SPD Partners With Federal Law Enforcement to Get Guns Off Our Streets

Since the beginning of the year, gun violence has risen to a five-year high in Seattle.

Recent shootings and gunfire have left a wake of deaths and injuries in neighborhoods like Beacon Hill, Northgate, Rainier Beach, and Ravenna, and damaged our vibrant nightlife community in SoDo.

To curb rising violence, the Seattle Police Department has begun a renewed partnership with both the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to target the criminals profiting off of bloodshed in our neighborhoods, and make it clear Seattle will not allow gun violence on its streets.

In our first joint effort under this partnership, undercover officers and detectives from SPD’s Narcotics, SWAT, Gang, Anti-Crime, and Patrol units; ATF’s Violent Gangs Task Force; and King County Metro Street Crime and Gang Units seized handguns, rifles, shotguns, a bulletproof vest, and drugs, during a three-day emphasis operation between March 26-28.

During the operation, undercover detectives and officers cast a wide net, from 23rd Avenue and S. Jackson Street in the Central District down to Skyway in King County, and sought out wanted violent offenders, drug dealers, and gang members to take them out of our neighborhoods.

Yesterday, as part of another joint investigation, SPD and federal officers broke up a suspected gun trafficking ring outside of Seattle. Federal prosecutors will make details of the case available later this afternoon.

In total, SPD has seized at least 60 guns in targeted operations since the beginning of the year, including several used in recent incidents of gang violence.

This is only the beginning. By working closely with federal agencies like the ATF and FBI, the Seattle Police Department is better able to share intelligence about criminals and criminal groups, and anticipate and target potential sources of violent crime in Seattle. Our partnership with federal law enforcement agencies also raises the stakes for criminals, who can face much lengthier sentences if a joint investigation leads to federal charges.

Through our partnerships—as well as the department and city’s own violence prevention initiatives—the department will better equipped to address and prevent further increases in shootings and armed robberies in Seattle, as well as a recent alarming rise in gun-related domestic violence.

The department is working to identify the reasons behind this recent spike in gun violence, but we do know that no good can come from guns being in the hands of criminals. That’s why SPD and our partners are working hard to find new ways get guns off the streets. Every gun seized from a criminal’s hands is a potential life saved.

Video of today’s joint press conference with Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle Police Department Chief John Diaz, Assistant Chief Jim Pugel, ATF Special Agent in Charge Kelvin Crenshaw, and FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Steven Dean.