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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for May, 2011

May 18 2011

My Push for Body Cameras: Latest Update

In July of 2010, way before the tragic death of woodcarver John T. Williams, I proposed the requirement that our Seattle Police Officers wear body-mounted video cameras. Recently, the city of Oakland deployed body cameras on all of their officers. I met with Oakland’s Chief of Police Anthony Batts the week before their department went live with cameras and we reviewed film footage taken from their initial trial. Chief Batts was excited about how these cameras were going to improve their ability to learn from field events and gain strides in public trust. I also met with San Jose’s Chief Chris Moore who has similarly deployed this technology. His enthusiasm was also clear. My research has determined that least 700 departments nationwide are employing this technology and 10 jurisdictions in our state, including police departments in Bainbridge Island, Lake Forest Park, Black Diamond and Orting.

Our support for this technology is also coming from the ground up; in grassroots organizations concerned with the rights of the underserved. I spoke at the 36th Legislative District Democrats and they passed a resolution supporting my proposal. Also, the 11th Legislative District followed suit with their resolution that supported my proposal. More resolutions should be forthcoming.

I am urging Mayor McGinn to include body cameras in the negotiations of the new Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) contract. During the 2011-2012 budget process, I asked the Police Department to provide a written report detailing the trial use of body cameras and to pursue federal grant money to fund a pilot project to better understand the technology. The Council requests written reports of these measures. Both reports are due to the Council in June, 2011. I suggest you let my colleagues on the Council know whether you support this game-changing effort in the world of technology and public safety. Seattle should not be the last to embrace these progressive efforts. I am sure they would love to hear from you. Here are their addresses:

Sally.Bagshaw@Seattle.gov
Tim.Burgess@Seattle.gov
Sally.Clark@Seattle.gov
Richard.Conlin@Seattle.gov
Jean.Godden@Seattle.gov
Nick.Licata@Seattle.gov
Mike.OBrien@Seattle.gov
Tom.Rasmussen@Seattle.gov

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May 16 2011

Department of Justice Investigates the Seattle Police Department

As you may know, on March 31, 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicated its intent to investigate the Seattle Police Department to determine whether its use of force has an unlawful and unfair impact on people of color and vulnerable communities. Very recently, I wrote a letter to US Attorney Jenny Durkan, indicating my support for this investigation and my hope that strong recommendations and improvements result from it.

My relationship with Ms. Durkan dates back to the 1980s when we were classmates in law school. As life continued, our children became playmates. I know she shares a passion and commitment to establish optimum public safety and optimum police accountability. She understands that these goals are not mutually exclusive.

I recently met with the Chiefs of Police in Oakland and San Jose. It was an opportunity to better understand how these police departments have used camera technology as a means to increase police accountability and restore public trust. Based on my research and as chair of the City’s Technology committee, I wrote US Attorney Durkan about the results of a similar investigation that was done in Cincinnati in 2002. That investigation resulted in a Voluntary Agreement between the Department of Justice and the City of Cincinnati. To view a copy of my letter to Ms. Durkan that supported the effectiveness of body-mounted cameras and the use of video technology [click here]. It should be noted that the use of technology is not a substitute for increased education and skill building for our officers; it is an enhancement. As the DOJ continues its investigation, my goal is to make sure we have recommendations and requirements that make Seattle a safer place to live and serves as a basis to increase public trust to unprecedented levels.

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May 11 2011

Bruce Lee Action Museum May Call Seattle Home

Published by under Featured

Very recently, I met with Ms. Shannon Lee, daughter of famed martial artist, Bruce Lee. Ms. Shannon Lee is the executive director of the Bruce Lee Foundation. She visited here from Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of establishing a Bruce Lee Action Museum here in Seattle. This has been a goal of mine since attending Garfield High School. In the policy work that I do, building an urban infrastructure where youth of all backgrounds can embrace discipline, hard work, self-esteem, and a love of life, is important. Seattle must maintain and establish creative institutions that perpetuate these values

After my meeting with Ms. Lee, I wrote her confirming my interest in helping her establish the Bruce Lee Action Museum in our community. Letter to Shannon Lee (attachment).

Each year in Seattle, thousands of people visit Bruce Lee’s burial site and marvel the fact that Bruce Lee’s home was in Seattle. We are also very fortunate to have some of the most experienced collectors of Bruce Lee paraphernalia reside in Seattle. Moreover, Ms. Shannon Lee made it clear that she would love the Bruce Lee Action Museum to be in Seattle. For these reasons, I will be engaging in exciting work to assist these efforts to benefit Seattle and those who visit our region.

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May 10 2011

Putting our Power Plans in the Hands of our Community: Developing City Light’s Strategic Plan

Public outreach forums begin in May

As Chair of City Light, I have demanded that our customers have access to the same information that I have relative to the opportunities and challenges that face City Light. The public owns the utility so I wanted the public to exercise its vested interest in the plans of the utility. Over the past year, the City Light Review Panel has met 19 times in their work on developing City Light’s strategic plan. You may recall that the City Light Review Panel is a nine member group of key customer advocates whose job is to provide input and recommendations to City Light as the Strategic Plan is developed. If done correctly, this plan will serve as a six-year road map for City Light’s investments and operations. Prior to my initiation of these efforts, this kind of intense planning for an integrated Strategic Plan had never been done. Should we build a Smart Grid? Should we build another substation for load growth? How do we accommodate the onset of Electrical Vehicles? How much do we invest in our transmission lines, distribution lines, conservation plans, etc…? What should be the right portfolio mix of renewable energy purchases? These are complex issues and we not only want public input, we want to educate the public on the myriad of issues our utility faces.

Over the next two months, City Light will host seven forums for key stakeholders and the general public to gather input which will be used by the Council as the strategic plan development continues. I have opened these meetings with a full commitment to transparency and openness. These sessions are critical stages in our planning process.

For more information on strategic plan development and the City Light Review Panel, click this link: http://www.seattle.gov/light/strategic-plan/ . Here you will find dates and materials for the public outreach forums. You can also participate in an online survey.

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May 03 2011

Councilmember Bruce Harrell to launch Great Student Initiative

Media Advisory issued May 3, 2011

Technology partnerships key focus for low-income students

SEATTLE — On Wednesday, May 4, Councilmember Bruce Harrell will introduce legislation launching the Great Student Initiative, a City of Seattle effort to establish partnerships with technology companies and financial institutions to provide Internet access to the most vulnerable students in the Seattle Public Schools. This unprecedented program will provide high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month, 75 percent reduction from the average cost, to students in the Seattle Public School District who are eligible for the free lunch program. Seattle will be one of the first cities in the United States to address the technology inequity for young students through public/private partnerships.

WHO:
Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell and Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee Members
Dan MacFetridge, Microsoft
Kathy Putt, Comcast
Cobi Jackson, One Economy
Pegi McEvoy, Seattle Public Schools
Holly Ferguson, Seattle Public Schools
Steve Sundquist, Seattle School Board
Roni Ayalla, Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board
David Keyes, Department of Information Technology, City of Seattle
Sid Sidorowicz, Office for Education
Julie Nelson, Seattle Office for Civil Rights

WHEN: Wednesday, May 4, 2011, 2 p.m.

WHERE: Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Council Chambers, Second Floor

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