Officials and Guests in Attendance
City Council members and members of a panel presenting "Police Accountability: Legislative Activity in Olympia and Uses and Limitations of Data." All were respectful and prepared.
Accessing the Meeting and Materials
The meeting started on time and I was present for the entire meeting. The meeting was easy to access and the agenda was available ahead of time.
Summary of Discussion
The following Consent Calendar items were approved:
(b)Approval of Expenses and Payroll as of Feb. 5, 2021
(c)Adoption of Ordinance #897 Aurora Square Community Renewal of Sign Standards
(d) Approval of Property Tax Exemption for Property Contract for Apartment Project Located at 17567 15th Ave. NE
CM Robertson Report on the Enhance Shelter on Aurora: They are still in the process of updating the building to get it ready for occupancy - no opening date. They have hired a manager for the Shelter - no name given.
Panel Presentation on Police Accountability:
The purpose of their presentation was to provide information to Council on key topics related to police accountability in advance of its Strategic Planning Workshop in early March
Panel Member Jacqueline Helfgott, Director of Seattle University’s Crime and Justice Research Center talked about the uses and limitations of data and law enforcement - the difficulty of using data to compare different entities due to technical issues in conducting a study qualitative data collection. There is a bill that would require Washington State University to establish and maintain a program to collect and publish information on law enforcement’s use-of-force incidents.
There was a discussion of one of the results of a Shoreline survey re: public safety and the subject of racial disproportionality. 6% of the Shoreline population are Black and they account for 10% of the traffic tickets.The city of Shoreline collects its data using its annual Shoreline survey and public safety survey.
Panel Member Devitta Briscoe is an advocate who is part of “Not This Time” and the “Washington Coalition for Police Accountability” and is active in the current legislation. She talked about the public’s expectations for police behavior including no use of neck restraints, no knock warrants, hot pursuits and police chases. Their role should be de-escalation as the first response and use of deadly force last. Need to hold officers and cities accountable for their (police) behavior.
Panel Member Sharon Swanson of the the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). She tracks police accountability legislative proposals in Olympia. She talked specifically about bills moving through the legislature that ask the state to set standards for use of force, tactics, liability, de-escalation and transparency and police oversight boards
HB 1054 Police tactics bill would set baseline statewide standards for acceptable police tactics banning or severely limiting the use of the following:
HB 1310. The bill would require officers use de-escalation tactics and the minimum level of force possible during encounters with members of the public, taking into consideration a person’s characteristics such as whether they are pregnant, a youth, in a mental health crisis, or living with a disability. The bill also requires deadly force only be used as a last resort when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of serious physical injury or death. Making de-escalation the standard will improve safety for both officers and the communities they serve, particularly communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by interactions with violent officers.
HB 1203 to increase police accountability in Washington. The establishment of community oversight boards to investigate and report on officers' activities is an essential step, as internal police oversight mechanisms have proven to be insufficient. Increased community oversight will lead to better policies for avoiding adverse incidents between law enforcement officers and community members, and also to more just and transparent and outcomes when incidents do arise.
After some discussion among Council Members about community oversight Deputy Mayor Keith Scully said that they would need to have a “robust discussion” about what the city of Shoreline will need to do since Shoreline contracts with the King County Sheriff's Office for police services
End of League Observer's Report. Please see minutes for additional information.