Seattle Police Recruitment Update // Consent Decree Update // Duwamish Valley Program Update // Terminal 5 Quiet Zone Construction to Begin // Trans Day of Visibility // Keep Masking in Healthcare Facilities // Fair Chance Housing // 2022 Annual City Council Report // Free Tax Help // Colman Pool Registration // Port of Seattle Job Fair in South Park


March 28 PSHS Committee Report

My Public Safety and Human Services (PSHS) committee met this week.  Two of the topics on the agenda that were presented are:  1. SPD’s report on the results of the hiring incentives legislation, as required by Ordinance 120389, together with the progress on the SPD Recruitment and Retention Plan and the 2. Office of Emergency Management’s report on their outreach and engagement plan “to increase the overall resilience of the city through education and outreach by building meaningful relationships in the community.”

Ordinance 120389 authorized hiring incentives to attract new police candidates and requires SPD to provide quarterly reports on the use of hiring incentives.  The first quarterly report demonstrates that though the goals for July 2022 to February 2023 had been 68 hires, SPD reports 42 hires from July to February.

SPD’s presentation also covered a variety of changes made to streamline the officer hiring process without sacrificing standards and expectations of excellence. For example, offering more frequent exams and modernizing application and communication systems reduces the time it takes for a successful candidate to go from application to swearing in by roughly 3 months. SPD also shared early examples of their new marketing campaign, which focuses on community service and targets audiences beyond traditional likely applicants in order to recruit into healthcare, social services, and education workforces.

SPD also presented their growing list of strategies to retain officers, including a shift structure change I’ve written about before, weekly videos from the Chief, and enlisting the services of wellness dogs.

Many of these new tools and strategies in the department’s recruitment and retention toolkit are still too new to measure the efficacy of, so I look forward to ongoing reports from SPD and am committed to sharing progress updates on these works either in committee or here in my weekly newsletter and blog.

The three-year update to OEM’s Community Engagement Plan guides the work of the Office of Emergency Management to build preparedness and recovery capabilities in communities across Seattle by empowering and supporting existing organizations and community assets. OEM also hosts their own disaster skills trainings that you can sign up for on their website.

One service I want to highlight is Alert Seattle. You can sign up for this free service online, and receive real-time official text message notifications from the City of Seattle, including updates and warnings about severe weather, utility disruptions, major public health and safety threats, and emergency preparedness information.

To learn more about SPD’s recruitment and retention efforts and OEM’s services and community engagement, you can watch the entire committee meeting at the Seattle Channel website.

Consent Decree Update

On Tuesday, the United States Department of Justice and the City of Seattle announced a Joint Motion to approve an Agreement on Sustained Compliance for the 2012 Consent Decree.

The agreement includes City commitments, in an Agreement on Sustained Compliance, for work anticipated to be completed in 2023, and anticipates the City, or the City and DOJ jointly, could petition the Court to end the Consent Decree upon demonstration of compliance with those commitments.

Below is the statement I shared:

“Today’s announcement of the Agreement on Sustained Compliance for the Consent Decree marks an important day for policing in Seattle.

Since the 2012 Consent Decree, the Seattle Police Department has reduced the use of force, particularly in crisis intervention. This is not only a result of SPD’s adoption of new policies, but also a result of the practices of those officers committed to constitutional policing.

When I share the data that demonstrates SPD’s reduced rates of force use, I often hear concerns about growing racial disparities. I appreciate SPD’s commitment in the Agreement to identify, study, and work towards “eliminating policies and practices that have an unwarranted disparate impact on certain protected classes” and ongoing work to “develop a plan that details the technologies, policies, and practices that it will seek to employ to reduce disparities in policing.” Even if SPD isn’t monitored under the Consent Decree in this area, this commitment is essential for SPD to build trust with all our communities.

The Agreement notes work to be done this year. Revamped crowd management policies will be developed and considered this year. These policies will include recent recommendations from the Inspector General’s Sentinel Event Review, recent changes in State law, and the changes deriving from Ordinance 126422. The Agreement also notes advances made by the City in areas highlighted by the Court as needing improvement, including arbitration reform and subpoena power through the successful negotiation of the SPMA contract (the SPOG contract ended at the end of 2020 and is still being bargained).

The Inspector General will take on reporting functions fulfilled by the Consent Decree Monitor to date. I appreciate the contribution of all three accountability bodies in getting us to this juncture in the Consent Decree, in particular the role of the Community Police Commission in providing input to the draft Agreement.

I further appreciate SPD’s work to analyze 911 call data and work to develop a model to identify which calls do not require an in-person patrol response, also noted in the City’s Memo in Support, and another important element in Seattle’s future.”

It’s anticipated that the Judge overseeing the Consent Decree will schedule a hearing for the parties to present.

The Agreement includes deadlines to complete required projects during coming months and submit reports to the District Court judge overseeing the Consent Decree. The reports are in three areas: 1) Use of Force: Crowd Management Practices; 2) Accountability: Strengthening & Continuing Practices; 3) Ongoing Assessments: Ensuring that Police Reform Work Continues.

For Use of Force/Crowd Management, SPD will revise crowd management policies to address feedback from the ongoing Sentinel Event Review and ensure officers are trained on the updated policy; SPD will also develop an alternative review and reporting process for use of force in crowd settings that address the Monitor’s findings regarding breakdowns in reporting and review in 2020. In addition, within 60 days of the effective date of the Agreement (that is, when the Court approves it), the City will provide the draft crowd management policy that is also consistent with City law (Ordinance 126422) together with the alternative reporting and review process to the DOJ and Monitor. The parties will then follow the review process outlined in the Consent Decree, and the City will file update policies with the Court upon completion of the Consent Decree review process.

For Accountability, the Consent Decree Monitor who reports to the Court, has retained an independent consultant to complete an assessment of Seattle’s police accountability systems. The final report will be filed with the Court no later than August 14. The City will develop a response that provides explanations for any recommendations not adopted and will be provided to the Court no later than August 31.

An upcoming newsletter will include detail about Ongoing Assessments and the role of the Office of the Inspector General.

Here are the documents that were filed with the Court:

Joint Motion ; Agreement on Sustained Compliance ; City Memo in Support ; Chief Diaz declaration; COO Maxey declaration; Malcolm declaration; Betts declaration.

The Malcolm declaration is from a labor negotiator for the City of Seattle, who works on police contracts. It includes a good primer on the negotiation process as it relates to accountability; it notes the City was found out of compliance with the Consent Decree in 2019 because of deficiencies in the accountability process. These deficiencies in accountability were also identified by the public in the hearing before the Council that is held in advance of police contract bargaining.  Negotiations are ongoing with the Seattle Police Officers Guild, which requires confidentiality. It also notes the improved process with the CPC, OIG and OPA having formalized roles, as well as the involvement of Council Central Staff that former Mayor Durkan and I announced in 2020.

The Malcolm declaration notes negotiations with the SPMA used this process successfully and concluded in June 2022 with “a new contract that transformed the disciplinary appeals system for lieutenants and captains” by 1) changing the evidence standard to preponderance of evidence; 2) requiring arbitrators to uphold the Chief’s disciplinary decision unless it is arbitrary and capricious; and 3) making disciplinary hearings more transparent and accessible to the public. The agreement also retains full subpoena power for the OIG and OPA and helps OPA manage its caseload by simplifying the 180-day timeline.

The Betts declaration addressed the importance of changes to the disciplinary process yet to be achieved, specifically the standard of review and notes that arbitrators apply a very high, “elevated,” standard of review in appeals of some of the most serious cases of misconduct.

  • “I believe that it is essential for the current collective bargaining to simplify the unnecessary complex tolling rules (‘tolling refers to the timeline for investigations necessary to a disciplinary outcome)”
  • “I consider uncompromised subpoena authority a top priority in the collective bargaining negotiations with SPOG to ensure OPA has unfettered access to relevant records for investigative purposes.”
  • “I believe that it is imperative for the current collective bargaining negotiations with SPOG to adopt that same standard.”
  • “The recently executive SPMA contract directs arbitrators to apply a preponderance of the evidence standard in all disciplinary appeals. I believe that it is imperative for the current collective bargaining negotiations with SPOG to adopt that same standard.”

Here’s a link to the Seattle Channel video of the announcement; the DOJ release and the Mayor’s release.

Duwamish Valley Program Update

The Office of Sustainability and Environment has published an annual update developed by their Duwamish Valley Program Team, for the Duwamish Valley Action Plan published five years ago.

It includes updates in seven areas: Healthy Environment; Parks & Open Space; Community Capacity; Mobility & Transportation; Economic Opportunity & Jobs; Affordable Housing; and Public Safety.

Here are a few examples of projects it mentions:

  • Connected to the broader Resilience District work, SPU is working to build a water quality facility located in the industrial area of South Park. This water quality facility is anticipated to be located at the Silver Bay property, a 3-acre parcel.
  • South Park community members successfully lobbied for $600,000 from the State of Washington to support the Reconnect South Park (RSP) initiative. RSP is currently kicking off the development of a Community Vision Plan and technical studies to explore the potential removal or restructuring of State Route 99 through South Park.
  • Community Supportive Space: Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition expects to have a final site design by summer 2023 for the conceptual design of a multi-purpose building on the Unity Electric Site, which is part of the Resilience District work. This multi-purpose building would support affordable community-supportive nonprofit spaces.

Terminal 5 Quiet Zone Construction to Begin

Construction is anticipated to begin the first week of April on the Terminal 5 Quiet Zone. Design was completed in January 2023.

You can sign up for project updates here.

My office requested an update on the shore power infrastructure at Terminal 5, which allows a vessel to plug into electricity while at berth, substantially reducing air emissions.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) reports to our office that the shore power component of their Terminal 5 Modernization program remains under its commissioning phase. They shared a reminder that this is the first international cargo facility in Puget Sound to install a shore power system and has proven to be a complicated technical endeavor. NWSA staff committed to keep us informed as the testing phase continues and expects to share another update within the next few weeks.

Today is Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV)

International TDOV was created in 2010 by trans advocate Rachel Crandall. Crandall, the head of Transgender Michigan, created TDOV in response to an overwhelming majority of media stories about transgender people with a focus on violence. She hoped to create a day where people would celebrate the lives of transgender people, empowering them to live authentically, while still acknowledging that, due to discrimination, not every trans person can or wants to be visible.

The White House’s Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility says this:

     Transgender Americans shape our Nation’s soul — proudly serving in the military, curing deadly diseases, holding elected office, running thriving businesses, fighting for justice, raising families, and much more.  As kids, they deserve what every child deserves:  the chance to learn in safe and supportive schools, to develop meaningful friendships, and to live openly and honestly.  As adults, they deserve the same rights enjoyed by every American, including equal access to health care, housing, and jobs and the chance to age with grace as senior citizens. 

Keep Masking Up in Healthcare Facilities

This week, multiple healthcare facilities in our region announced they will continue requiring mask wearing in patient care and public areas.  This voluntary agreement is signed by major local healthcare systems, including Providence Swedish, Seattle Children’s, UW Medicine, Virginia Mason, and others.  Their statement reads in part:

“This decision is timely as the region continues to face a burden within the healthcare system and the risk for severe disease associated with infection amongst vulnerable populations is ongoing.  This regional consensus provides a consistent and clear message that these healthcare organizations continue to prioritize the health and safety of both their patients and employees.”

Local health jurisdictions – including Public Health Seattle & King County – issued a statement in support of the continued masking requirement.

At the March meeting of the Board of Health, we heard wrenching testimony from many medically fragile and immunocompromised residents advocating for continued masking.  These are exactly the people who are most likely to require lifesaving medical services – and yet, without required masks, they would be putting themselves at risk to do so.  I appreciate this statement by Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for King County:

“No one should get a preventable infection because they need to seek healthcare. Masking is an important way we can help make visiting healthcare facilities safer for the many people in our community of all ages who are at increased risk for severe infections.”

Fair Chance Housing

Last weekend, I shared the importance of the Fair Chance Housing Ordinance with Michael Smerconish on CNN.  Fair Chance Housing creates…

Fair Chance Housing prevents unfair bias in housing against renters with a past criminal record by preventing landlords from unfairly denying applicants housing based on criminal history. It is enforced by the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.  A recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court struck down a portion of the legislation, but the court case continues. I understand the decision, if it stands, would mean landlords could inquire into criminal history. Yet, the City can still prohibit landlords from using that information to exclude a tenant.   

I will be following developments closely in this case.

Housing is more than just a building—it is access to health, safety, opportunity, and well-being.  I would expect anyone in favor of a safer Seattle to support this bill.   If you are interested in reviewing the studies that support the policy as developed in the Fair Chance Housing ordinance, you can find them here.

2022 Annual City Council Report

Here’s the 2022 CIty Council Annual Report. It includes links to updates in a number of issue areas.

Free Tax Help

Taxes are due on April 18th.  If you earned less than $80,000 last year, you qualify for free tax assistance.   Try these locations in District 1:

Be sure to bring these items with you:

  • Photo identification
  • Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) for everyone listed on the tax return
  • Proof of income, for example, W2s and 1099s (Social Security benefits)
  • Official documents on Social Security Administration letterhead
  • Medicare card (if Social Security number is followed by an “A”)
  • Be prepared to provide information about health care coverage for each person on the return
  • Last year’s tax return, if available
  • Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds, if available

Here are other places to find free tax help:

Ask if you’re eligible for the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), a new annual tax credit of as much as $1,200 for low to moderate income people in Washington. Undocumented immigrants and mixed status families are eligible for the Working Families Tax Credit.  You can check your eligibility and apply through the Washington Department of Revenue. Applications for the 2022 tax year will be accepted through December 31, 2023.

Colman Pool Registration

Colman Pool swim registration will open for current scholarship-eligible participants on March 28.  Registration will open for the general public on April 4.

Register here.  Learn more about scholarships (financial aid) here.

Indoor pool registration will begin in May.

Port of Seattle Job Fair in South Park

The Port of Seattle is hosting a job fair, open to the public, focused on maritime and other opportunities to connect Duwamish Valley residents with local employment opportunities.

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