Hi, Im the mayor.
  • Hi, I'm the mayor.
At a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Mike McGinn, Interim Police Chief John Diaz, and Assistant Chief Mike Sanford outlined a new public safety nightlife plan that will add 20-plus officers to downtown Seattle and keep them there until 4:00 a.m.—two hours after bars close. The plan will go into effect this Friday.

“Our goal is to ensure everyone who is downtown is safe and feels safe,” said the mayor, who was flanked by Seattle Police Department officers on the steps outside of the SPD’s West Precinct.

To that end, Diaz explained that more than 20 officers from various units that work at night—including SWAT, anti-crime, and DUI officers—will be reassigned to patrol the downtown corridor, where bar-related violence often occurs. Additionally, four to six of officers will deployed in every precinct to patrol known problem areas.

The situation is win-win for the city and residents, said Sanford. Since the plan hinges on reassigning on-duty officers, neighborhoods will get the added security of more officers on the street without a huge cost to the city. “We’ve done this before—moved people to where the problems are,” Sanford says. “This is a very focused part of the neighborhood policing plan.”

Sanford adds that the officers will mainly be reassigned to foot patrols around crowded nightlife hot spots to prevent “bad situations fueled by alcohol” from occurring. “The more friendly interactions there are with officers, the calmer things are,” Sanford explains.

The public safety plan was developed after a particularly violent weekend in Belltown, with a man shot in the neck on Fifth Avenue, another man beaten, and a Belltown apartment manager stabbed.

Belltown residents are holding a public safety meeting to specifically address these incidents tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Labor Temple, 2800 1st Ave, Hall #8.