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Police Chief Candidates Meet Seattle City Council

Sam Eaton
07/18/2000

THE THREE FINALISTS FOR SEATTLE POLICE CHIEF ARE IN TOWN THIS WEEK UNDERGOING A SERIES OF ONE ON ONE INTERVIEWS WITH MAYOR PAUL SCHELL. THE PUBLIC ALSO GOT ITS FIRST GLIMPSE AT THE CANDIDATES DURING A BRIEF INTERVIEW SESSION WITH THE SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL. KUOW’S SAM EATON HAS THE STORY…

THE PAINTED SIGNS AND FREQUENT OUTBURSTS IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS CONDEMNING THE SEATTLE POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR RACISM SERVED AS A POTENT BACKDROP FOR THE CHALLENGES FACING SEATTLE’S FUTURE POLICE CHIEF. SFX: (OUTBURST) YESTERDAY EACH FINALIST TOOK THE HOT SEAT AMONG SEATTLE CITY COUNCILMEMBERS. AND WITH THE RECENT POLICE SHOOTING OF A BLACK SHOPLIFTER IN SEATTLE, RACE WAS A COMMON THEME IN THE COUNCILMEMBER’S QUESTIONS, WHETHER THAT BE IN THE CANDIDATE’S POSITION ON RACIAL PROFILING OR HOW THEY WOULD ENACT COMMUNITY-BASED POLICING. GIL KERLIKOWSKE, A JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL AND FORMER POLICE CHIEF IN BUFFALO, SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MISTAKES OF THE HEART AND MISTAKES OF THE MIND. If you don’t do all the prevention work about teaching tolerance and diversity and understanding different cultures and religions, then you really are trying to enact a very narrow set of rules to punish a particular police officer who transgresses in that area. THE OTHER TWO CANDIDATES HAD A DIFFERENT TAKE. MADISON, WISCONSIN POLICE CHIEF RICHARD WILLIAMS, SAYS BATTLING RACISM STARTS WITH THE WAY THE POLICE DEPARTMENT ADDRESSES THE ISSUE. AND WILLIAM MCMANUS, AN ASSISTANT POLICE CHIEF IN WASHINGTON, D.C. SAYS WITH AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MAJORITY BOTH IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE CITY’S POPULATION, PROBLEMS AROUND RACE SIMPLY DON’T ARISE. I have to say in DC there is no institutionalized racism, it just has not been an issue. BUT THAT RESPONSE RAISED A RED FLAG FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN AFFAIRS DIRECTOR, TONY ORANGE, WHO CAME TO SEE WHAT THE CANDIDATES HAD TO SAY. To me it’s not axiomatic that if you have a majority of people of one color that you can’t have profiling against them. WHILE ORANGE AND SEVERAL OTHER AUDIENCE MEMBERS LEFT WITH SEVERAL QUESTIONS STILL UNANSWERED, THEY CAN HOPE THE PROMISES OF ALL THREE CANDIDATES TO CREATE STRONG LINKS BETWEEN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE COMMUNITIES IT POLICES WON’T GO UNANSWERED. MAYOR SCHELL IS EXPECTED TO CHOOSE A NEW CHIEF BY THE END OF THE MONTH. SAM EATON, KUOW, 94.9, PUBLIC RADIO

04.26.18

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