MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Seattle police chief addresses downtown safety in heated council session

Jan 28, 2020, 12:34 PM

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best addresses City Council. (Seattle Channel)...

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best addresses City Council. (Seattle Channel)

(Seattle Channel)

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best presented the city’s plan for addressing continued violence in the downtown core Tuesday morning.

Seattle councilmember envisions new downtown ‘safe for everybody’

Chief Best’s presentation took place during a meeting of city council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee. The meeting was a heated affair attended by over 100 people, with members of the public expressing outrage over a continued pattern of violence in Seattle’s Pike/Pine corridor.

“I appreciate the sentiment behind that we can’t allow this to be the new normal, but for those of us that live there, that rang as terribly out of touch with what’s going on, because it is the normal,” one commenter said.

“I’ve sent emails to this council for five years and finally got a response this last week, and I’ve constantly tried to bring attention to the fact that nothing is changing,” said another.

Tensions ran high while Chief Best addressed these concerns, with audience members exclaiming loudly during her presentation, and being told numerous times by committee chair Lisa Herbold to remain quiet.

“We hear you and we hear your concerns, and we’re going to take every effort to make sure our city is safe,” Best promised.

The SPD chief laid out the department’s plan to improve safety in the downtown core. That includes the placement of a mobile police precinct near Westlake, rotating non-911 respondents to “augment” existing resources in the neighborhood, and meeting directly with business owners, workers, and residents of the area to discuss other solutions.

Best went on to cite statistics to provide context for a perceived spate of violence and property crime across Seattle, pointing out that the city actually saw a decrease in both categories in 2019.

Opinion: Seattle can’t arrest its way out of more shootings

“Statistics don’t matter to the person who’s been a victim of a crime, but we do need to use stats to invite context — it just can’t be a guessing game,” she pointed out.

Despite that, she also acknowledged the need for action to address a downtown area that’s been the site of many high-profile violent incidents over the years.

“This cannot be a flash in the pan response,” she stated. “We have to use this approach to get us through the near term.”

MyNorthwest News

Photo: King County deputies stumble upon a huge cache of drugs in Shoreline with the help of K9 Qui...

MyNorthwest Staff

King County deputies recover 40 pounds of meth in massive drug bust

King County deputies stumble upon a huge cache of drugs in Shoreline with the help of K9 Quinn, KCSO stated on Monday.

11 hours ago

Photo: Auburn Officer Jeff Nelson in midst of his murder trial....

James Lynch

Auburn officer decides not to take stand in his murder trial

Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson and his attorney rested their case today without calling Nelson to the stand to testify in his own defense.

13 hours ago

Adrian Diaz gay...

Jason Rantz

Rantz Exclusive: Former Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz announces he’s gay

Former Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz was accused of "predatory behavior" towards female staff. There's an issue with the claim: He's gay.

13 hours ago

Photo: A new report shows the King County Sheriff's Office has seen less complaints....

Matt Markovich

King County Sheriff’s Office sees decline in complaints

The agency chartered to handle complaints made against the King County Sheriff's Office has seen a two-year decline in case filings.

14 hours ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

14 hours ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

15 hours ago

Seattle police chief addresses downtown safety in heated council session