantly clear. When you just pat them on the head and say “there there” nothing (zero) will impact their choice to continue the behavior.

  • Kevin August 9, 2020 (10:13 pm)

    Why is the nightly beach closure and noise ordinance such a hard thing for the authorities to control? Have you ever been to La Jolla? They have strict laws posted on signs and they enforce it with costly tickets. And guess what? No nightly fireworks or drag racing. 

Sorry, comment time is over.