Afternoon Jolt

Bruce Harrell Wants Seattle to Apply for New Fed Body Cam Grant

The day's winners and losers.

By Josh Feit December 1, 2014


Today's winner: Seattle City Council Member Bruce Harrell

The world is catching up with Harrell.

Harrell has been pushing police body cameras since at least 2010

He eventually got council to sign off on a pilot program that is set to come on line in the East Precinct next year; Harrell's office expects a report on the 12-officer body cam pilot in September of 2015 with the hope of working with the mayor to propose a full fledged body camera budget item for 2016. 

As fall out from Ferguson is forcing the country to look for policy solutions to address police accountability, Harrell has been vindicated: Today President Obama announced a $263 million training fund that would include $75 million for body cameras.

Ferguson protest in Seattle last week. Photo: Casey Jaywork

Often, when the president makes a big announcement,  local politicians chime in with press releases that feel smarmy and clingy at worst and irrelevant at best.

Harrell, however, issued a press release this afternoon that felt wholly appropriate. He deserves the spotlight. 

He said, in part: 

“I am in favor of our City applying for this grant with the goal of full deployment of body cameras for the Seattle Police Department in 2016. Seattle is currently on schedule to begin the body camera pilot at the end of this year with a complete assessment report completed September 2015.

 “I have long advocated for body cameras, a progressive game-changing effort to improve public safety, police accountability, and transparency. Body cameras provide impartial evidence and build trust with the community. The public deserves to have clear video evidence of police and civilian interactions, so we can more accurately examine incidents of police misconduct and produce video and audio evidence when shootings occur. One solution to allow us to better understand what happened at Ferguson is to deploy body cameras on all police officers.”

Today's Loser: West Seattle Urban Hub Development

The city hearing examiner ruled in favor today of neighborhood activists in West Seattle (Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development, or NERD).

The hearing examiner reversed an earlier Department of Planning and Development director finding that a 60-foot, 100-apartment development on SW Avalon Way, located in an urban hub village, but on the edge of a single-family zone, was good-to-go.

The hearing examiner sided with NERD today ruling that the overall size of the building needs to be reduced and that parking requirements may need to be reassessed.

Currently—even though, combined with a new nearby microhousing development, parking around the planned development would be scarce (an estimated 191 cars for 193 spots)—there are no parking minimums in the zone. In part, that's because DPD Director Diane Sugimura said SW Avalon qualified as a "frequent transit service" street—meaning there was enough bus service.

The hearing examiner wants DPD to reassess that finding which could force the developer to mitigate the situation, i.e. build parking.

 West Seattle Blog is all over the story

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