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Licton Springs Community Council Report for February
North Precinct Advisory Council Report for February 2, 2005

Statements or opinions expressed in the following report are not necessarily those of the Licton Springs Community Council or the residents of the Licton Springs Neighborhood. Effort has been taken to provide an accurate report but total accuracy cannot be assured.

At 7:02 p.m. President Pete Rogerson called the meeting to order. There was one new member in attendance this month, and that was the representative from the Ramada Inn and Berkshire Grill.
The evening’s agenda had us covering several different subjects. First up was Sergeant Don Smith from the Traffic Division. He spoke to the issue of the “Community Traffic Complaint.” The traffic section is charged with ensuring quality law enforcement to the citizens of Seattle and the “Community Traffic Complaint” was established to facilitate that goal. The traffic section seeks to identify those areas within the city that have a disproportionate number of complaints or accidents. One such location is at the location of 128th and Aurora Avenue (Highway 99). That location is noted as a “high impact” area (no pun intended). Another problem area is the area between the Northgate Mall and the Target store on 110th Street. Jaywalking in this area has become epidemic. (No one can use the crosswalks at the end or middle of the block - too far to walk?) It was also noted that 50 percent of pedestrian deaths are the fault of the pedestrian. (If you run down a pedestrian, you’ll get a citation!)

If a citizen makes a complaint with regard to a traffic issue, the Traffic Section WILL respond! There will be more on this subject again next month. If you’re interested, come to the meeting. (All are welcome - no door prizes but there’s also no cover charge.)

Moving Forward, Next, we got a shortened dissertation on the Department’s “Mobile Based Computers.” These are the computers that are seen in the front seat of all patrol cars. The “in car” computers have given the patrol officer instant access to information that would have taken hours to process in the past. The computers can be used via the keyboard or through a touch screen entry. Since they are being used in an automobile, the computers are “hardened” against the rough environment in which they must work. They are also mounted high so the officer need not take his eyes off the road. The system in use is an “in house” design (designed by cops for use by cops). The system works much like a cell phone. It does not rely on a central server, and is therefore little affected by natural disasters. (A good thing if we have one!) The system provides information access from both State and Federal data sources. Information is displayed in an array of colors to signify priority. (Red is the hot number.) The data display is much the same as it would be on a home computer and communication is very much like e-mail or instant messaging. Having an on-board computer really does make the best use of an officer’s time. (They can write reports while still in the field, etc.) The question was raised about the potential for abuse of the access of individual information and the response was that the system is audited at all times. (You can’t be checking up on your ex-girlfriend.)

There was a lot more to this meeting, but these guys all talk fast and I write slowly. (They all do community presentations also.)
The heads of North Precinct Operations, Lieutenant Roy Wedlund and Captain Oliver, had a few closing notes as well. The Seattle Police cars all carry “spike strips” to deflate tires of suspect cars. This helps avoid the type of thing that just happened over on I-90 when an officer had to shoot out the tires of the car being used by the bad guys (aka, no stray bullets flying around).
There are now 15 patrol cars in operation for the North Precinct that are equipped with video cameras. These are a great aid when it comes to providing proof of actions when making a stop or arresting a suspect.

The North Precinct now has its very own Department of Corrections (“DoC”) Officer. Working hand in hand with the regular patrol officers, the DoC Officer is able to make arrests for parole violations by those on release from prison. Since the first of the year, over 130 contacts have been made and 40 arrests are the result. I found a little dry humor in the aspect of having a DoC officer putting parole violators back in prison when the parole board keeps saying we have an overcrowded system and turns more of them loose! (It’s like a merry-go-round, eh?)

At the beginning of the meeting, President Rogerson gave a little pep talk about “sharing” the information garnered from these meetings. It is not enough just to come and be represented. Ideally, the topics discussed at these meetings (all public safety related) should be spread as far as possible. If you have any friends, co-workers, relatives, or people you just don’t like-spread the word! Is it asking too much to help keep as many people as possible “informed”? Admittedly, this month’s report is not one of my better efforts, but I’ll do what I can with whatever I have to work with. Remember, I flunked English, ‘nough said.

Ken Thompson


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