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.