This will be a two parter - the first email I wrote to our Mayor, Jenny Durkan, and to the City Council, and then a followup email pinpointing a specific topic in the first email. Here is email #1
Dear Mayor Durkan and Seattle Council Members
I’m listening to and reading news as well as posts on sites like Nextdoor Neighbor about the reform of our police department. I know we have a few loose canons both inside and outside of government pushing for the near annihilation of our police department. This kind of talk is overly simplistic and creating fear in the community and will lead the extremists to advocate for citizens arming themselves, etc.
Let me be clear; I absolutely believe that a reformation of how we approach law and order and justice in our country is long overdue, but a slash and burn approach, or the perception of that is extremely dangerous. We need reorganization and reallocation of assets that focuses on the needs of people.
That won’t be an easy change. Having spent my career at Boeing, I understand how empires grow inside of a large institution. I understand that the very people you need to work with you to achieve this change may feel threatened by the change and without their cooperation your task of change will be difficult if not impossible. That will have to be addressed.
I would imagine you have the best and brightest people working on a new approach and I would like to offer a notional chart of what might be not only a solution for Seattle but a template for cities around the country who are facing the same challenges as Seattle.
As I said, this is a notional chart with madeup numbers and percentages (it came from a template), but you will see the central idea is to organize around the first responder idea and try to have the departments working in concert to focus services on the people in need. Whether this can be done by reallocating existing funds for these services is just one of the hurdles to be cleared. The key is bringing all the services that directly affect the safety and welfare of people under one umbrella that are lead by a common vision and purpose.
I hope this might contribute to a solution for our city.