Yesterday the Seattle Police Department submitted a report to Council member Lorena Gonzalez on its mutual aid agreements with other police departments in Washington state, and on how those are impacted by the city’s refusal to enforce federal immigration laws.
Last Thursday, Council member Lorena Gonzalez held a special meeting of her committee to continue the progress on the proposed police accountability legislation.
This afternoon the Council approved an ordinance lifting restrictions on money budgeted for rolling out body-worn cameras to all Seattle Police Department officers.
After many years of discussion and debate, this morning a Council committee started the next step to broad deployment of body-worn cameras on Seattle’s police officers.
Council member Kshama Sawant, her staff, her Socialist Alternative party, and their partner organizations have done some incredible work over the past several weeks in organizing rallies and protests to give voice to opposition to President Trump’s most abhorrent executive orders and policies. But last week she turned the rhetoric knob to 11, and in so doing argued for some actions that are not just ill-conceived but illegal, dangerous to public safety, and a threat to one of the most important foundations of our democracy. And that places her in clear and direct violation of her duties and responsibilities as a City Council member.
On Wednesday, Council President Bruce Harrell brought to the Council an early draft of an ordinance to prohibit biased policing and put remedies in place when it happens. If you’ve spent any time with lawyer — especially groups of lawyers — you know how much they love to nerd out over the fine points of the law. That was on full display Wednesday morning.
Wednesday morning, the City Council had its first committee hearing on the proposed police accountability legislation. It gave a good preview of some important debates we’ll get to see in the weeks to come.
“… perhaps the most important piece of legislation during my time in office.”
That’s how Mayor Ed Murray summed it up when he and two Council members held a press conference today to mark the official submission of police accountability legislation to the City Council.
What happens when a police force exhausts the resources it can deploy to handle a crisis situation such as a riot, a larger-than-expected mass action event, or a natural disaster? Most police departments use “mutual aid” agreements to call on neighboring police departments as needed to supplement their own resources. These agreements benefit small towns and large cities alike, not to mention special public-safety organizations such as the Port of Seattle Police. But they can also create issues when the two departments work under different policies. This has come up twice for the Seattle Police Department, and by extension the City Council, in the last three days.
Surveillance cameras on city-owned street poles tops the news this morning.