Seattle: Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan has signed a new executive order to evaluate the functions of the US city’s police department and identify areas of response that can be transitioned to civilian and community-based responses, her office said in a statement.
The statement released on Friday said that the Mayor’s 2021 Proposed Budget also creates a Seattle Emergency Communication Center (SECC) and a new Safe and Thriving Communities division in the Human Services Department (HSD).
The SECC is the first step towards unifying emergency response across the City and addressing the goals of reducing dispatches for the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and substituting alternate responses from other departments or community-based organizations, it added.
In the statement, the Mayor said that “with this executive order and real community investments, we’re committing ourselves to a rigorous, transparent, and community-led discussion on issues of policing and community safety”.
“The roots of institutions that have historically marginalised Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities run deep… My budget reflects a historic $100 million investment in BIPOC communities and continued investments in alternatives to policing.
“With 800,000 911 calls in our City, it will take thoughtful analysis and deliberate action to truly transform policing,” Durkan added.
The Mayor further said that “investing in community wealth and strength is in part how we reduce the need for emergency 911 responses”, adding “we can and will invest meaningfully in civilian public safety alternatives”.
Meanwhile, Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz has said that he was on board with Mayor Durkin’s new executive order to re-envision policing, the Seattle-based KIRO-7 TV station reported.
“We will succeed in restoring the trust that has been diminished for some of our community… I’m prepared to make changes,” he was quoted as saying.
Other changes detailed in the executive order identify different areas that will be removed from under SPD, including Parking Enforcement, the SPD Victim Advocates Unit, the Office of Emergency Management, and the 911 Communications Center.