Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess, who is running for mayor, just issued a "strategic plan" for reforming the city's beleaguered police department. Number one on the list: canning police chief John Diaz. Here's the key excerpt from his statement:
Appoint New Police Chief
o Appoint a new police chief to replace Chief John Diaz. The new police chief will usher in a new era for the department based on strong leadership, public accountability, evidence-based practices, and restoring public trust and officer morale. “The women and men of the Police Department are eager for decisive, effective leadership from the mayor and police chief,” said Burgess.
It's Tuesday, so we're too busy printing the dead-tree edition of Slog to get into this. But I'll point out that The Strangerencouraged mayoral candidates last month to pledge to fire Diaz, a pledge we think Mayor Mike McGinn should have made a long time ago. (We also said the SPD should target more crime hostspots, which Burgess also pledges to do.) So I give Burgess points for that. Okay, I'm out of time. I posted the rest of Burgess's policing plan after the jump.
Burgess: A New Path Forward For SPD
Seattle – Tim Burgess announced today a strategic plan for improving the Seattle Police Department. The plan emphasizes new leadership, place-based policing, and internal changes to bring accountability and reform to the department.
“With the naming of the Community Police Commission members, we have entered a new phase in what has been a very long process of seeking reform. The people of Seattle have the highest expectations of their police department, and rightly so. However, we have a crisis in public confidence. Sustainable and lasting reform of police services requires incredibly strong leadership and Mike McGinn has not provided that leadership. Our police officers and our community deserve better.”
Former chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, Burgess described a set of specific strategies for restoring public confidence and preventing crime in Seattle:
· Appoint New Police Chief o Appoint a new police chief to replace Chief John Diaz. The new police chief will usher in a new era for the department based on strong leadership, public accountability, evidence-based practices, and restoring public trust and officer morale. “The women and men of the Police Department are eager for decisive, effective leadership from the mayor and police chief,” said Burgess. · Adopt Place-Based Policing o Concentrate police problem-solving efforts at the micro-places where most crime occurs. “Crime in Seattle is geographically concentrated and anchored, and committed by a relatively small number of people. Areas of the city that have experienced years and years of crime deserve better,” said Burgess.
· Implement Problem-Oriented Policing to Prevent Crime o Change from primarily responding to crime after it occurs to proactively working with the community. This strategy keeps neighborhoods safe from crime before it happens, and has already proven successful in Seattle. In 2010, SPD joined with other law enforcement agencies, Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Parks and Recreation to focus on the intersection of 23rd Avenue and East Union Street. With community involvement, public safety improved. SPD reported that calls for service went from 30 per month to just 9 in December 2010. “This evidence-based model of policing should be spread citywide. We need to create a culture of inquiry and innovation throughout the Police Department, not just pilot projects or one-off experiments,” said Burgess.
· Improve Training and Reinforce Values o Change how we select, train, motivate, supervise, reward and promote our police officers. Police officers must also understand and embrace community values, especially in neighborhoods where lack of trust is highest. “There is an urgent need to lead our officers to excellence, to equip them and train them to do the excellent work I believe they want to provide. It’s been over a year since we received the Department of Justice report. We are still waiting to actually see real change,” Burgess said.
“Mike McGinn and the Police Department have been too slow in implementing new strategies for preventing crime, and too slow in embracing the changes sought by the Department of Justice. We must restore trust by following a clear reform plan and replacing top leadership in the department. The overwhelming majority of the members of our Police Department share our desire for ethical, professional, and effective policing. These are the men and women who will lead the reform movement in the Department, and we must support, encourage and listen to them.”