Seattle City Council votes to transfer 911 operations away from police

May 25, 2021, 5:13 AM | Updated: 11:06 am
seattle police, 911, spd...
A barrier stands outside of the Seattle Police Department's West Precinct on June 10, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

In a 7-0 vote on Monday, the Seattle City Council has approved transferring 911 operations away from the Seattle Police Department.

The vote means that 911 call center operations will move out of SPD to the civilian controlled Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC).

SPD interim chief: ‘We are a safe city’ despite concerns over police staffing

The process began at the tail end of the 2021 budget process last November, when the council passed an ordinance to create the CSCC, and established its two primary functions: 911 dispatch for SPD, and parking enforcement. The ordinance mandated that 911 functions be moved out of SPD by June 1.

While the plan originally was to have parking enforcement shift over to CSCC at the same time as 911 services, that has been put on hold until the fall while the council works to resolve issues with competing labor unions.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the council’s public safety committee, praised moving 911 dispatch into civilian control as a necessary step forward toward reducing armed responses.

“911 dispatch has been called the gatekeeper for the whole criminal justice. 911 training within police departments typically emphasizes a police response,” she told MyNorthwest in a written statement. “In 2015, 83 of the 153 unarmed people who were killed by police came into contact with police because of a 911 call. The move today is part of Seattle’s work to develop a crisis response that doesn’t rely on an armed police response.”

Councilmember Kshama Sawant further added that she believes the shift will not have an impact on the actual quantity of police responding throughout the city.

“These accounting changes alter nothing about the number of police officers in Seattle and the amount of policing in Seattle,” she said.

Councilmember Andrew Lewis says while that may be true, this also marks a significant structural shift.

“In our ability to recalibrate and re-hookup our dispatch apparatus to things that are not police response systems,” he said.

Gov. Inslee signs police accountability package

In the meantime, the council plans to work on “training and support of 911 dispatch to identify more calls that would benefit a non-police response,” Herbold said.

KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott contributed to this report.

Local News

Oso memorial...
Hanna Scott

Oso families secure final $4.8 million for permanent memorial

Families of those lost in the Oso slide in 2014 got official word this week that they secured the remaining $4.8 million needed for a permanent memorial.
15 hours ago
Omicron variant...
Nick Bowman

UW Virology: ‘A matter of time’ before omicron variant surfaces in Washington

In Washington, local health leaders believe that the omicron variant is likely to surface in the state sometime in the coming weeks.
15 hours ago
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

South Puget Sound Community College offers first-of-its-kind craft brewing degree

The city of Tumwater, which is working to become a center for craft brewing and distilling, was visited by the governor this week.
15 hours ago
Seattle police protest...
Hanna Scott

Audit from police watchdog warns of ‘gaps in the discipline system’ for Seattle officers

An audit of the Seattle Police Department’s disciplinary system lead to nearly a dozen recommendations by the city’s Office of Inspector General.
15 hours ago
Election fraud...
Nick Bowman

Claims of election fraud from Washington Republicans persist amid flood of emails to AG’s office

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson was flooded with emails last weekend, pushing for him to support the latest claims of election fraud.
15 hours ago
Green Lake...
MyNorthwest Staff

Should Seattle take a traffic lane for an outer loop at Green Lake?

Green Lake in Seattle could have an outer loop in the near future with even more space for people to walk, run, and bike around the lake. 
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Seattle City Council votes to transfer 911 operations away from police