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McGinn Wants To Fund New Patrol Officers, Gunshot Locators

Amy Radil
09/14/2012

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says the city's budget picture is brightening this year, and he's able to fund some new initiatives for the Seattle Police Department. They include hiring additional patrol officers and installing a gunshot locator system. He says the city also has the funds it needs for its consent decree with the Department of Justice. Amy Radil reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Mayor McGinn's proposed budget for the next two years includes $16 million in new funding for the police department. That money would allow SPD to hire 10 additional patrol officers and install an automatic gunshot locator system.

McGinn: "We know that we have an issue with gun violence. We've seen an increase in the number of shots fired in the city over the last year."

The system would consist of 52 separate units mounted around the city. Those units can detect the location of a gunshot and the caliber of weapon that was fired.

McGinn: "Each having a minimum 600–foot radius range, and each having the ability to stream video from that piece of equipment. And we'll install these in hotspots. This is a network we can deploy in a mobile fashion."

There's also funding to improve the police department's in–car video program. SPD will use the money to hire three new data analysts. Police Chief John Diaz says those new hires will help the department retrieve video more quickly and process public disclosure requests.

Diaz: "What we need to do is insure we're getting information out faster not only on public disclosure requests but also to our detectives. We are being buried by the number of videos that we have, and this is a commitment to improve that ability to move faster in that arena."

Critics have complained that SPD waits too long to release videos to the public — often up to three years. Mayor McGinn says this funding won't change the police department's video release policies, but it will allow faster progress once a request has been granted.

McGinn says in addition to the SPD funding, he's also setting aside $5 million per year to implement the city's consent decree with the US Justice Department. That's a contrast to negotiations last May, when McGinn estimated that the agreement could cost the city up to $41 million per year.

At the time, federal and city officials called that number inflated. McGinn says the full cost of the consent decree is unknown, but he expects this funding to be sufficient.

I'm Amy Radil, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

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