Officials and Guests in Attendance
All Council members were in attendance except one, and the guest was the Police Chief. The Council members were prepared, attentive.
Accessing the Meeting and Materials
The meeting started on time at 6:00pm. No, I did not observe the entire meeting. An agenda was available and the meeting was easily accessible.
Summary of Discussion
The agenda was followed. After attendance and the flag salute the meeting was opened for public comment. Only one person spoke but their connection was quite bad so the Council asked him to email his comments.
Quarterly Update from Chief of Police
After Council appointments and re-appointments were confirmed the Police Chief gave a quarterly update which was very enlightening and sobering. Annual goals fall under five areas:
1. Reduce crime and improve the community's sense of security;
2. Improve traffic safety by reducing impaired and unsafe driving behaviors and traffic collisions;
3. Community engagement;
4. Support City operations; and
5. Support our people.
The biggest jump in crime during the 4th quarter was in property crimes. Also, there is a large graffiti problem and theft of catalytic converters. Drug arrest numbers were down, primarily due to covid and the restrictions from covid. Shootings in South King County have increased substantially. Domestic violence has also increased due to covid - stress, unemployment.
Increases and decreases in local crimes mirror surrounding areas and nation as a whole. Crimes against person stats 2019 vs 2020 as follows:
S. Tombs wanted to know about crimes against society.
P. Kwon wanted to know more about domestic violence.
C. Hill commented on the 75% reduction in human trafficking.
P. Fernald wanted to know more about the crime prevention officers.
E. Sitterley expressed concerns about the graffiti and increase in gang activity. It was noted that business owners are responsible for cleaning up graffiti on their property/buildings and not the city.
P. Kwon reminded all that the City offered a graffiti clean-up kit and that quick removal would discourage more activity.
A very brief update was given on Amendments 5 and 6. Last November, King County voters overwhelmingly supported Charter Amendments 5 and 6, shifting the county from having an elected sheriff to an appointed one and allowing the County Council to restructure the duties of the sheriff’s office. By restricting the duties of the sheriff’s office, the council hopes to better tailor responses to challenges – like sending public health professionals to help someone going through a mental health crisis public – instead of relying on armed police officers. Work is in progress to set up this new structure and it was reported that it will probably take longer than the original estimated timeframe.
The meeting continued with other regular business but this observer ended the call after this report at 7:40pm.