US Attorney calls McGinn's claims of DOJ reform costs 'absurd'on May 15, 2012 @ 11:36 am (Updated: 1:29 pm - 5/15/12 )
US Attorney Jenny Durkan disputes claims made by Seattle's mayor about the cost of proposed reforms to the Seattle Police Department. (97.3 KIRO FM/Tim Haeck)
A top Justice Department official says Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's claims that proposed reforms to the Seattle Police Department would cost $41 million are "frankly absurd."
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan appeared on 97.3 KIRO FM's Ross and Burbank to dispute the mayor's claims he made this week in a radio interview about the changes being ordered to combat the excessive force problems plaguing the department.
"The $41 million is frankly absurd. We don't know where they got it. We look forward to sitting down and talking substance. Last week, it was $5 million," Durkan said.
A confidential city memo says $18 million alone would be needed for training requirements mandated by the DOJ, but Durkan disputes that.
"If you take those trainings that we have laid out, that he credits in the memo, they're exactly what he has in his 20/20 plan that he says can be done for free," Durkan said.
McGinn also argued the Justice Department would impose a "shadow mayor" that would hinder him and the police chief from acting quickly during an incident such as the May Day violence in downtown Seattle.
But Durkan says an appointed monitor with independent oversight is far different than the mayor claims.
"Nobody wants that. The purpose here is to build the best department possible that can last into the next generation and the key to any department being successful is to have a very vital chief who's the full leader for a department," Durkan insisted.
According to Durkan, the monitor would work with the mayor and chief to make sure changes actually get implemented and have the intended impact.
"There's been no continuity to make sure we're doing the right reforms, that the reforms are having the impact we want. To have someone who is an independent person who can look and say 'let's assess what are we trying to accomplish', work with the mayor, work with the chief, work with the community."
The city faces a deadline this week to submit a counterproposal to the Justice Department. The DOJ can sue the city if an agreement isn't reached to force compliance.
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