Notes from the Emerald City

By Amy Sundberg

This newsletter covers Seattle politics and policy with a particular focus on police accountability and criminal legal reform, while also referencing relevant news in Washington State and beyond.

This newsletter covers Seattle politics and policy with a particular focus on police accountability and criminal legal reform, while also referencing relevant news in Washington State and beyond.

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Questions About SPD's Risk Managed Demand Report Overshadowed by the Start of Budget Season

You can see the Mayor's proposed 2023-2024 budget here and the Budget Office's presentation on it here. You can read local coverage of the budget here and here, and coverage of the Solidarity Budget here.Let's dive in and see what's in this proposed budget re…


Mayor Asks for CPC's Assistance in Bringing Cops Back into Seattle Schools

Mayor Harrell announced his choice for the next SPD police chief on Tuesday: interim Chief Adrian Diaz. Publicola analyzed this choice succinctly:This approach, like the choice of Diaz itself, represents a commitment to the status quo: Reform, not a radical r…


Seattle May Get Its Alternative Response Pilot in 2023 After All

Your next chance to weigh in on Seattle's redistricting process is THIS Thursday, September 15th at a public forum from 6-8pm. You can either attend in person at City Hall L280 Boards and Commissions Room or call in remotely via Zoom. Either way you can regis…


Mayor Harrell Has Been Saying Some Interesting Things at SPD Roll Calls

There will be a public Q&A session for the top three candidates for SPD police chief on the evening of Thursday, September 15. You can submit questions for the event here and you can watch it on the Seattle Channel. Andrew Myerberg was removed from his po…


A Road Map for the Fall

Yesterday the Seattle City Council voted to pass the SPD hiring incentive legislation 6 to 3, with CMs Morales, Mosqueda, and Sawant voting against it. You can see CM Morales's remarks about why she didn't support this bill here:


People Still Don't Want to Work for SPD

Yesterday morning Seattle had its last Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting before the summer break. The Mayor's proposed new Director of the OPA, Gino Betts, was present for a drive-by introduction, and he will be back before the committee for …


Seattle's Accountability Bodies Continue to Struggle; also, MAPS!

At last week's Seattle Public Safety committee meeting, there was a presentation on violence prevention from King County Public Health as well as presentations on the mid-year reports from Seattle's three police oversight bodies: the Community Police Commissi…


New OPA Director Named; the SCC Continues to Push for Alternative Response Pilot

The Mayor's Office has announced dates for the police chief search events. While these were first mentioned last week, I cannot find any public mention of the actual dates before Sunday, July 24, even though the first event listed is, July 25. Onc…


Charleena Lyles Inquest Provides "Peek Behind the Curtain"

The big news this past week has been the jury's findings in the Charleena Lyles inquest case that the two SPD officers used reasonable force when shooting Lyles back in 2017. You can read more about the verdict here, here, and here. As Erica C. Barnett from P…


The Fight Over a Seattle Alternative Response Pilot Continues

Yesterday morning Seattle's Public Safety and Human Resources committee received their long-awaited update from the Mayor's Office regarding the development of alternative responses in Seattle.


The JumpStart Tax Stands

The City of Seattle won its most recent legal battle over the JumpStart tax this week, which means they can continue to levy it. This is particularly crucial given the City's $117m projected revenue shortfall for 2023, as Seattle Times's Sarah Grace Taylor re…


King County Able to Produce Risk Index of 911 Calls With Little Fuss, Unlike Seattle

The Seattle City Council's final vote on the SPMA contract was delayed for a week to allow both CMs and community more time to understand the ramifications of this new contract. The CMs voted to approve this contract yesterday with an 8-0 vote (CM Sawant was …


Final Vote on the SPMA Contract Tomorrow

Today at the Seattle Council Briefing, CMs heard a presentation on the new SPMA police union contract, on which they are scheduled to vote tomorrow.


The New Proposed SPMA Contract Is Out

This week, the Seattle Full Council passed both CM Nelson's resolution on SPD hiring incentives and CM Herbold's legislation on SPD moving expenses, a recruiting advertising campaign, etc. Both passed with a vote of 6-3, with CMs Nelson, Herbold, Lewis, Strau…


Seattle To Get Alternate Response Service in...2024? 2025?

This week my favorite podcast, Hacks & Wonks, featured a conversation between host Crystal Fincher and Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell on the topic of public safety. I highly recommend listening to the entire podcast or reading the transcript to get i…


Continued Institutional Resistance to a Civilian Alternate Response Service in Seattle

We had a doozy of a Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting yesterday morning.911 Call Types and Risk Management Status ReportFirst the committee members listened to a presentation on the status of SPD's 911 call analysis/risk analysis, attempting …


It's Police Union Contract Negotiation Time in King County

The tensions between CMs Herbold and Nelson over SPD hiring incentives continued this week at both Council Briefing and the Full Council meeting. CM Nelson spent the bulk of her Council Briefing time talking about it, in fact, including offering the claim tha…


Arguments Flare Over SPD Hiring Incentives

Fireworks exploded at Tuesday's Seattle Public Safety and Human Resources committee meeting when CM Nelson clashed with Chair Herbold on how the meeting ought to be run. The conflict took place during a discussion on CM Nelson's resolution regarding hiring in…


More on data and disparity in Seattle's policing and criminal legal systems

Guy Oron reports that data from the Seattle Municipal Court shows the City Attorney's Office has disproportionately prosecuted Black and Indigenous people during the first three months of 2022. 31.7% of the people charged were Black during these months, compa…


The Police Hiring Incentives Conversation Continues

Lots of news pieces of note to go over today!