Slog: News & Arts

RSS icon Comments on The Very Thin Blue Line


And, yet, if we actually had inexpensive "towers in the fucking park" we might be able to attract more cops for less money ...

See, it all ties together. Especially if you use zip-ties.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 27, 2008 3:57 PM

FEWER police. And it's "morale" not "moral." Fucking pig.

JK. One cop for 500 residents scares me. I should move. Of course johnnie and packrat will say we should build a cobalt cased nuke and blow the whole motherfucker up and end it all, like at the end of Planet of the Apes.

Posted by elenchos | March 27, 2008 3:58 PM

once i found out my ex-boyfriend had made it onto the tacoma police squad i lost all respect. when we dated 6 years ago, he was diagnosed with high paranoia/high anxiety and borderline schizophrenia. and these people think it's okay to give him a gun

Posted by fs | March 27, 2008 3:59 PM

- A bicyclist runs a stop sign on the Burke Gilman Trail. One officer writes a $100 ticket.

- A hippie is sitting on the sidewalk on Broadway. Two officers respond.

- Two smart-asses jaywalk in the U-District. Six officers apply a beatdown.

Cry me a fucking river, SPD.

Posted by DOUG. | March 27, 2008 4:04 PM


Yes, asking that the SPD accountability recommendation be implemented prior to giving out pay raises and hiring more cops is just so unreasonable that it should be likened to ending the world.

Posted by Packratt | March 27, 2008 4:14 PM

Remarkable. A sane, sentient cop writes in, and he gets flamed by the first 4 people who respond.

I am very grateful we get policing as exceptional as it is, given the problems reported here, and the problems I see daily walking through downtown to and from work.

The thing is, this town needs more cops, less emphasis on nuisance tickets like jaywalking, and more emphasis keeping people safe. Right now it feels like open season downtown between the crackheads, the armed kids who steal and deal, and various violent felons the state has let loose into the middle of our neighborhood.

How many more stabbed women or shot bystanders, to say nothing of harrassed tourists, vomiting crack smokers and stinking bums wil be allowed?

Force Cheesy McMayor and Nick Licata to spend some time actually out in the open downtown. Among us poor working people who have to try to make their way through the filth they've allowed to flourish in our city.

Posted by shawnkempsbartender | March 27, 2008 4:19 PM

fuck you spd... less time at ricks frees up time too...

less time writing BS tickets frees up time.

git yur damn priorities straight. once we have ZERO officers assigned to BULLSHIT, then i'll listen....

Posted by leave ricks alone | March 27, 2008 4:20 PM

kerlikowske must go. things have gotten much worse on his watch. he's more of a bungler and rotten administrator than anything else (as opposed to some of the other really terrible police chiefs out there) but that bungling and mismanagement has truly terrible consequences. it's time we kick gil out the side of the plane with his golden parachute and get someone who actually knows how to fucking run things in here.

Posted by kinkos | March 27, 2008 4:21 PM

that might seem like a sane, friendly cop -- but that is a cop who is not listening. he thinks the city council is against SPD because they want an oversight committee that actually has some ability to enforce decisions, or at least get an explanation when a different course of action is taken.

so when the cop says things about the city council, those comments really apply to us.

i still think being a police officer is difficult work, and i greatly admire those who cops who are just.

Posted by infrequent | March 27, 2008 4:25 PM

"the moral of the patrol officers is low"

Well, there's a big part of the problem right there - and talk about your "Freudian slips".

Posted by COMTE | March 27, 2008 4:30 PM

The cop who wrote in forgot to add:

"-a couple of people jaywalk across Third Avenue at Pine Street. Two officers respond. Now you have 20% of your available officers wasting time handing out jaywalking tickets while the police force is already stretched dangerously thin."

Posted by Hernandez | March 27, 2008 4:36 PM

Don't worry, Gil, I understand how hard it is to read a news paper with that white hood on.

Posted by Gomez | March 27, 2008 4:37 PM

While at a friend's house in Chicago we witnessed a guy trying to steal a locked up bike in his alley. She called the cops. They were there in what seemed like a minute, one of them in plain clothes who approached the guy first, and then others with a quick and efficient arrest. It was a beautiful thing.

Chicago is also run by the mob and not known for a very sensitive and caring police force.

Here in Seattle my personal experience with the police is the dispensation of jay walking tickets, license plate expiration pull overs on 12th, and other dumb crap. (the jaw walking beating comes to mind)

Now I know that the cops don't get to decide what laws get enforced over others, but it seems like if they are stretched so thin they should focus on things like violent crime and whatnot...not jaywalking and minor traffic stops.

Posted by thaumaturgistguy | March 27, 2008 4:50 PM

On Tuesday my girlfriend got mugged on the corner of 1st and pike at 9pm at night. They took her wallet and went to the closest store and used her debit Visa to buy 200$ worth of whatever.

She refuses to file a report. "What good will it do?"

So I went to the police station near my house to get advice to convince her that she should. Perhaps they could examine the camera at the 'Fortified Wine Shoppe' because we had the credit card statement and the address? Was time of the essence? The cop said "It doesn't really matter, just have her call the non-emergency number in the morning."

Posted by Colton | March 27, 2008 5:07 PM

"A new officer in Seattle starts out at around $47,000 a year."

Jesus, when we were living in New Orleans, new officer pay STARTED at $21,000/yr, and the minimum requirement was a HS diploma and no felonies. For a city of 600,000 people. Many take home their uniforms and weapons and hire out as Security for a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet.

Somebody needs to stop cryin'

Posted by Colton | March 27, 2008 5:27 PM


Are you fucking serious? Being a cop is a shitty, shitty job. If you offer $21,000/yr for a shitty job, the only people you will convince to do will be incompetent or psychopathic. In fact, when you offer $47,000/yr for a shitty job, you're still going to get psychopaths in it, just not as many.

Posted by F | March 27, 2008 5:34 PM

Still, considering that the cost of living in Seattle is the same as everywhere else, you would expect Seattle cops to be paid the same as everywhere else. Or no?

Posted by elenchos | March 27, 2008 5:38 PM

Our cost of living is not the same as everywhere else. That's why they have online cost of living calculators at most real estate sites so you can compare how much it costs for housing, rent, food, movies, and a lot of other things.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 27, 2008 6:02 PM

@15 -
New Orleans PD... A shining example of a modern municipal police force.

I think most of the commenters are on to something: The city should tell the cops to stop enforcing the laws the commenters break so the cops will have more time to enforce the laws the commenters like.

Posted by six shooter | March 27, 2008 6:12 PM

@16 & @19 So very true. When the levees broke 40% of them just took off and disappeared. I never said that it was an answer, what I meant was that there's plenty of worse places to work as a cop in this country. I'm all for hiring more and paying them more, to a reasonable degree.

Posted by Colton | March 27, 2008 6:32 PM


Perhaps Kerlikowske couldn't get through your article because he was so livid that you hadn't bothered to interview a single person from his command staff. I wouldn't blame him if that were the case. Everything from the SPD in your article was from the union perspective, as if management's views don't matter or count.

It seems you pulled a Jenniges. After writing a series of articles that were rightly critical of SPOG, you got in bed with it to provide "balance" to your reporting. Problem is that just taking SPOG's side isn't balance. There are many potential reasons why the SPD isn't efficiently handling 911 calls or properly investigating cases referred to it. Attrition or total number of officers may not be the only, or even most important, causes. And anecdotes of mismanagement don't substitute for studies of effectiveness that would compare the SPD's performance to that of other cities. You uncritically accepted SPOG's explanation and ran with it instead of exploring alternative or more nuanced explanations. Why?

Posted by Trevor | March 27, 2008 7:08 PM

First learn to police yourself and weed out all the corruption (or support citizen oversight) then you can come ask us for higher pay and a bigger force. Untill then it's just throwing good money after bad cops.

Posted by tax paying citizen | March 27, 2008 7:22 PM

#21 Hits on a point that I've been thinking about since reading Jonah's article and put it far better than I could.

For Jonah to jump on the SPOG bandwagon at this stage when the accountability reforms are so tenuous is worrisome. The city desperately need support if it's going to put these reforms into place without SPOG negotiating the key reforms out of the contract. If the mayor and council feel that the press isn't behind their efforts, as demonstrated by the piece Jonah just did, they may cave to the SPOG's pressure tactics like pickets and work slowdowns.

Maybe Jonah got pressured, maybe he was just naive, who knows... But it really bothers me to see a one-sided piece like this from him that doesn't take all the possible factors into account.

Sure, even I'm behind the idea of hiring more police, but only once the accountability problems are addressed, otherwise it will just attract more problematic officers drawn to a department where they think they'll get away with anything they want.

Paying well isn't the single solution to attracting good and honest officers, if it were, then there would be no dishonest corporate executives or Enrons.

Posted by Packratt | March 27, 2008 8:05 PM

@ 21 & 23

Command staff was interviewed. They had an overly optimistic view of the situation. I'm perfectly aware better pay isn't the only solution. There are a lot of things that need fixing, and if you've ever read anything I've written you should know accountability is one of them.

This isn't about spog. This is about the unfortunate reality of the situation.

Posted by Jonah s | March 27, 2008 8:45 PM

Jonah got pressured. I can see it all. The City told Keck he could lose his multi-billion dollar streetcorner paper distro concessions, and the'd let it leak the public that Savage was a h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l. For real. Obviously Spangenthal-Lee was too addicted to the Stranger's platinum card expense accounts, company paid Escalade and the hookers. Man, the hookers! Course he turned. Wouldn't you?

Posted by elenchos | March 27, 2008 10:08 PM

Sorry, my bad. It didn't occur to me that you would interview SPD command staff but not quote them for your article because you disagreed with their opinions.

Posted by Trevor | March 28, 2008 2:44 AM

Seriously, though... one of the problems with the coverage alibi is that I frequently see 3-4 bike cops in Capitol Hill all loafing at a corner shooting the shit.

Kind of hard to get me on your side about short personnel supplies... when your existing supplies are screwing off on the job, when they're not harrassing black people for existing while homeless thugs mug people, then trade and shoot up smack right down the street.

Posted by Gomez | March 28, 2008 8:44 AM

This is not to say, BTW, that I don't believe there's a shortage or this cop who wrote in isn't telling the truth. Far from it: I take the above cop at his word, from his POV, and I also believe there's a cop shortage issue.

But I also believe, as many others do here, that SPD is not using their current resources efficiently at all. Cops should not be allowed to loaf in packs in a busy neighborhood, given the neighborhood-wide need of each one of them separately.

Posted by Gomez | March 28, 2008 8:55 AM

Shawnkempsbartender @ 6 -

After first leading the Council to replace patrol officers lost in previous years budget cuts by approving funding to fill 25 patrol positions in 2005 and another 8 in a mid-biennum budget adjustment, Licata again led the Council to approve funding for brand new patrol positions (again the funding for 25 + 8 above weren't new positions, they only replaced cut funds) for - according to SPOG - the first time since the mid-70s.

In mid-2006 the Council passed legislation directing SPD and Mayor to give the Council a 5 year staffing increase recommendation.

In Sept. 2006 the Mayor's proposed 07-08 budget included no new funding for patrol staffing. Nick as public safety chair convinced the Council to amend the Mayor's budget to establish 31 new positions for patrol officers over 2 years...and the $ to fund them. Then later that year, the Council approved a plan for funding 105 new patrol officers over the next 5 years.

Hopefully, a new contract will be in place soon with approval for more competitive starting salaries. If recruitment picks up after that it may make sense to increase that 105 goal, it doesn't make sense to do it now when we are not even filling the total number of positions that SPD has authority to fill.

Posted by LH | March 28, 2008 9:08 AM

replace "more competitive starting salaries" above with "more competitive salaries"...

Posted by LH | March 28, 2008 9:12 AM

Since everybody seems to like anecdotal evidence, here's s'more. Once we found a guy trying to climb in our window in the middle of the night. Cops showed up with dogs in minutes. Another time, before the Iraq war, some burly drunk boys followed us for blocks spitting and threatening to pummel us because we'd been postering. Cops showed up and arrested them, and even said they were behaving like Nazis, which just tickled me. And sure, I've gotten a jaywalking ticket, but oh well.

Posted by poltroon | March 28, 2008 10:47 AM

No names of locations or further details? Further facts shouldn't undermine your anecdotal evidence.

Posted by Gomez | March 28, 2008 11:22 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).