Mayor Ed Murray announced on June 9 that two training programs developed by the Seattle Police Department were recommended by Federal Police Monitor Merrick Bobb and submitted to U.S. District Court Judge James Robart for approval. If approved by the court, SPD’s 1,300 sworn officers will undergo instruction on how to best respond to calls involving an individual in a “mental health crisis, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or other severe behavioral emergencies” by the end of the year. SPD dispatchers will also be trained to recognize calls for assistance involving individuals in crisis, for which a select group of officers will receive specialized training to take control of the scene.
“Studies indicate as many as 70 percent of use-of-force incidents involve people in crisis,” Mayor Murray said. “This training will help officers take control of situations and diffuse them, which will reduce the need for force.”
As well, all officers will receive instruction on use of force, decision-making, team tactics, and de-escalation, plus legal, policy, and ethical principals.
These programs are endorsed by the United States Department of Justice and the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
388 seatbelt infractions, and 426 cell phone/texting tickets were written during the special “Click It or Ticket” patrols between May 19 and June 1. Compared to last year, seatbelt infractions are nearly the same, while cell phone violations rose by approximately 132 percent. It’s reported that one unbelted driver attempted to flee police and crashed his car, where a stolen firearm was recovered.
As well, 13 DUI, a felony, and 10 misdemeanor warrant arrests were made during the campaign.
These and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero, which strives to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030.
On Monday, the Metropolitan King County Council approved a reduction of 160,000 hours of Metro Transit service starting this September, as well as an effort that would limit additional cuts that King County might face in 2015. Eight bus routes will be altered, and 31 will be cut. The approved ordinance implements only the service reductions originally proposed for September of this year, with a focus on cutting bus routes that are below the 25 percent productivity threshold that is part of the County’s adopted Transit Service Guidelines.
“I heard from the voters in April, and they resoundingly told us that King County and Metro needed to do more work and consider each and every option before asking for additional revenue,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee and the prime sponsor of the adopted service reduction ordinance.
In an effort to prevent or reduce the proposed service reductions in 2015, the council adopted a motion calling on the Executive to consider an independent audit of Metro’s operations, finances, and fund balance policies; change fare policies to increase revenue; and reduce Metro’s cost structure and establishing standards through which Metro can be measured against its peers. But that’s not all. The motion also includes policy statements that call for the preservation of a sustainable, growing, and regional transit system that will endure in the future.