"I believe that every child should be able to play and grow up in a safe environment."
Police accountability and public safety are two of the most important issues facing our city and our district. I bring an important perspective to our city’s conversations regarding public safety, police accountability, race and justice. As a Latino man raised by a Black dad and as a former employee of the Seattle Police Foundation, I am uniquely prepared to bridge the gap between our community and our police department to make a safer Seattle for all of our families to thrive.
During my nearly four years working at the Seattle Police Foundation, it was my job to see the experiences of police officers through their eyes to understand the difficulty of their jobs. I knew that if I could better understand their job, I could help build stronger community partnerships to improve the safety of our neighborhoods. It is because of this experience that I feel best prepared to address our public safety challenges and ensure that we get this right.
I have seen public safety from both the side of the officer and the side of the community. It is our job as public officials to establish a closer connection with those whose job it is to protect us. Here’s how we are going to do it:
Building Community Outposts: Community Outposts create forums for members of the community to speak with officers and to work together with them. This is something Seattle used to have in the 1980s and it's something we got away from as our city grew. Outposts create the opportunity for officers to be readily available, host forums on community safety, attend neighborhood watch meetings and support other collaborative efforts. This will improve the community’s ability to engage and interact with the Seattle Police Department (SPD). These outposts can play a vital role in ensuring our community's safety as the SPD's North Precinct moves further north and further west from our district in 2018.
Reducing Police Response Times: We need a police department that can respond to crime as swiftly as possible. Consider this report from KIRO, which found that response times to lower priority crimes can average from two to three hours. As Seattle’s fourth district has fairly high rates for priority two and three crimes, this is an issue which directly affects us. We need to invest more resources in improving police response times to better serve our community.
Expanding the LEAD Program: The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program seeks to address the issue of low-level drug use in our community. LEAD focuses on helping low-level drug users get access to treatment and community-based services rather than incarceration. This is the kind of partnership which will strengthen the relationship between the police department and the community.
- Community Police Commission (CPC): The CPC needs to become a permanent body. The CPC provides an opportunity for the SPD to become a model for reform as it fosters ongoing dialogue about police practices with community members. This mechanism of engagement builds trust and strengthens community-police relations, leading to goodwill within the community and increased cooperation by all stakeholders. Officers want the trust and support of their community, and the community wants to trust and support their officers, so we all have to mindful of this collective vision at all times.
As a city we all need to work together both the police and community to keep our neighbors safe. What are your thoughts? I want to hear your ideas, questions and experiences regarding public safety and police accountability. Let me know using our contact us page.