August Captain's Log
WEST Precinct Captain Jim DERMODY
More about the Captain
On Monday August 12th, a lone suspect well known to my officers and our Department of Corrections partners committed several heinous acts in the downtown core. He is well known because he’s been arrested thirty-two (32) times by our officers since 2007.
I want to thank our local media (both print, television and online) for focusing on the victims of the actions of this convicted felon. There has been a missed opportunity, however, that I will highlight here.
My Officers and Sergeants from the West Precinct, along with our partners at King County’s Metro Transit Police, who provide public safety services day and night in our downtown core and surrounding neighborhoods, were immediately on-scene on 3rd Avenue and also rushed to the scene to render aid, protect victims from further harm, and stop the suspect. They performed all three actions within minutes as the suspect fled south and then west, finally being stopped at 2nd Avenue and Seneca Street. Our Seattle Fire Department partners provided medical aid and transportation to our outstanding trauma center only a few blocks away; Harborview Medical Center.
Unfortunately, the opportunity to focus on the heroic actions of our first responders has been missed among the insatiable urge to focus on issues that attempt to influence the local electorate. Stakeholders downtown know this and have told me so.
The community, however, will acknowledge and thank them for their service at the 2013 Seattle Police Foundation Awards Ceremony at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel Ballroom on October 25th. As an outcome of its largest fundraising effort of the year, the Foundation will continue to provide funding to the Department for employee development, police service enhancements and community outreach. We, in turn, will thank the community through those in attendance for their ongoing support. The sworn and civilian members of the police department as well as community members will be honored in the following categories:
■Medal of Valor ■Medal of Honor ■Medal of Courage ■Lifesaving Award
■Officer of the Year ■Detective of the Year ■Civilian of the Year
■Community Member of the Year
■Outstanding Public Service ■Community Ambassador ■Inspirational ■Innovation
■Crime Impact Award
■Excellence Civilian ■Excellence Sworn ■Excellence Team
■Above and Beyond Award
I am proud of the men and women of the West Precinct who have made significant public safety gains the past fourteen months within the West Precinct, including downtown. They work within the larger criminal justice system which is not aligned in our city. What occurs after an arrest (held or released, charged or not, pre-trial order to stay out of a neighborhood where the offender has no stake, the need for a robust community court and city attorney referral for low level violations to provide accountability where there is currently none, court and/or corrections oversight, and to which neighborhood the convicted offender is allowed to re-enter after serving prison time) is more important than the actual single arrest itself. The convicted felon my officers stopped on Monday is, unfortunately, an all too familiar example of this downtown.
In a posting in the near term, I will highlight the public safety gaps and needs which our law enforcement partners (City Attorney, King County Prosecutor, Municipal Court, Superior Court, and Legislative Branches) have either agreed to begin to assist, have stopped charging, or about which we will again make requests on behalf of our stakeholders. Public safety should be complementary, not competitive nor misaligned with our community’s needs.
Moreover, there are unintended consequences of having most of King County’s (2100 square miles in size) human services concentrated in a four square mile area of our downtown. Our city’s generosity of providing a $32M discretionary human services budget is laudable but has been one of the primary factors that attracts many from outside of King County and our state and, unfortunately, has allowed our city’s nickname to become “Free-attle.”
Lastly, on behalf of the West Precinct, I want to thank the Seattle Hotel Association (SHA), its current president, David Watkins of the Inn at the Market, SHA’s past president Howard Cohen of Clise Properties-Hotel Division, and the general managers of SHA’s 58 hotels for awarding us the “Advocacy for Tourism” award for providing police services with safety, professionalism and innovation.
The two hundred officers of the West Precinct and civilian staff thank you for your ongoing support.
Captain Jim Dermody
West Precinct Commander
Lifelong Seattle Resident and Second Generation SPD