News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood

 

Crime prevention coordinators face layoffs

October 19th, 2010 by master

Unless the budget changes, three of the seven crime prevention coordinators in Seattle will lose their jobs. As for the remaining four coordinators, including the one serving Wallingford, no one is sure if they’ll be forced to cut back on their hours or cover larger areas to fill the holes.

Crime prevention coordinators, civilian employees in the Seattle Police Department, work directly with residents doing everything from setting up block watches to going door to door to warn about recent crimes. They’d been part of the police budget up until last October, when the positions then became paid for with federal grant money that runs out in the spring.

With the help of the nonprofit Common Language Project and communications students at the University of Washington, we take a closer look at what the loss of these coordinators could mean to our neighborhoods.

Continue reading “Crime Prevention Coordinators Face the Budget Axe”.

→ No CommentsTags: , , , ,

Inside look at Seattle Police training methods

September 23rd, 2010 by master

In the wake of the deadly officer involved shooting of a wood carver last month, many in the community questioned the training methods of the Seattle Police Department. Today, SPD invited MyWallingford and other media outlets to get a behind-the-scenes look at some new training techniques being put in place along with methods currently being used.

“We did talk about deploying more tasers — using less lethal force options,” said police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb.

Officer demonstrates taser techniques

Not all Seattle Police officers carry tasers, but one new step involves arming more officers with the devices. This year, SPD says taser use has actually dropped to an average of 7 incidents a month. They credit the decrease to more people knowing about tasers and the impact they can have on the human body.

“We talk people into custody the vast amount of the time,” said Officer Chris Myers.

Another new program that is already underway requires every member of SPD to take a racial profiling course, with the goal of changing the culture in the department. Verbal judo, the use of words insteads of hands and weapons, is also being taught along with an increased emphasis on deploying crisis intervention team officers to deal with people who may have mental or medical issues.

SPD allowed the media to try out its “shoot or don’t shoot” simulator that puts officers through different scenarios. Officers also go through tactics training in real-time mock situations. After the simulations, instructors debrief the officers to find out why they reacted the way they did.



Another reporter tries out the simulator (above)

“Training has become a significant issue,” said Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer. “Every single day we’re on the job we learn something.”

Deputy Chief Kimerer will oversee a review starting next month into the fatal shooting of wood carver John T. Williams.  Officials did not take questions on the specifics of the Williams case since it is still under investigation.  Our newspaper partner the Seattle Times reports the U.S. Justice Department is now monitoring the case.

Summary of additions to SPD training:

  1. Putting more tasers into the hands of officers
  2. Racial profiling course
  3. Verbal judo
  4. Adding more members to the crisis intervention team

→ No CommentsTags:

Wallingford could lose crime prevention coord.

June 30th, 2010 by master

The people who work directly with our neighborhood in preventing crime could soon be out of a job. The six civilian crime prevention coordinators for the Seattle Police Department, including North Precinct coordinators Diane Horswill and Neil Hansen, have been told they’ll lose their jobs next spring when grant money runs out.

Diane Horswill and Neil Hansen

The crime prevention coordinators work directly with residents doing everything from setting up block watches to going door to door to warn about recent crimes. They’ve been part of the police budget up until last October, when the positions then became paid for with federal grant money. That ends on March 31 of next year.

“We are the link between the community and the police department,” said crime prevention coordinator Terrie Johnston from the west precinct. “Patrol officers are often promoted or transfer out. We’re the ones in people’s living rooms and churches.”

Johnston and her fellow coordinators have logged hundreds of community meetings over the past year. She worries that officers and precinct bosses won’t be able to give residents one on one attention if the crime prevention coordinators are let go.

“When we’re gone, who will take the time?”

Councilmember Tim Burgess, who chairs the Public Safety and Education committee, tells us his office is closely tracking the issue as it heads toward the mayor and council. If you’d like to voice your opinions, here’s a link to the mayor and City Council.

→ No CommentsTags: ,