LOCAL NEWS

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

bathtub burglar...
Frank Sumrall

Police arrest ‘clothed but very wet’ bathtub burglar in Madrona

Police arrested a man Friday evening after he broke into a home, filled up the bathtub, and started bathing with his clothes on.
11 hours ago
starbucks office...
L.B. Gilbert

Requirement for Starbucks workers returning to office is about ‘fairness’

Starbucks office employees can no longer work from home full time, says interim CEO Howard Schultz in an announcement earlier this month
11 hours ago
Cold Seattle...
Bill Kaczaraba

Frigid, but sunny start to the workweek in Puget Sound

It will be a frigid, but sunny start to the workweek across the Puget Sound, with highs in the 30s. Temps are even lower in the mountains.
11 hours ago
Hinman Glacier...
Associated Press

Washington’s Hinman Glacier gone after thousands of years

The largest glacier between the high peaks of Mount Rainier and Glacier Peak has melted away after a long battle with global warming.
11 hours ago
Tyre Nichols 900x506...
Graham Johnson, KIRO 7 News

Local law enforcement officials, community leaders continue to lament death of Tyre Nichols

Anger and heartbreak over the police killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis is felt around Puget Sound this weekend.
11 hours ago
Pierce County substation...
Associated Press

Man accused in holiday substation vandalism released from custody

A man charged with vandalizing electrical substations over the holidays to cover a burglary was released from federal custody.
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

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