Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best on cop morale amid prolific offenders
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best appeared to comment about the city’s prolific offender debate at a Friday meeting of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.
Best noted that people who are arrested for crimes are often released back out onto the street at a quick pace. This is often noticed when officers then pick them up for yet another crime, sometimes on the same day.
Best said “This not only hurts our community, but officer morale as well.”
The association is a group of 78 chiefs, commissioners and sheriffs from the largest communities in the United States. They have met in Chicago this week for the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention.
Not only did Chief Best make her comments at the meeting, she tweeted out the statement.
A business owner reported a property crime, and @SeattlePD arrested the suspect. Within hours, the suspect was released from jail and returned to commit a new crime. The same officer re-arrested the suspect. This not only hurts our community, but officer morale as well. #MCCA2019 pic.twitter.com/l6cXkBm6Wv
— Chief Carmen Best (@carmenbest) October 25, 2019
Seattle area prosecutors have come under scrutiny for “prolific offenders” — people who commit crimes but face little consequence in the criminal justice system.
For example, Uwajimaya CEO Denise Moriguchi told the Candy, Mike, and Todd Show earlier this month that the grocery store has stopped reporting shoplifting and other criminal disturbances at the business.
“The main reason is we weren’t seeing a lot of traction with reporting,” Morguchi said. “It takes time. It takes people away from their everyday job. It takes effort, and without a lot of results, you kind of question why you’re doing it.”
“Typically, we feel like not a lot happens,” she added. “We do see run-ins with people that are stealing or have had confrontations with employees, have been disruptive in the store. And the SPD is called and they’re great. But the next day or the next afternoon that person is back in the store, so it’s difficult to see how when we do report things, how it’s actually contributing to making things better.”
Throughout 2019, a pair of reports have been released, criticizing prosecution in Seattle. The most recent was released in September. It concludes that Seattle’s city attorney does not prosecute about half of non-traffic arrests, and is slow to file charges on the rest.
The report is a follow-up to another released in February, called “System Failure,” which focused on 100 offenders who seem to go in-and-out of a revolving door at the court house. In other words, they spend little time facing consequences for crimes after police arrest them.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has briefly commented on the situation, stating that it would take $2 million more, annually, to be able to adequately prosecute the crimes. City officials have proposed a handful of solutions to the budgeting issue.