by Michael Sarko
- The Capitol Hill Times –
On January 23, the East Precinct Advisory Council met for the first time with Captain Mike Edwards, the 33-year Seattle Police Department veteran recently appointed to lead to the East Precinct following the retirement of Captain Ron Wilson. Captain Edwards has spent a significant amount of his career in the East Precinct, including 13 years as a patrol officer. Together with Lieutenants Bryan Grenon and Dan Whelan, Captain Edwards presented a brief state of the neighborhood report, including upcoming initiatives and current investigations into major crimes.
“We are going to be doing things a little differently. We’re looking at our resources now and we’re gonna bring some things back that have been missing for a while,” Capt. Edwards said at the EastPAC meeting, referring to things like foot beat patrols and bicycle patrols to improve visibility and outreach opportunities, compared to just cruiser patrols.
Directly addressing a number of high-profile felonies that have taken place in the precinct recently, Captain Edwards spent some time discussing the stabbing and attempted robbery of a 24-year-old Seattle University student in the early hours of Wednesday, January 15. First responders arrived quickly and ensured that the victim received immediate medical attention, allowing him to return home days later. Police arrested all three suspects, who include a boy, 15, a girl, 16, and a man, 23.
Lieutenant Whelan elaborated on other incidents over the past month, including the shutdown of a local street robbery ring and the investigation of another robbery ring operating in Capitol Hill and the Central District. Lieutenant Whelan also addressed a pair of shootings this past month, one on 16th Avenue that left the victim in critical condition and one on 20th Avenue, both occurring in the week of January 20. Investigators believe that the shootings are gang-related, possibly in a conflict between a Central District gang and a group from elsewhere in the city. At least one arrest has already been made and other persons of interest are under investigation.
Captain Edwards hinted at several new initiatives on the horizon for the SPD and the East Precinct, including several related to juvenile justice programs. By procedure, none of the officers present were at liberty to discuss further details of ongoing investigations and as-yet-unannounced initiatives. All reiterated the importance of calling 911 and submitting information about crimes or other public safety concerns.
“I think we’ll only ever make a difference if we do it together,” Captain Edwards said in closing.