Month In Review: March Edition

Message from the Chief – Working Together to Make It Through

This is a difficult time for our city. King County was the site of the first identified outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. Front-line healthcare workers, police and firefighters have been working around the clock to save lives and continue providing public safety services during this public health crisis.I have told our officers This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, but we will continue to provide the care and service for our communities.

Officers are still responding to 911 emergencies and you can also still make reports for some types of crimes through our online system. This public health emergency is going to put all of us to the test. Working together, we will make it through stronger than before. City of Seattle was the first in the nation to designate a COVID-19 testing site for first responders. COVID-19 Prevention Closes SPD Facilities to the PublicAs a proactive measure to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Seattle Police Department is suspending all police headquarters front counter services and closing our precinct facilities to the public. Find out more at our closure information page. Re-opening dates have not yet been determined. 

The department has also suspended all 72-hour parking violation enforcement until further notice.

Resources for Our Community

I know the recent stay-at-home order has put a strain on many families, and I want to be sure you are all aware of the city’s many food bank and meal service programs, as well as meal sites for students in King County. The City of Seattle has also launched a fund to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. I would urge you to keep apprised of the latest information released by the King County Public Health department at KingCounty.gov/COVID.

A Message to Our Asian-Pacific Islander Community

I have heard from many in our city’s Asian-Pacific Islander communities about ongoing concerns of bias and stigma associated with COVID-19. Our department will aggressively investigate reports of bias crimes, and we will continue to work with our communities, and local officials, to speak out against bias and harassment, and ensure our API neighbors are not subject to stigmatization in a crisis that affects us all.

Washington State is no place for hate PSA

In a show of solidarity between police and community, Emmy award-winning journalist Lori Matsukawa joined Chief Carmen Best in a PSA to remind everyone that hate crimes have no place in our community. The Seattle Police Department will document and investigate every reported hate crime. Even racist name calling should be reported to police. We take this information very seriously. If you aren’t sure if a hate crime occurred, call 911. We are here to help, and will respond to investigate.

Other Department News

Our department’s Crime Dashboards and Crime Maps have returned to service.

Detectives Recover Stolen Tsutakawa Memorial Gates

Detectives have recovered the Tsutakawa Memorial Gates, after they were stolen from the Washington Park Arboretum last week. The bronze ornamental gates, madCrime by George Tsutakawa, have been at the Arboretum since 1976 and are a recognizable fixture outside the Arboretum’s visitor center. Unfortunately, one of the gates was destroyed by suspects who had intended to sell the gates as scrap metal. Thankfully, a scrap metal business refused to buy from the suspects and provided police with information that led them to several suspects and enabled them to recover the gates.

Working Together to Save Lives

I would like to credit two of our younger West Precinct officers, Mike Gore and Josh Vaaga, who, with the help of a community member, were able to save a man from an opioid overdose in downtown Seattle a little more than a week ago. Officers Gore and Vaaga saw the man down on the sidewalk at 3rd Avenue and Stewart Street and determined he appeared to be overdosing. A bystander was able to provide the officers with a dose of naloxone, which they administered to the man, who eventually regained consciousness. He was transported to the hospital for further treatment.I would like to thank these officers, and the community member, who were able to work together to save this man’s life. This kind of partnership and commitment to our shared community is what will keep us moving forward in the days ahead.
Community Celebration

Finally, I was heartened to hear the joyful sounds of people encouraging and thanking our first responders and frontline medical workers during the city’s citywide celebration on March 26th. Hearing the support from our community—in the form of hoots, hollers, and clanging pots and pans—echoing through downtown put a smile on my face and meant a lot to our every member of our department.