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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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Mar 06 2012

Councilmember Bruce Harrell to convene a Special Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee meeting with South Precinct Neighborhoods

Media Advisory issued Tuesday, 3/06/2012

1. ADVISORY: Councilmember Harrell to convene a Special Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee meeting with South Precinct Neighborhoods
2. Special Public Safety Civil Rights Technology Cmte 3-07-2012.pdf
3. Committee Agenda

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, is beginning a series of Special Public Safety Committee meetings throughout the City. The first begins in the Southeast neighborhoods on Wednesday night. Councilmembers, the Mayor’s Office, Seattle Police Department (SPD) Command staff and officers, Fire Department representatives and community leaders will be in attendance.

Crime and the fear of crime, feeling unsafe alone at home, feeling unsafe walking alone after dark, and worrying about becoming a victim of crime, will be topics of discussion. Polling technology will be used to facilitate a dialog on ways to improve public safety. We will listen, identify solutions, and take action.

The discussion will also include topics such as: Should the City take the lead in establishing a database network to encourage groups of three or four to walk and jog together in their neighborhoods as a means to enhance health and positively activate their streets? How can Seattle incentivize community leaders and community organizations to positively activate their neighborhood streets and provide much needed outreach? How can neighbors help re-set their community norms to increase their health and vibrancy?

WHAT: Public Safety and Neighborhood meeting to focus on recent public safety concerns in the South Precinct neighborhoods. This special committee meeting is being co-hosted by the Southeast Seattle Crime Prevention Council.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 7, 2012, at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Southeast Seattle Senior Center
4655 South Holly Street (Rainier Ave. South and South Holly Street)
Seattle, WA 98118

WHO:Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
City Attorney Peter Holmes
Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith
Seattle Police Chief John Diaz
Seattle Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz
Seattle Assistant Chief Mike Sanford
SPD South Precinct Captain Mike Nolan
SPD Lt. John Hayes
Mark Solomon, Southwest/South Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator
Mike Walsh, Seattle Fire Assistant Chief of Operations
Pat Murakami, Southeast Crime Prevention Council
Jeannie O’Brien, Lakewood Seward Park Community Club
Bull Stewart, Bull Stewart Fitness Center
Pastor Lawrence Willis, United Black Christian Clergy of Washington
Doug Thiel, Cowen Park Neighborhood Association and Roosevelt Business Association

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Apr 10 2011

A New Program for Use of Vacant Lots

Published by under Neighborhoods

Pilot will liven up lots and vacant construction pits by allowing art and food uses

Over the past couple of years there have been a number of construction projects in our city that have lost their financing. This has resulted in vacant lots and construction pits in some neighborhoods. The Council unanimously approved legislation that will help enliven these spaces.

Specifically, the legislation creates a pilot program that allows property owners to temporarily place active uses like mobile food vending carts, art installations and retail sales kiosks on these stalled construction project sites. Additionally, some lots will be allowed to be used as short term parking lots as long as the sidewalk facing side of the lot is activated with uses that contribute to increased pedestrian activity.

The Seattle Design Commission solicited ideas for lot activation; those results can be found by following this link:

Successful applicants will be allowed to operate their site for three years with eligibility to renew for a second three year team. Twenty permits will be allowed city-wide.

Let me know your thoughts as we monitor the progress. Our goal is to eliminate vacant, trash-attracting lots while our economy recovers.

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Jun 30 2010

Press Release: Councilmember Harrell explores technical feasibility of placing cameras on all Seattle Police officers

Press Release issued on Wednesday, 6/30/2010:

Head or body mounted video cameras can provide additional perspective of events

Seattle – Councilmember Bruce Harrell has scheduled a special meeting of the Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee requesting the Department of Information Technology and the Seattle Police Department to provide an update on the feasibility of placing state of the art camera and video technology on Seattle Police Officers. This addition may assist the City’s public safety efforts and reduce potentially violent situations.

The discussion will take place during a special Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee meeting on Wednesday, July 7, 2010, at 12:00-1:00 p.m. Meetings are held in Council Chambers at City Hall and the public is encouraged to attend. The meeting will include a demonstration of the latest on-person video camera technologies.

“According to some police departments, body-mounted cameras should be the way of the future. Recent incidents have shown us that video is a powerful tool that can be used to the benefit of both citizens and officers,” said Councilmember Harrell.

Councilmember Tim Burgess, Chair of the Public Safety and Education Committee says, “We have been aggressively exploring new means to assist our officers and improve public safety and Seattle should consider the feasibility and usefulness of this technology. We now have the benefit of examining the deployment of cameras in other jurisdictions to determine the lessons learned and whether their application makes sense in Seattle.”

Recent pilot programs in the United Kingdom involving head mounted cameras on police have provided positive results. In the city of Plymouth in southwest England, footage recorded by officers was useful in public disorder cases. People who might normally dispute their charge decided not to after watching police video of their conduct. A similar pilot project is underway in San Jose, California, where 18 officers are using the technology.

“In Victoria and Scotland for example, trials are underway where police officers are equipped with body-worn cameras and the cameras have apparently made it easier to sustain charges and deter anti-social behavior. It also preserves a record of what occurs in the field which could be helpful for all involved,” said Councilmember Harrell.

While the Seattle Police Department is using video cameras in their vehicles, Councilmembers Harrell and Burgess want to examine the feasibility of expanding video camera use outside of the patrol car. The committee will discuss the costs and benefits and the possibility of moving forward with this initiative.

“There are several policy issues that this kind of initiative raises such as the extent to which it changes police working conditions and what protocols would be established for the use and archiving of camera footage, but those issues should be defined and addressed in conjunction with identifying the right technology or products,” says Councilmember Harrell.

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Jun 30 2010

I am gathering information on placing cameras on all Seattle Police Officers

Jennifer Samuels, a staff member from my office, recently spoke to Sgt. John Boren, San Jose Police Department’s research and development unit, where there is currently a head-mounted camera pilot project underway. The San Jose Police Department, a 1500-member department, has tested new technology and has provided input to make up Taser’s latest Axon model.

Sgt. Boren said, “The truth of the matter is that we want to protect our officers from invalid complaints. It’s about protecting our officers in the field. It’s about capturing evidence.” He said, “Taser provides excellent…evidence. It increases professionalism on the part of the officer and affects the behavior of the public.”

Officers in the San Jose Police Department saw empirical evidence that showed a change in the public’s behavior and improved professionalism on the part of officers.

Sgt. Boren stated that in a private home, if a resident asks you to turn it off, you must turn it off. However, in the streets, you can have it on — there are no privacy issues. He went on to say, “The system is capable of pretty impressive features. At some point, we will see what the officer sees real-time.”

When asked how does it save taxpayers? Sgt. Boren responded that when one major lawsuit is prevented and one shooting is captured, there is “a potential savings in civil liability.”

We are now just beginning our outreach to the public and discussions with City departments. Do let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you, and find out more about the issues and concerns. Contact me or my staff at

Photo credit: Dai Sugano/San Jose Mercury News/AP

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Jun 29 2010

New Crime Data Map Provides Easy Access to Neighborhood Crime Information

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Aug 05 2009

Night Out Events: A Great Feeling of Community

Published by under Neighborhoods

Tuesday, August 4, 2009, marked the annual Night Out Against Crime in our city. Night Out is a national crime prevention event designed to increase awareness of crime prevention and increase neighborhood support of anti-crime efforts. It attempts to unify communities. The events provide a great opportunity to learn about crime prevention, get to know neighbors, and celebrate community. This year there were at least 51 Night Out events in Seattle. Events were held in parks, parking lots and in the street. The number of events shows the dedication and high level of civic engagement in our city. This is something we should all be proud of! I attended a Night Out event in Genesee Park and my staff members Jennifer Samuels and Michael Jerrett attended events in Uptown, Meadowbrook and Ravenna. To learn more about Night Out please visit the following link:

I reacquainted myself and ate with neighbors who only lived within a 10 block radius who I would not have gotten to know but for the annual Night Out. This provides a great opportunity to discuss common safety concerns.

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