The Chief on Crime

At the North Precinct Advisory Council (NPAC) meeting on October 1, 2014, the guest speaker was the Seattle Police Department’s new Chief Kathleen O’Toole.  She quickly observed that more members of the public were at the meeting than was usual, and after brief remarks she opened time for questions.

Our thanks to the Pinehurst Blog for posting the meeting minutes, and thanks to notetaker Nancy Rauhauser for writing out all of the details.

Chief O’Toole explained how police officers are allocated around the city; that is, how is it decided where and how many police officers are present?

…. meetings have been initiated to flexibly allocate resources. The team includes the SPD command staff, precinct commanders, and partners such as the King County prosecutor and city attorney….meets every two weeks to look at trends around the city and then allocates officers as needed.

The question was asked whether there are enough North Precinct staff to investigate residential burglaries in north Seattle:

Question:  Memo from officer complaining of lack of North Precinct staff to investigate residential burglaries? Chief explained that it was from a frustrated officer and it contained much misinformation. The Chief talked to the officer, but didn’t discipline. She apologized for the misinformation and assured us that the North Precinct does everything it can to investigate, and if it needs more resources, it asks for backfill from a centralized burglary unit.

As to whether the Seattle Police presently has enough patrol officers, Chief O’Toole explained that an allocation study is being done and will be presented to City Council.  The study will need to show that present staff are being used effectively, before it can be shown that more officers are needed.  The City of Seattle’s annual budget process begins in the month of October; citizens can call, e-mail or write to City Council to send in their concerns for adequate police patrol and investigative resources.


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