10:08 AM: At City Hall right now, three city councilmembers, including West Seattle/South Park’s Lisa Herbold, are holding a news conference explaining the police-budget plan. The council’s president, Lorena González, is speaking first. “We as a council are unified” and want to talk with the mayor and chief, she says, adding that she’s sent a letter offering chances to meet with them.
10:15 AM: Herbold speaks now. “Reimagining” does in fact begin with ideas that “may not at first seem realistic,” she contends. She talks about the importance of activists’ and advocates’ involvement. The goal is to “reduce the footprint of armed police officers'” response to calls, she says, noting that 56 percent of 911 calls are of types that could be handled in other ways. She and González both renewed their call for SPD to cut positions “out of order” rather than the standard “last hired, first fired.”
10:21 AM: Councilmember Tammy Morales, saying her district is home to people who are “overpoliced,” is speaking now. “The mayor and police chief have sought to undermine our credibility,” she declares. Like the other two, she also emphasizes that the public-safety reinvention is part of something going on nationwide – a “racial reckoning … (which) is here and we can’t let it slip away without dramatic, impactful change, even if it makes us uncomfortable. … This council is working hard to restructure community safety … We invite the mayor to walk alongside us, or step out of the way.”
10:31 AM: They’re in Q&A now. One question involves what will be done about homelessness response with the plan to eliminate the Navigation Team. Organizations that are already working in social services will do the work – with increased outreach – they reply, while adding that other programs such as other departments’ trash collection will not be affected.”The Navigation Team … has a dismal success rate … in comparison to our third-party providers,” González says.
11:17 AM: The briefing has ended. We’ll substitute the archived video above when it’s available.
12:27 PM: You can now see that video above or here. Meantime, SPD has announced that it “will be launching a Re-envisioning Public Safety website, outlining what SPD is doing to engage the community and working toward change,” with a media event at 2:30 this afternoon.