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Dick’s Drive-In hires private security in face of ‘unacceptable’ public safety

Dick's Drive-In. (AP)

Many Seattle businesses have petitioned the city regarding threats to both employee and customer safety. Now, one of the Puget Sound region’s most notable fast food chains — Dick’s Drive -In — is voicing those same concerns.

“The public safety situation that we’re in right now in Seattle is unacceptable,” Dick’s Drive-In President Jasmine Donovan told KTTH’s Saul Spady.

She cited one particular incident where a customer was stabbed by a homeless man outside the chain’s Queen Anne location around 2 a.m. back in 2017. That fear for safety is something that persists across all of Dick’s Seattle locations, too, from Capitol Hill to Lake City Way.

“It’s every single day there’s another 911 report, [and] another issue, and those are even just the most egregious ones, not the small ones,” Donovan described. “It’s a sad statement about where our city is right now.”

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According to Donovan, Dick’s has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on security over the last year or so to protect its customers and employees. The company used to hire off-duty police officers, but safety concerns — and a department stretched thin — have had them not wanting the job. That’s forced Dick’s to hire private security instead, an investment that’s considerably more expensive.

This comes as the burger chain has continued to plan its expansion out of Seattle, a decision made easier by the safety issues its faced in the city.

“The focus is to move outside the city at this time,” said Donovan. “With all the problems that Seattle has right now, it makes that a pretty easy choice to make.”

In terms of what customers can do, Donovan pushed one, simple message.

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“All I can say is please, please vote in this primary.”

Dick’s is pushing for voter participation, throwing its support behind the “Seattle Get Out and Vote” movement. The project hosts a website with information on voter guides, endorsements, candidate fundraising and more, and asking that Seattleites get out and vote, regardless of their political persuasion.

Disclaimer: Jasmine Donovan is Saul Spady’s sister.

Listen to the Saul Spady Show weekday mornings from 6-9 a.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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