Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn will announce the full details of his 2013-14 proposed budget on Sept. 24. But in advance of that announcement, this morning the Mayor unveiled aspects of the budget designed to improve public safety, including hiring 10 new police officers in 2013 (at an expected cost of roughly $1 million per year), and purchasing some fancy technology known as a gunshot locator system.
In terms of new police officers being hired, the ten additional cops to be hired in 2013 will bring the total sworn officers in Seattle up to 1,310. According to the Mayor's Office, "These additional positions will allow SPD to continue meeting or exceeding the outcomes in the Neighborhood Policing Plan, and help continue the emphasis patrols launched in 2012 in response to violent crime."
"By hiring new officers and giving them new tools, we can help protect public safety in Seattle," McGinn proclaimed today. "Public safety is a top priority for the community and it's a top priority for me."
The most intriguing aspect of today's announcement is undoubtedly the city's plans to acquire the gunshot locator system.
Here's how the city describes the technology:
Also included is funding for an automatic gunshot locator system, at a cost of $950,000 over two years for installation and operation. The City will install up to 52 mobile gunshot locator units near hot spots, with each having a minimum 600-foot radius range and each having the ability to stream video. They can be moved in response to special events or changing crime patterns. These units can determine if a gunshot has occurred within 4/10ths of a second, pinpoint the location to within a 50-foot radius and determine the caliber of weapon that was fired with a 90 percent accuracy rate.
McGinn's budget also proposes upgrades to SPD's in-car video program, replacement of SPD's mobile data terminals, and additional staff for SPD's crime analysis team. A press release distributed this morning by the Mayor's office indicates, "These investments will also help provide better access to the public for police videos," something that would no doubt be welcomed by the local press and folks like James Egan, though surely met with a healthy amount of skepticism at this point.
When it comes to money earmarked for the city's 20/20 plan and DOJ reforms, here's what the city is saying:
The proposed budget also includes $5 million annually to implement the 20/20 reform plan and to implement the settlement agreements with the Department of Justice. The full scope of the costs will not be known until the monitor and Community Police Commission, both requirements of the Settlement Agreement, are in place. McGinn expects both will be named later this year. The proposed budget holds in reserve sufficient funding to allow the City to fully implement the terms of the agreement with the DOJ.
Previously on The Daily Weekly: