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Public Safety & Police Reform

We Can – and Must – Ensure Public Safety, Address Systemic Racism, and Drive Needed Reform

Every community in our city has the absolute right to feel safe and welcome: Everyone deserves an effective public safety system.

Black Lives Matter is the most impactful civil rights movement in my adult life, and I stand in unity with those seeking justice and reform – as I have throughout my career in law and public service. This commitment is reinforced by my own experience growing up, and later raising two young Black men in our city and society. As an attorney, I would commonly ask potential jurors to recount their lived experiences when being interrogated by police officers, and I have seen tears in the eyes of many African Americans when reliving their trauma.

That is exactly why I was the sole drafter of Seattle’s unprecedented “Bias Free” policing law which requires our City to daylight the information as to who is stopped by law enforcement, and why.

With your support, we will start 2022 with a baseline that Seattle must be different than what has occurred and continues to occur to countless African Americans at the hands of police officers. Our own officers will work with community leaders to change OUR narrative.


  • Budgeting that Ensures Training, Proper Response, and Needed Staffing: We need to move beyond arbitrary and divisive public safety budget debates, ensure appropriate staffing, and align the needs of our entire community with the mandate of ending bias, improving response times, and reducing crime.

    We need the right kind of personnel to respond – like social workers and addiction specialists when an armed officer isn’t needed or appropriate. Accountability and training – and appropriate staffing for our growing city – require resources and reforms. We can do both.

  • Greater investment in proven upstream prevention and intervention programs, building up successful community-driven models that reduce gun violence, identify and mentor at-risk youth, assist crime victims and address trauma, and provide mental health support.

  • Expand “Safe Harbors” for individuals in crisis, including emergency supportive housing, sobriety centers, long term care and rehabilitation services, and other culturally and medically appropriate locations for people to begin the process of recovery and rebuilding lives.

    • Invest in existing – and build new – programs to increase recruitment and retention of fire fighters, police and other first responders from Seattle communities. Utilizing Running Start, Seattle Promise and other tools, Seattle can build training and coursework to match our values for first responders, prepare for the changing nature of this work, and reflect what fire fighters and police officers are encountering in the field. This includes skills related to Race and Social Justice Initiatives and implicit bias, but also conflict de-escalation and crisis communications. By providing onramps and certification opportunities that increase diversity and expanding opportunities for advancement among BIPOC responders, we build a public safety system that is representative of our city and restores a sense of pride and public trust in our police and fire departments.
  • Our Race and Data Initiative:  With the assistance of experts in technology, the developer community, data mining and the use of test cases, for the first time in Seattle’s history we will daylight and organize behavioral data to address how Seattle can address institutional and historic racism. Under this initiative, we will better understand who are denied jobs; what level of housing discrimination exists; who are treated unfairly in our court systems; who is most likely to be the victim of violence.  We will not be afraid to examine our City’s frailties as this will be a first step in healing as a city.

  • Beyond Training and Reform, A Pledge: In addition to state-mandated reforms in training, techniques, and conduct, I would like every sworn police officer in Seattle to watch the 8 minutes and 46 seconds of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis and voluntarily sign an open letter stating:  The Inhumane Treatment of Fellow Human Beings Will Not Be Tolerated In Seattle. To further this mission, I will work to personally recruit officers looking to be internal change agents, heroes within the department to help coach, train, love and inspire our officers to be the department we all deserve.

The “us” vs “them” conversation is not working. We must start from the common baseline that every human being deserves respect and dignity.

We all deserve safe streets and communities. We know the difference between peaceful protest and criminal destruction of property. We need real talk. We need leadership.

As Mayor, I’ll never lose sight of the goal: a Seattle police department that is responsive to community needs, that protects all people and neighborhoods without bias.