By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If you were at Alki Beach on Sunday afternoon/evening, you might have noticed a significant police presence. While driving Alki Avenue between 5:30 and 6 pm, we noticed at least half a dozen police vehicles – including unmarked and marked SUVs patroling, as well as a parked van and specially equipped SUV in the Don Armeni Boat Ramp parking lot.
Don Armeni has been the focus of frequent reports of drivers racing/doing stunts; Southwest Precinct Lt. Dorothy Kim told the Alki Community Council last month that she and a colleague were tasked with drawing up a plan for addressing seasonal recurring problems.
Wondering if Sunday’s show of force was a preview of that plan, we asked precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman for comment this morning. Here’s his reply via email:
SPD received information last week that the car racers that have been problematic throughout the Puget Sound—including an impromptu event in the U-District on Friday that resulted in a car being flipped were planning to gather in Des Moines and travel to Alki and the Don Armeni Boat Ramp to assemble and race.
With that information, I directed Lt Kim to put together a plan to deter racing and criminal activity using a combination of on-duty and off-duty SPD resources and in coordination with our partners, including the Seattle Parks Department, Washington State Patrol, and the Port of Seattle Police Department. Although the Community Response Group was initially tasked with responding to a demonstration downtown, when that event concluded, some CRG resources were redirected to Alki to assist the Southwest Precinct and WSP.
While the Don Armeni parking area was held mostly empty as shown in our photo, we noted driver groups parked along stretches of Alki and Harbor Avenues. No major incidents were reported.
As for the longer-term spring/summer plan, with warm weather on the way later this week, Capt. Grossman told WSB:
We are in the process of putting the final touches on a plan for Alki for this summer. This has been a larger challenge than in previous years due to SPD’s staffing: the Southwest Precinct is down by one-third from last year, we no longer have our bike squad or our Anti-Crime Team to dedicate to Alki, and overtime is hard to come by. That being said, we will finalize and implement our Alki plan, and we will continue to monitor events on Alki throughout the summer in a joint effort with the Seattle Parks Department.
As reported here last month, Southwest Precinct had 58 patrol officers at year’s end, down from 70 three months earlier.