RE-AIR: The State of Public Safety in Seattle with Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell

RE-AIR: The State of Public Safety in Seattle with Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell

On this midweek show, Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell joins Crystal for an extensive conversation about public safety in Seattle. Their discussion ranges from how to handle an officer shortage with a long hiring pipeline, the Harrell administration’s approach to encampment  sweeps, how safety involves more than just policing, and the thought process on creating a third department (beyond Fire and Police). The importance of negotiating the SPOG contract in removing obstacles to progress is covered, as well as the thinking behind hotspot policing and strategic use of limited public safety resources. The show wraps up with what steps we can all take to help create positive change and make our streets safer.

As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at

Find the host, Crystal, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell at @RuleSeven.


“Seattle clears Woodland Park homeless encampment after months of trying to place people into shelter” by Greg Kim from The Seattle Times:

“Harrell Outlines Public Safety Strategies: Expanding Policing, ‘Hot Spots’  Focus, Police Response Alternatives” by Elizabeth Turnbull from the South Seattle Emerald:

Community Police Commission (CPC) - Police Accountability Recommendations Tracker (PART):

Community Police Commission (CPC) - Accountability Ordinance Tracker:

Washington State Office of Independent Investigations - Final Bill Report for ESHB 1267: /content/files/biennium/2021-22/Pdf/Bill%20Reports/House/1267-s.e-20hbr-20fbr-2021.pdf

“Harrell Touts Arrests at Longtime Downtown Hot Spot in ‘Operation New Day’ Announcement” by Paul Kiefer from PubliCola:

“Harrell  says he ‘inherited a mess,’ will solve crime issues by putting arrests first, social services second” by Sarah Grace Taylor from The Seattle Times:

One Seattle Day of Service - May 21:


[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher:  Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political  consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and  political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in  Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with  behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening,  and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced  in the show are always available at and in our  episode notes. Well today, I'm pleased to welcome Senior Deputy Mayor  of Seattle, Monisha Harrell, back to the program. Welcome back.

[00:00:47] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell: Thanks for having me.

[00:00:48] Crystal Fincher:  Thanks for coming. Well, I suppose this is your first time as the  Senior Deputy Mayor - your many, many previous roles and titles and  accolades from before this proceeded you - but now you're in the role of  Senior Deputy Mayor of Seattle in the Bruce Harrell administration. And  how's it going?

[00:01:12] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  It's been a fast four and a half months - I think it's a little bit  like dog years - each week feels like a year, and there's nothing like  on-the-job learning.

[00:01:27] Crystal Fincher: Nothing like on-the-job learning. Now, what are you doing? What are you responsible for?

[00:01:33] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell: So my portfolio includes Fire, Police, Office of Emergency Management, Office of Intergovernmental Relations, Budget, and HR.

[00:01:51] Crystal Fincher: And nothing else - that's it?

[00:01:55] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  I have a few things. I have a few things in the - I say anything  that'll wake you up in the middle of the night is in my portfolio. It's  helpful to have all those things in one place, and we're trying to  envision the future of the City. There's a lot of work that has followed  me from my previous experiences that I now have an opportunity to be  able to put some of that visioning into practice in helping to lead the  City, so it's exciting. I like it. It's a new take on some work that  I've been doing for a long time.

[00:02:32] Crystal Fincher:  Well and you've certainly worked in several areas of the public safety  spectrum in several different roles. Now this is part of your portfolio  in this role. So I do want to talk about just the - a number of things -  starting in terms of public safety and the conversations that we're  having - that are lively and starting off conversations, just this week,  with regard to staffing in SPD and moving forward. And I think, as  we're looking about it, certainly we've talked on the program before  about it - whether or not people agree with the need for more SPD  officers, the City is moving forward with hiring more SPD officers and  talking about that being part of the solution, or your plan for helping  to make people safer. But with that, even if we were to hire 50 people  today, that is actually a really long pipeline and those folks aren't  going to be making it onto the streets for a while. So if we're talking  about public safety, that might be a solution for the fall or next year,  but what - short of adding more officers, which can't happen - can be  done right now to help intervene in the rising crime levels.

[00:03:58] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Yeah, that's a good question. We have to prepare for the short-, mid-,  and long-term. And so one of the things that we've been doing in the  short-term is civilianizing some positions that were previously  certified positions. And so that helps us to be able to spread out our  resources a little bit more - taking some internal positions, be they  administrative or other, where we've asked - does this position need to  be a law enforcement officer, a certified law enforcement officer, or  can this be a civilian or a civilianized position and moving those to  civilianized positions? So that is a short term solution - we are  currently working on that, the chief has currently been working on that  for the last several months. And so we're working through extending our  resources through that.

And that's a great  long-term solution as well - analyzing what has to be a certified  position and what can be a civilianized position. In the midterm, we do  have to recruit folks to be willing to go into the academy. And policing  across the country - there's a shortage of officers across the country.  I don't know one department right now that is fully subscribed, that  has all of the officers that it needs. We have seen a lot of people,  especially officers, leaving the workforce over the course of the last  couple of years. It's been a toll. It's been a toll on absolutely  everybody. And in particular, as we've been having discussions - deep,  deep discussions - around policing and the future of policing, some  people in the profession have taken a look at whether or not they want  to continue in that line of service. Some have been retirement age and  some have decided that they want to take different paths - but those are  all culminating in this moment. We have people - good people - who have  reached an inflection point in their life and want to do something  different. Some of them may turn towards policing, many of them have  turned to other ways to support and help the community.

So  we have to talk to - and on the long end of the pipeline, it's talking  to a lot of our young folks and seeing if there are people who want to  be part of the future of what policing will be. And not looking at what  it is now, but looking at what it could be for the future - and being a  part of that, and being willing to step into something that is wholly  uncertain at this moment. What policing is today is different than it  was 10, 20 years ago, will be different than what it will be 10, 20  years from now. And so there has to be a willingness to embrace some of  the uncertainty and wanting to be - and be willing to be - a part of  what it could be in the future and shaping that.

[00:07:15] Crystal Fincher:  So is it possible to make people safer in the existing staffing  footprint that we're going to be dealing with for the near term?

[00:07:25] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Safer is - I think safer involves more than just policing. Safer  involves getting more mental health support, safer involves better  conflict resolution solutions beyond guns, safer is never going to be a  police-only solution - and so we have to, candidly, be able to walk and  chew gum in terms of yes, working on our policing shortages and working  on shoring up our mental health systems, our physical health systems.  Acknowledging that even if we have community members who had food on  their table, a roof over their heads, jobs to attend to, their financial  needs - the last couple of years haven't left many people in better  mental and physical health than they were prior to 2020. And so even  those who have had all of the means are still going to be unstable in  some way and need help and need support. So safety really looks like -  how do we build a larger support system and safety net to even catch  those who wouldn't otherwise be considered vulnerable?

[00:09:12] Crystal Fincher:  Well, you know I agree with that. And I guess that's why it has been  confounding in some of the actions that have been taken, whether it's  some of the hotspot policing or the sweeps of encampments, where there  certainly has been a lot of talk about having those kinds of supports  and interventions and people reaching out to be there, but that being  absent in so many of those situations where we are seeing predominantly  public safety-led, and some of those situations only law  enforcement-led, sweep or intervention. And looking at whether that can  effectively address the problem and whether that's really delivering on  the vision that you laid out. How do you explain that?

[00:10:06] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Absolutely. So I think that people only see a portion and it's really  hard. People only see a portion of what we're doing - of what any  administration or any government agency is doing. Some of the things  that are not as readily accessible is how much transitional housing we  have actually opened up and made available over the course of the last  few months - we have done an amazing job in terms of making transitional  housing available and getting people into that transitional housing. In  terms of some of the encampment removals, we've made a tremendous  number of referrals and we've gotten people help and support that have  been on the streets for years. Some of these stories of people being  living on the streets for five years - that is never going to be a  success. It's not a success that somebody lives in the street in the  same spot for five years. That is an absolute dead end, and we should  never be satisfied with somebody having that as an outcome and that as  an option. And we have done quite a bit, this administration has done  quite a bit, in terms of getting resources to many of those folks.

[00:11:27] Crystal Fincher:  So are you disputing that some of those have taken place without that  outreach taken, done at first? Are you saying that that has occurred  with all of them?

[00:11:39] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Every person has been given the opportunity for support services -  they're offered that. They don't always take it, and some people might  not be in a place to be able to take it at that time period. I will talk  a little bit about the Woodland Park encampment removal. There were, I  think, 85 referrals made from the Woodland Park encampment. And those  are real offers of help that we're getting out to folks in that we're  making spaces available for them to be able to come indoors. Not  everybody is ready for that, and certainly there were - there have been  more people who have come on site who have needed help and support, and  we're still working on getting supports for those folks. But when we  have something open, we're trying to get people in it.

[00:12:41] Crystal Fincher:  So would it then be a fair characterization to say, in the case of an  encampment sweep or a hotspot enforcement, if - or I guess that's a  different situation - looking at encampment sweep. If a person there  hasn't had contact with a, whether it's a caseworker or service provider  - someone with a connection to services available to them if they are  ready to go, that meet their circumstances, that they meet the  qualifications to go into. If that doesn't happen, that is not your  policy, that would be something going wrong in the process and not what  you had ordered to be carried out?

[00:13:32] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  So we don't have as many resources to allow people to pick their exact  type of transitional housing. There have been times where we've said,  there is a tiny home available and people might decline that because  they would rather have a hotel, or there might be a tiny home available  within a particular village and they don't want to go to that area of  town. We don't have control over all of the inventory available, but we  make something available.

[00:14:09] Crystal Fincher: So something is always available for someone?

[00:14:13] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  When we are doing - when we are doing removals, we make offers of  support. There is a crew that goes out in advance that makes an offer of  support prior to the removal.

[00:14:26] Crystal Fincher:  And so one of the issues, and it's been covered - in looking at offers  of support. There seem to be some disconnects in what is available and  what people need. And some really understandable and justifiable reasons  why people may not be able to go to a shelter. Sometimes the situation  may be - hey, shelter requires people be in by 7:00 or 8:00 PM, I have a  job that requires me to be there later or to leave earlier. And so I  can't keep my job and both go into the shelter. Obviously, keeping the  job is something that preserves a pathway into housing. In those  situations, does the City have a responsibility to find something more  suitable, or to wait on sweeping them until there is something more  suitable available?

[00:15:25] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  So the removals are based on a number of different criteria and we'll  be sharing more about that criteria in the coming weeks. There are some  occasions where there is a safety reason to need to engage in a removal.  And some of those safety reasons might be if there is a lot of - if  there are some gun violence in that area or if there has been - and I'm  just going off of specific instances that have increased the need for  removals - if there was a sexual harassment, sexual assault incident  within an encampment. There are any number of reasons - a number of  fires that have been occurring in an encampment - those might be public  safety reasons where we would prioritize dispersement in those cases.  And so we use all of the resources that we have available - doesn't mean  that we're going to have exactly what they need at that moment. We do  our absolute best. Some people will be able to tell us what they are  hoping for and if there's a match, we will try to match it.

But  this is also where the Regional Homelessness Authority comes in. This  is part of taking the regional solution - we have 84 square miles in the  City of Seattle to be able to accommodate folks. There is more housing  available outside the region, and we want to make sure that there are  options available for folks all over. That's part of why, when I refer  to something like the Woodland Park encampment - we had services for  everybody that was at Woodland Park during the time that we took the  inventory of the area. Those people received housing and new people came  in because they knew that the people at that encampment were able to  access housing. And so we're trying to get to as many places and as many  people as we possibly can, and we need the support and the help of the  regional authority to be able to bring their resources to bear, to be  able to get more transitional housing faster.

[00:18:05] Crystal Fincher:  Gotcha. In terms of just community-based interventions overall,  certainly some of those are useful in and addressing some of the issues  that the unhoused population is dealing with, others are direct  interventions to help prevent crime and people from being victimized -  with lots of evidence to show that they're very effective interventions.  And the Harrell administration - you have talked about the intention to  establish that - it looks like the last place where that left off was  Mayor Harrell saying that there was an evaluation of some of the  partners and service providers that you would potentially be working  with. Where does that stand and what is that evaluation based on?

[00:18:58] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Yeah, we're asking a lot of our providers to share with us what they've  been doing with the resources that they are being provided by the City.  And we're looking at the effectiveness rate - the rates with which  people are able to support the community based on the resources  provided. We had two - I don't want to call them necessarily summits,  they weren't really summits - but they were information fact-gathering  sessions with the providers who are doing that work - to be able to let  them tell us how they're able to use their resources, and what else we  could do to support them in their work.

[00:19:53] Crystal Fincher: So what are you hearing from that?

[00:19:56] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  We are hearing a lot of need, quite candidly. There is a lot of need,  particularly in and around as we spoke about earlier, mental health  supports, emotional supports. Some folks are meeting communities' need  to just be connected with one another in order to better manage their  challenges. And we're really trying to assess who has set up systems to  be able to make greater advances with more resources if they were  provided to them. There are certainly some services that I think people  have heard quite a bit about that have had pretty good levels of  success, and we're trying to figure out how to get some of those  organizations more resources. And there are some organizations candidly  that didn't fare as well through the pandemic, where their organizations  might not be as strong as they were before and they may be in a  position where they have to regroup before they're ready to receive more  supports from the City. So we're evaluating all of those things, but  we've seen a lot of really good things out there. Organizations like  JustCare, for example, they've been able to remain pretty steady and and  do some great work across the City. And certainly they've been  resourced to do some great work, but we're looking at all of the, all of  our providers out there who have a part of the puzzle piece that we  need in this moment.

[00:21:51] Crystal Fincher:  So in short - taking a look at, hey, you've had resources. Have you  demonstrated that you have used the tax dollars that you've received to  further the mission and deliver results, when it comes to tangible  increases in prevention of crime, interventions, reduction of recidivism  - metrics like that.

[00:22:18] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Absolutely. And then also looking at whether or not we've got the right  mix. Do we have enough across the spectrum of the needs that are  required? Do we have enough in the healthcare arena, both mental and  physical? Do we have enough in the internship and apprenticeship arena  to ensure that particularly folks have access to being able to set up  their futures for themselves? Those are all of the things that we have  to look at because we have a finite number of resources - as a city, we  have to manage and take care of all of our basic functions. And then  what we have, we have to be really - we have to really pay attention to -  are we using these dollars effectively because we don't have the  endless pot that we would want.

[00:23:11] Crystal Fincher: Right. So basically, are you getting a bang for your buck, is the money that you're spending resulting in safer streets?

[00:23:20] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Exactly. And not just safer streets, but prosperity for those who have  access. Part of safer streets is - there are components of economic  justice that are related to that. I don't think people - if they have to  resort to any sort of stealing, I don't think they do it because they  want to do it. I think they do it because there is a need that's not  being met, so how else can we meet that need? Is it through additional  education? Is it through apprenticeships? So stronger work  opportunities, better paying jobs, access to education - we have to look  at that whole ecosystem because it's not one lever. If it was one  lever, somebody would've pulled it a long time ago.

[00:24:13] Crystal Fincher:  That makes sense. And as I look at it, especially with - looking at the  money that we're putting into community-based interventions, it is not  an unlimited budget, need to make sure that that money is delivering a  result. It makes sense to do the same thing with the police department,  doesn't it? Are you using that same kind of evaluation to determine if  the police department should receive more funding, if we should pull  back and redirect to other areas?

[00:24:42] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  And that's exactly what we were doing when I mentioned earlier -  looking at positions and seeing which positions can be civilianized,  looking at the job functions and trying to evaluate whether or not those  job functions need to be certified in order to be effective. And so  we're looking at the whole ecosystem of that. One of the things that I  think we talked about before was the third department that would be on  par with Police and Fire. What does that third department look like?  What services still need to be met in an emergency situation that we  need to dispatch, where Police or Fire are not the solution in that  instance? We've talked about the history of EMTs and EMS, where you  would no longer send police to a heart attack, but there was a time  period where that's exactly what you did. And so we're looking at what  are the calls that don't need a a law enforcement response or a fire  response? What are the needs that are not being met and how do we put  that department together? We're working on that - our goal, our hope is  to have a white paper and structure for that third department by the end  of this year, that we would then begin to structure in 2023 for a 2024  deployment.

[00:26:16] Crystal Fincher:  So then am I hearing that it's a possibility that some of those  community-based interventions, non-law enforcement-based interventions  may be made functions of the City within a public safety department that  doesn't have a sworn officer. So you're looking to build up that  infrastructure. So that actually may not occur from service providers  that you're partnering with today? That may be an internal thing?

[00:26:45] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Absolutely. It's also part of - what I will say is - we are looking at  the functions that are provided and of course, if that's the case, the  third department will be just, will be a professional entity, just like  fire and law enforcement - where there will be a curriculum and a  program and the proper certifications for whatever is needed within that  body of work. It will be a professionalized entity that is able to  respond to 911 calls that meet their unique skillset.

[00:27:20] Crystal Fincher:  Okay. Have you received - which makes sense - have you received  pushback from SPD on civilianizing parts of it? There were some - there  was a recent report about responses to 911 calls potentially being  handled by alternate responders that they recently pushed back on. Are  you hearing that, and how are you working through that?

[00:27:44] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  I think that's natural and I think that's to be expected. It is part of  - would I want that? No, I want everybody to work together and I think  by and large people are working together. But it's the job of their  police union to push and try to negotiate and try to get as much for  their members as they possibly can. We know that some of it is founded,  and some of it is just part of what they have to do in trying to  negotiate for their next upcoming contracts. What they see is - they  might see - well, that used to be a body of work that pertained to us,  and we don't want to lose that body of work. But the truth of the matter  is policing is many different professions rolled under one title.  They're not all the same. Somebody who is on a beat isn't necessarily  trained to be an effective detective. Somebody who might be doing  homicide might not be right for a domestic assault. There are different  skillsets, there are different trainings - and depending upon the line  that an officer wants to go into, they might need a different career  development path.

So we really have to look at the  body of work and whether or not it fits in with solving some of those  crimes and getting justice in that way and if not, there might be  instances where the presence of a uniform could escalate a situation.  And there's somebody who has not got a weapon on the other side - then  we don't want to send a certified officer into that particular situation  - that might not be a best fit for them. We know that labor will want  to negotiate that and those are some things that we'll have to address.  And there are some where labor might want to negotiate that and we say -  but that's not, that's not within the purview of your scope anyway. So  it's a conversation.

[00:30:18] Crystal Fincher:  It's a conversation. And as you just brought up, that conversation is  about to be codified into a new Seattle Police Officers Guild contract,  and you will be at the negotiating table. And there there's been lots of  discussions in the greater conversation about the role that police  officers have and the larger public safety conversation and how and  whether their interventions do result in people being less likely to be  victimized. Lots of conversations about what is appropriate, what's not  appropriate to be in a contract, what oversight should be more  independent and not internal. So I guess starting out, are there,  especially in light of the prior public safety ordinance that had a lot  of reforms in there - some of them rolled back with the contract - are  you looking to reimplement those? What approach are you taking in this  negotiation?

[00:31:27] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  So our prioritization is absolutely on accountability. We have to move  forward aggressively on accountability for many different reasons, not  not the least of which is we have a consent decree that - at this  moment, it's not benefiting the City or the people of the City to still  have this as an operating standard or practice for the City. It reminds  me of - there's this old Thomas Jefferson quote that kind of refers to -  if you wear the clothes, if you try to wear the clothes that fits you  as a boy as a man, it doesn't work. And to me, that's where we are with  the consent decree - we are 10 years into this and those clothes no  longer fit - we have moved well beyond that. And if we want to get to  what the future of policing is, we need to move past this past that is  not even close to the picture of where we want to be.

And  so it has to be a prioritization on accountability - that has to be  everything. And I know some people - going back to the other part of  what we were talking about - some people will want to jump ahead and  say, well, let's negotiate what the third department looks like and the  trading off of those roles. The police contract is only three years and  we're already one year into a three-year contract. We can negotiate the  roles of that next contract in the next cycle. We're one year into a  three-year contract, so we have to focus on accountability - that has to  be our number one goal. And then once we get the right accountability  measures in place, within the next contract we can start negotiating  roles and responsibilities as pertains to what might be a third public  safety department.

[00:33:45] Crystal Fincher:  There've been several recommendations related to collective bargaining  from lots of entities, including the CPC. Some of those including fully  implementing the reforms in the accountability law, removing limits on  civilianization of OPA and ensuring civilian investigators have the same  powers as their sworn counterparts, removing clauses in the contract  that take precedence over local laws including that accountability  ordinance, the police being empowered to place an employee on leave  without pay, and ensuring OPA has authority to investigate allegations  of criminal misconduct. Do you agree that those should be implemented in  this new contract?

[00:34:37] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  You named so many that I just want to say that the answer is yes. But  let me - that's bad radio to be like, the answer is just yes - but the  answer is yes. And I'll just pull out a couple of them that are of  particular interest - civilianization of investigators at OPA - I think  that is something that we need to seriously explore for many different  reasons, but let me just go on a couple. One of which is - the statewide  Office of Independent Investigations that we'll eventually move to - it  was envisioned to eventually be a civilianized body so that there were  no conflicts of interest in those investigations. And we have to look at  the same thing for SPD - that these are officers that are being forced  to investigate their fellow officers. That can't be a good place to be.  It can't be a good place to be to - you're working in one department and  you're working alongside your team, and then you move and have a  rotation to the next department. And in that next rotation, you're  having to investigate the people that you were just working alongside  of.

And I use this example because - no matter how  many firewalls you put up, there is always going to be the potential -  and a strong potential - for conflict of interest. Crystal, you and I  have known each other for a really long time and - we're not that old,  we've known each other for a little while - and we would both do our  jobs if we had to do an investigation. And yet I think that the way that  we've crossed paths over the years, it would be really hard to be an  absolutely unbiased independent investigator if something were to come  up, because I know you're a good person. And I wouldn't believe that you  would do anything terrible, so it would be hard for me to say and now I  want to investigate you. And then when my rotation in this department  is over, now I just want to go back to working alongside you. That's a  tough place to be. And I think that exploring the civilianization of  investigators at OPA - it protects us from some of those potential  conflicts of interest, and we really have to take a hard look at that.

[00:37:04] Crystal Fincher:  And not just civilianization, but giving them - removing the limits to  make sure that they have the same power and authority in all instances  of investigation. Because I think that's been a frustrating part - to be  like, well, I'm not part of the police department - even the elements  that are civilians just being kneecapped and not having the authority to  fully investigate or to make any recommendations that hold any weight.  Is that part of your vision, and what you plan to negotiate is also  providing them with that authority?

[00:37:47] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Absolutely. And again, following the statewide model of the Office of  Independent Investigations that will follow the same path. We'll see who  races each other first to that finish line, but very much following the  same model. And the one thing I want to just clarify for folks -  sometimes people hear the term "civilianization" and they think sloppy  or not as professional - we are talking about professional investigators  that just may not be certified officers. And there are a ton of highly  trained professional investigators in a lot of different professions  that could have skillsets that apply to the work that would be needed  for these types of investigations. I'll give you an example is - there's  always forensic auditors for things like financial accounting crimes -  they may not be law enforcement officers, but they are trained  professionals in forensic accounting who can help with some of this  criminal problem solving. There could be people who are forensic  anthropologists or other such things, who know how to contain a crime  scene and who know how to collect the evidence. When we say  civilianized, we're not talking about anything less than the highest  level of professionalism. It just means that they are not trained  officers in the way that they would respond to an immediate and imminent  crisis.

[00:39:28] Crystal Fincher:  That makes sense and is certainly valid. We've seen that operate very  successfully in similar areas. And I think an even bigger deal - we're  seeing the current system not working, so a change is in order. So is  that a red line for you in this negotiation? Is that something that  you're starting with as a foundational this is where we need to be?

[00:39:54] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  It will probably take us, it will take us more than this contract to  get to a fully civilianized team, investigative team at OPA, but we  certainly want to begin to move in that direction where we have very  professional civilian investigators available to us for that work. And I  believe that there's going to be a bigger demand for that particular  career going forward. I do believe that sometimes Seattle is on the  frontline of a lot of this work, but where and how we make these things  successful, we will see them roll out in other areas across the state  and across the country.

[00:40:44] Crystal Fincher:  So it's possible that we walk out on the other side of this contract  and there are still situations where the police are investigating  themselves.

[00:40:53] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  For certain things. So, as the Office of Independent Investigation gets  set up, they will take all lethal use of force - that will go to the  state regardless - that body of work will go to the state. As pertains  to any accusations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that will go  to the state. So we are going to, we absolutely will honor state law.  And quite honestly, I think folks should be grateful that the state is  doing that work. I think that what they're setting up will be  revolutionary in order to ensuring that we have unbiased, less-biased  investigations. And do I believe you can eliminate bias 100% entirely? I  would love to say yes, I don't know if that's ever completely possible,  but I think we can get to a system that is more accountable and more  transparent for everybody involved.

[00:42:02] Crystal Fincher:  As we look forward in the short-term and some of the interventions that  are going, do you expect a continuation or more deployments of the  hotspot policing strategy?

[00:42:18] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  I think that while we have limited resources, we have to be really  strategic about where and how we deploy them. And so, I wouldn't call it  hotspot policing because it's a little more nuanced than that, but what  I would say is when you have limited resources, you have to be really,  really strategic about where and how you deploy them. And that's what  we're having to do - we're having to look at the areas that are in the  greatest need and providing resources to those areas in those moments.  And so we look at things like - what are the big events coming up in and  around the City and how do we deploy in order to make sure that yes, we  can cover the Mariners game, the Sounders game, a concert at Climate  Pledge, because we are short-staffed and that there's no quick way to  make up for that.

This has been a while in the  making and even if we had all of the body signed up right now, we still  only have one Criminal Justice Training Center to run all of the state's  recruits through. So we're going to have to be strategic for a little  while - we can't, we don't have the staffing at every precinct and in  every neighborhood that we would want to have. And so that means looking  at what is on our social calendars, trying to get people back to  normal, right? This is - it has been many years since we've had a full  cadre of parades and outdoor events, and we want people to be able to  get back into life again and get back into life safely. So how do we  have the Torchlight Parade with such a limited number of officers  available to staff? How do we have one of my favorites, the Pride  Parade, with a limited number of officers to staff? So we really have to  be a lot more strategic and it means that we really have to look at the  chess board. I think what people see are hotspots and it's not as much  hotspots as we have to be more predictive about where we go and  strategically plan for that.

[00:45:01] Crystal Fincher:  And I can see that - I guess the challenge, as you articulate that, the  mayor certainly articulated certain spots that were spots of emphasis  that were going to be receiving increased patrols and resources and have  folks stationed basically there full-time to, I think as he talks  about, calm the area. So it seems like there have been point - that kind  of thing has been referred to by lots of different terms, whether it's a  hotspot or an emphasis patrol or however we want to characterize it, we  are focusing our admittedly limited number of resources in a  concentrated area. And are we expecting, are you expecting to deploy  resources in concentrated areas, not talking about surrounding events  that may happen, but on day-to-day, as we saw before - Tuesday through  Friday in a place - is that part of an ongoing strategy, or have we seen  the last of that?

[00:46:16] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  It has to be a little bit of both. And so I'll give you an example -  some of where people have seen us focus have been in areas where there  have been increases in gun violence - and so Third Avenue is an example.  So what people saw is they saw us move the mobile precinct to the Third  Avenue area right after we had two incidents - two pretty painful  incidents - of gun violence deaths in that area. And what that  additional patrol allowed us to do was to be able to add more  investigative resources to both of those cases. And we've made - we have  two suspects that have been arrested for both of those shootings on  Third Avenue where - it was an area that there was an increased amount  of gun violence. And two, all murders are painful. It is particularly  challenging when one of them is really just a child, a 15-year old. And  because of the police work that we - the police and the officers were  able to put in that area - to be able to canvass and collect the camera  information from in and around the area, we were able to bring forth two  suspects in both of those murders. And so, that is part of the job.  It's not just about patrolling for what is happening in the moment. It's  also patrolling and doing the detective work to solve crimes that we  know have been happening in that area, that families will want answers  for.

[00:48:14] Crystal Fincher:  Well, I think that's an excellent point. I actually think there's a  very strong case to be made for increasing the deployment of resources  in investigative roles. It seems like that's actually an area of unique  specialty and opportunity, and results that come from that can yield  long-lasting results. So it feels like people in the City see that, it  seems like that's been widely acknowledged. However, when we have these  conversations about - hey, we're short staffing, the conversations are -  we have to move people out of these investigative roles, these victim  liaison and services roles - a lot of things that get at preventing  behavior from people who are currently doing it. So does it make sense  to continue to move people away from those investigative roles onto  patrol, especially in these conversations as we continue to identify  areas where patrol doesn't seem like the most effective intervention?

[00:49:29] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Yeah, we need both. It's - this is the Catch-22. We need both. We have  to find ways to be able to, in some ways, tamp down ongoing incidents.  And sometimes the presence of a mobile precinct can do that, can be a  little bit of what just helps take some of the fire out of the air.  There's some things that we've done over the course of the last few  years - back in the olden times when people used to go out, for example,  and they talked about - well, instead of everything closing at the same  time every night, what if we were to stagger release hours from some of  the different clubs and bars? For the young people listening, who don't  remember what clubs and bars are, and that was a way to not push  everybody who might have a little bit of alcohol in their system out  into the street at the same time. So we are having to do a little bit of  column A a little bit of column B because we have imperfect resources.

[00:50:40] Crystal Fincher:  Well, and seem to be saying - we need to do all we can to meet patrol  numbers, and we will take from other areas to deploy on patrol - that's  what the chief was saying. Should we continue taking, or should we  rebalance, because both are going to happen. Should we be deploying back  in the detective arena and investing more in actually trying to solve  some of these crimes and find some of the people who are doing them?

[00:51:16] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  For those people who are trained to be detectives, we are doing  everything we can to get them back to their primary functions. And in  the meantime, taking a try to do-no-harm approach, which is in not  letting people continue to get victimized as we're trying to do that.  And that's why I said it's gotta be a little from column A and a little  from column B, because we have to solve crimes that have occurred and we  have to do what we can to prevent additional crimes from occurring. Not  everybody is trained to be a detective, but for those who have those  trainings and have those skills, we want to be able to give them all of  the resources we can to get them back on those jobs.

[00:52:05] Crystal Fincher:  And you've been very generous with your time - we are just about to  wrap up. I think the last question - we could cover a ton - but  appreciate getting through the chunk that we did today. You talk about  some of those emphasis patrols or areas where more resources are being  deployed - whatever name it's going by. With those, there was a press  conference that even Chief Diaz seemed to acknowledge that those  increased patrols and having the mobile unit nearby does have an effect  on that area during that time. But he brought up instances in this  current iteration, and certainly we've seen in prior iterations, where  the result isn't that the crime stops, it moves to other neighborhoods.

And  it sets up a situation where it looks like - for moneyed interests, for  downtown interests, they're getting super special police deployments in  the name of safety. And sure it may improve things on that block while  those police are there, but it actually is moving that activity  elsewhere in the City. And he said they were working on trying to track  that. And are we succeeding? Is that the best expenditure of resources  if that's the result that we're getting, which is seemingly - hey sure,  maybe a win for those businesses on that block, but a loss for the  neighborhood and the residents that are receiving that activity. Should  we - is that the most effective way to address that? Is that the most  equitable way to address that for everybody in the City?

[00:54:03] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  I would say that there is still a benefit to having those resources  visible and available. And think about when somebody - there might be an  area where people are used to speeding and then they put up the  electronic board that says you're going this fast, and it reminds people  to slow down. Sometimes the visual cues that we use for some of the  public safety is just - you're in this area and you might have something  that might pop off, but just calm down. It's a visual reminder to calm  down, a visual reminder. And that doesn't necessarily always move  someplace else, but it can be a reminder to - this is not your time and  this is not your moment.

We can't stop every  single incident from occurring, but we certainly want to be able to give  people pause before they might do something that would be regrettable  later. So, it's not the perfect system. It's certainly not the perfect  system, but there are benefits across the board if we can get people to  think about how they might seek help, or how maybe just the presence can  calm people down, or how we can even regain a sense of normalcy to an  area that might draw in more foot traffic - and where there is more foot  traffic and more positive activity than in the absence of nothing which  can create some negative activity. We're bringing people back to an  area that would allow us to get some good activity back on the streets.  One of the best approaches for public safety, quite candidly, is for  people to start going out again - filling up those spaces with positive  activity, filling up those spaces with positive engagement - because  where you have more eyes and positive activity, you actually need less  policing.

[00:56:24] Crystal Fincher:  Absolutely true. And I guess my question is, even in a situation where -  okay, you do that, you intimidate someone away and they aren't doing  that there. In the instance that they're then moving somewhere else, we  have not necessarily successfully intervened in their activity, but have  moved it.

[00:56:49] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  I don't think it's a hundred percent though. I do think that there are  places where you can put in positive activity and attract positive  activity response. So I think about some of our young folks where the  hours where they would get in the most trouble would be those immediate  hours after school. If they are in a space that is filled with positive  activity, then perhaps they will adopt and take on that positive  activity. If they're in a space where there is negative activity, then  they can take on that negative activity. That's the case where it's not  just it would move to a different place. It's - you're giving idle hands  an opportunity to do something more productive. And that's what I'm  talking about filling that positive activity space - not everybody would  necessarily fill that space with the sort of activity that we wouldn't  care for if we get more more positive engagement in those areas.

[00:57:47] Crystal Fincher:  I certainly agree about the benefit of positive engagement. I am  certainly hoping that maybe we can envision a time where we actually  deploy resources surrounding positive activities and positive connection  to opportunities - in that kind of emphasis patrol and intervention  that we have. But I appreciate the time that you've taken to speak with  us and help us understand better what's going on in the City and what  you're up to, and certainly look forward to following as we continue to  go along.

[00:58:27] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  Well, this is a conversation, it's a dialogue. We've got a lot of work  to do. There's no one group that has all of the answers, and so I  appreciate the opportunity to come on and speak with you. And I know we  get a lot of feedback and that's good, because we listened to the  feedback and we'll make adjustments as we go along, but we're trying to  do everything we can to make sure that we get the City back on track.

[00:58:54] Crystal Fincher:  Absolutely. Okay, I'm going to sneak in one more question. You talk  about you get a lot of feedback - is there something that people can do,  or a way to engage that you think is a great opportunity to get  involved in making a difference, helping to create positive change,  helping to keep our streets safer? Is there one thing that you would  recommend that they could do to be a part of that?

[00:59:14] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell:  I'm going to give you two things. So the first thing is I'm going to  mention our One Seattle Day of Service on May 21st, and just say that  it's more than about just cleaning up some aspects of our city and  helping us put some positive activity out there. It's also about a sense  of building community with one another - that we're really hoping that  everybody who comes to the Day of Service will find somebody new that  they haven't connected with, that they haven't built community with and  be willing to reconnect with society in doing some positive work  together. So I'll talk about that because I think that there are  significant benefits to our mental health - to rebuild positive social  skills and positive social relationships. So that's one thing that if  people were like, I don't have a lot of time on my calendar, but I can  commit to a couple hours on one day.

And then the  other thing that I would say is - we need to return to the old scripture  - being our brother's keeper. And that may mean reaching out to  nonprofit organizations that are doing this great work. We will help  their dollar stretch farther when we provide them resources through  serving on boards, through providing hands-on activity or volunteer  opportunities to help them further their missions. And so anything that  we can do to pitch in and to add - whether or not that is - maybe even  it's reaching out and having lunch with a young person and providing  them paths that they might not have otherwise thought of, letting them  know young or old - quite candidly in this one - that somebody out there  cares and will listen to them. We have a lot of - our older folks - and  I know you are wrapping up, I'm sorry - but I'm just gonna make this  one last pitch. We have a lot of older folks who've actually struggled  through this pandemic. They have suffered from withdrawal because their  social structures have been pulled from them, and older folks who  withdraw from society have higher instances of high blood pressure and  hypertension - all of those things that result from depression and not  having a social network around you, can result in physical health loss  as well as mental health loss. And so being a part of - I know it's a  tough time period because COVID is still out there, but the ability to  reconnect with one another as humans - social skills deteriorate a  little bit when we're not with each other. And so just taking these  moments to rebuild our social skills, having some patience with each  other, but rebuilding them together. When our City gets healthier in all  aspects, especially mentally healthier, we'll be able to help each  other better.

[01:02:26] Crystal Fincher: I agree with that. Thank you so much for your time, Monisha.

[01:02:30] Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell: Thank you.

[01:02:31] Crystal Fincher:  I thank you all for listening to Hacks & Wonks on KVRU 105.7 FM.  The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler with assistance from  Shannon Cheng. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, spelled  F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I. Now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes,  Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts - just type "Hacks &  Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday  almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed.  If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks.  You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the  resources referenced in the show at and in the  episode notes.

Thanks for tuning in - we'll talk to you next time.