FOLLOWUP: New developments on police-hiring, repeat-offender issues

Two updates from downtown this afternoon on public-safety issues of note:

POLICE HIRING: Last night we previewed tomorrow’s City Council Public Safety and Human Services Committee meeting, for which the agenda includes two divergent proposals by Councilmember Lisa Herbold – the committee’s chair – and Councilmember Sara Nelson. This afternoon, a news release announces that they have agreed to work together on the issue, though previously Nelson had noted that Herbold declined to co-sponsor her proposal, a resolution supporting hiring incentives such as bonuses; Herbold had proposed an ordinance that would cover moving expenses for new SPD hires and some other hard-to-fill city jobs, and pay for a police recruiter. The news release says both councilmembers have agreed to work with Mayor Bruce Harrell on “a unified approach and path forward to passing legislation related to hiring incentives in support of improving public safety.” He is quoted as calling both councilmembers’ original legislation “two thoughtful proposals.” Nelson now plans to offer a “friendly amendment” to Herbold’s proposal that would add money for “SPD’s recruitment advertising and outreach budget.” The mayor, meantime, promises to propose a “more comprehensive recruitment strategy … before summer.”

REPEAT OFFENDERS: According to another news release, Seattle Municipal Court judges have agreed to City Attorney Ann Davison‘s request to exclude certain repeat offenders – aka “high utilizers” – from the Seattle Community Court program. The announcement says they’ve agreed to this somewhat under protest – “The court strongly disagrees that Community Court has not been effective in dealing with the ‘high utilizer’ individuals.” The program, less than two years old, is described as intended “to assist individuals booked into jail on low level misdemeanor charges through access to services in the community instead of sitting in jail waiting for a court date.” Previously, the court had said it was “evaluating” Davison’s proposal.

19 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: New developments on police-hiring, repeat-offender issues"

  • Our city council sucks May 9, 2022 (5:25 pm)

    Glad to see Herbold came to her senses. We need more police. Her original position did nothing to make that happen. Why wouldn’t we offer bonuses to get the best candidates? We all know they’ll be immediately talked down and mistreated once they start serving the community. Kudos to Ann Davison- these repeat offenders Calais much of the crime here and laugh at our “woke” appeasement of their crimes. A friend of mine here in W Sea had his work truck stolen for the THIRD time in two years. His work van isn’t functioning bc the catalytic converter was sawed off.How are supposed to live like this? Why should we? It’s ridiculous and if we don’t turn the ship we will be portland in a year or less 

    • Amy May 9, 2022 (7:49 pm)

      our “woke” appeasement. What does that even mean?What does the term woke mean to you?

    • James May 10, 2022 (8:54 am)

      More drivel and jibberish. “Woke” is good. Not bad. And not applied here because “woke” would mean we didn’t have to protest police brutality all of 2020. Did people forget they teargassed normal citizens?

      • New Salt May 11, 2022 (10:38 am)

        Can’t mention the teargassing without the anti-social individuals dispersed among the protesters who were breaking windows, burning cop cars, stealing guns from cop cars, looting, and other lawlessness. Anti law enforcement protests like that will always attract people who are looking for a fight, not a cause.

        “Woke” is now just an indistinct pejorative against any policy or opinion that likely contains the word “equity”. Self-righteous. Sanctimonious.

        “Defund the police”, on the other hand, is the rallying cry for a certain type of “burn it all down and I’ll build a perfect replacement later” individual. Idealists with an ego.

  • Cogburn May 9, 2022 (5:40 pm)

    the fact that they have achieved “high utilizer” status does suggest that the community court has not been effective. If my job results were comparable I would be fired. Just fact – the court has been ineffective

    • WS Res May 10, 2022 (10:00 am)

      1) A lot of resources relied on by community court, e.g. day treatment programs, in-person addiction counseling, etc. has not been available due to the pandemic. 2) So let’s send mentally ill, unhoused people to jail where they will… learn to not be mentally ill and unhoused?  When we know that incarceration almost always worsens mental health issues, and provides nothing more than a set of clothes when people are released onto the streets again – often without their medications or even Medicaid coverage and a referral for an outside psychiatrist?

      • Scubafrog May 10, 2022 (12:40 pm)

        Or apparently have it your way, and let them keep victimising people?  “They’re junkies, they can’t help it!” – Or, “They’re schizophrenic, give ‘em a break, they don’t want to take their meds!”.  It would appear that the criminal has enough apologists amongst the population.  The criminal Take responsibility?  Hah, not likely.   Thus, I’d rather have the the repeat misdemeanor “aka high utilisers” in jail.  And repeat felons in prison.  Sadly, the extremist left’s method of coddling violent criminals has only led us here – in a crime wave, sans police presence, with legion reoffenders, and judges who refuse to  incarcerate.   The ‘programs’ have failed.  Incarceration’s the only option.

      • alki_2008 May 10, 2022 (11:35 pm)

        Unfortunately, for some people, the only thing that makes them stop using drugs at excess levels is jail. Yes, prisoners can still manage to get drugs, but they are not going to be able to get as much as they do on the street. You’re not going to see prisoners so drugged that they’re groggy and collapsing in parks and sidewalks, oblivious to the world around them. Allowing people to commit crimes, victimize people, and keep feeding their self-destructive behaviors is not benefiting anyone.

  • Runner May 10, 2022 (8:34 am)

    Message to Ann:  Keep up the great work, thank you!  Message to Lisa: Can’t wait to vote you out of office!

  • James May 10, 2022 (8:53 am)

    We need less police and more community workers. I am tired of people thinking more police will magically fix crime like a wand. We need to get affordable housing and a universal base income or people are going to fall by the way of crime and steal to make ends meet. It’s simple. Social inequality always breeds more crime. I support defunding police and paying social workers to handle crisis situations.

    • WS Res May 10, 2022 (12:45 pm)

      Well, we know that caging people doesn’t teach them not to be mentally ill or how to get and keep stable housing, that’s for sure.  

    • Frustrated May 10, 2022 (1:36 pm)

      I’m tired of people thinking that getting rid of or defending police will magically boost funding for other programs and fix societal ills immediately and all at once. I’m all for fixing systemic issues, but WE NEED THE POLICE IN THE INTERIM.

    • Thomas Wood May 10, 2022 (5:45 pm)

      So tell me James what happens when this unarmed force goes out to deal with someone in crisis. And it all goes wrong and someone gets hurt Who is going to be liable?How is dispatch going to determine what kind of response is needed.1

    • alki_2008 May 10, 2022 (11:39 pm)

      And where are all of these unemployed social workers that will fill the jobs you want to see created?  It’s not an easy job and requires special skills, so it’s not like just anyone can do it. And even with good pay, some social workers just don’t want to do the work in unstable conditions with police escorts, so how many do you think will want to do the work without police?

  • flimflam May 10, 2022 (8:59 am)

    In what bizarro world is it a bad thing to hold criminals responsible for their crimes, especially after the 10th, 20th, 60th (!) time?

  • k May 10, 2022 (10:51 am)

    Sara Nelson is pushing to spend $4.5 million on a recruitment method that has proven ineffective.  Herbold wants to spend a fraction of that to fulfill a request made BY SPD to help them recruit, and other programs to help with the staffing shortage.  Both fiscal conservatives and those who support SPD should be cheering Herbold on, but it seems so many opinions of local politicians are formed without consideration for their actual policies.  

    • Alki Resident May 10, 2022 (1:06 pm)

      As Nelson pointed out in the last meeting- all of the major metros are offering hiring bonuses, so if Seattle refuses to do that, we will never recruit new officers to Seattle. The SCC treats our police force with disdain, and because of that Seattle is a very unwelcoming city to police officers.  Hire as many recruiters as you want, they won’t fix the problem. Herbold already knows this and is (again) talking out both sides of her mouth- pretending to support the hiring of police while she is actively decimating the department and its budget.  If it takes $4.5 million to get police officers to Seattle- then spend it! We are a wealthy city and much more gets spent on all kinds of pet projects- our police force certainly deserves it. Anyone willing to be an officer in Seattle should get a bonus! And if it doesn’t work (as you say it won’t in your post above), then money saved. At least Nelson is trying to fix the problem.

  • Stephen May 10, 2022 (4:24 pm)

    An understaffed SPD and soft-on-crime approach are perhaps the largest contributors to the increase in crime we’re seeing.  We don’t do enough to discourage the criminal behaviors we don’t want to see and, as a result, the quality of life of law-abiding, tax paying citizens is shrinking.

  • Safeless in Seattle May 10, 2022 (6:53 pm)

    Anyone who wants to defund the police is borderline criminal. Also, excused violent offenders (as some would label them) should not be free. They should be put away to keep the good citizens safe. Sad but true. Whether it is jail or somewhere away from society and doing others harm. Just because someone made a bad decision or is mentally challenged, and lost control doesn’t mean I have to be a sitting duck and await a random attack. 

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