Members Present: Douglas Wagoner, Rev. Harriet Walden, Rev. Aaron Williams, Suzette Dickerson, La Rond Baker, Prachi Dave, Scott Bachler, Colleen Echohawk, Erin Goodman, Esther Lucero, Mark Mullens, Alina Santillan, Emma Catague
Virtual Meeting Highlights:
There was no public input, although a call was put out again for Commissioners to contact at least one member of the public to get their opinions on the budget.
SPD Budget Update
The City Council Office reported that on October 15-21st there would be budget meetings when the Council’s proposals will be seen. The Mayor’s Office said that now we have her budget proposal, and there was a long report by Kara Main-Hester from the Mayor’s Office. She is the analyst for the sections of the Mayor’s budget that deal with CPC, SPD, etc.
This was a long report showing the timeline on rebalancing the 2020 budget in regards to the pandemic, and the proposed 2021 budget, which is now in the Counseling phase. They are looking for community engagement and a functional review.
The Mayor’s position is that in the General Fund Appropriation, the SPD, which got $407 million in 2020, reduced to $392 in the rebalancing, would get $357 million in 2021. She showed the Full Time Equivalent employees would go from 2,187 in 2020 to 1,853. HSD would be moved from SPD. The bulk of parking enforcing would be removed from SPD, as would 911. A question was asked about the Navigation Team, and she said she would get back to us with the information.
The most significant change would be the $22.4 million saved: 47 FTE sworn officers for the SPD. They would be reduced from 14, 097 to 14,000, for a saving of $15.6 million. They would cut funding for 40 civilian position, and cut overtime for selected events and place emphasis on patrols.
Main-Hester was asked if they took into account the 200 officers who have already resigned. No, and there was some back and forth about the numbers. There was a long discussion of how long it took to replace officers who have left, since they have to be trained, and that it was much faster to rehire already trained officers.
Questions were asked about the effect on diversity if we stop recruiting. She noted that out-of-order layoffs were very difficult to bring about legally. There were questions about cuts in administration and oversight, and she noted that those were influenced by the Consent Decree.
As for the number of Police Officers per population: We are in the median of the graph. Main-Hester noted that the more Officers you send into an event, the less violence you have, the less police misconduct.
Questions were asked about unsolved cases and since the shootings are high in the South End, are there enough people investigating them. She answered that homicides have been given priority in the goals.
Transfers out of the SPD would be the Department of 911. Its name change will be the Seattle Emergency Communication Center.
There were no DOJ updates. The Monitor Antonio Oftelie attended the meeting along with Ron Ward from his office and Monisha Harrell, the new Deputy Monitor. They were introduced to the Commission later in the meeting. Mr. Oftelie said he was looking forward to working with the CPC.
Has upcoming meeting with City Attorney this Friday for review of bylaws.
Community Engagement Specialist Nick Christian reported that the next meeting on Community Engagement is in two weeks.
Esther Lucero stated the Workgroup was tackling pilot projects, including a pool of providers to support 911 operators, increasing funding to Human Services, and exploring civilian positions within SPD.
Civilian Training for OPA
Mark Mullins: What type of training civilians would get to participate in the Office of Police Accountability (OPA). He suggested looking at what other cities are doing in terms of training. To understand the investigations, they would need to go through the Police Academy.
Rev. Williams: Disagreed. He stated civilians need to understand the training, but not go through it themselves.
Rev. Walden: Suggested interviewing the civilians already on the OPA to learn what training they receive now.
Alina Santillan: Civilians are not allowed to investigate police complaints. He went to the Police Academy and stated it was very complex. Use of force should be the last option, or when you feel threatened.
Douglas Wagoner: It's best to look at the training that already exists. The current system accounts for all these parameters.
Rev. Walden: The officers need to be trained to the new policies. The Monitor team could make sure there is no lag time.
Emma Catague: Anti-oppression lenses should be implemented. Diversity must be emphasized to make sure all voices are heard. Funding is needed to sustain the changes.
Douglas Waggoner: We need to understand how budget cuts will affect community.
Erin Goodman: Concerns about staffing levels. Rough nights with shooting victims, hit-and-runs, etc. Officers have been responding from afar. We need staffing to be able to cope.
Mark Mullins: Agrees and gave examples.
Rev. Williams: Cited CM Lewis' reliance on CAHOOTS model in Oregon, noting money must be redirected to mental health workers. Police have too many things on their plates. We have to give some of the police money to mental health providers. We are asking police to be all things to all people.
Erin Goodman and Rev. Walden: Bring in some small business owners to hear from them.
Douglas Wagoner: Proposed hearing from someone about COVID, homelessness, and vulnerable populations that trickle down to police, from protesters who are still on the streets, effect of budget cuts on domestic violence victims and survivors, and from young people around the shootings.
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