Laurelhurst Community Club                                                     

Serving 2800 Households in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

 

 

                                                                                    October 21, 2002

 

 

Councilmember Jan Drago, Chair

Budget Committee and

Members of the Seattle City Council

11th Floor, Municipal Building

600 Fourth Avenue

Seattle, Washington  98104-1876                                 Fax 684-8587

 

Re:       Public Safety Budget Cuts / Elimination of Funding for Community Service Officers

 

Dear Budget Chair Drago and Members of the Seattle City Council,

 

            The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees urges you to provide adequate funding for the Seattle Police Department in the 2003-2004 budget.  The Mayor’s proposed budget would eliminate 27 sworn police officer positions and 54 civilian positions.  We understand the difficulty you face in closing the $60 million budget shortfall, but we believe cuts to public safety should not be considered. 

 

            Seattle is already well-below the national average for cities of similar size in its ratio of police officers to residents.  In 2000, Seattle has 224 officers per 100,000 residents—27% below the national average.  Decreases in the number of police officers threaten the safety of officers due to the unavailability of adequate backup, reduces response time and ultimately impacts public safety.

 

            We also oppose the elimination of the Community Service Officer Program as proposed.  Community Service Officers perform important services to assist the police and the community.  They handle juvenile runaway case management and provide assistance to abused and neglected children.  They check on the well-being of the elderly and other vulnerable people.  They provide crisis intervention services and assist people in finding emergency housing—just to list a few of the functions they perform.  If funding for this program is eliminated, these much-needed services will not be provided because police will not have the time to do them.  To reinitiate the program in future years would mean large training and start-up costs.  The current program is an effective and efficient use of funds.

 

            We are grateful that funds have been restored for the Crime Prevention Program.  We hope you will work to increase funding for sworn police officers and the Community Service Officer Program.  Thank you for considering our views.

 

Sincerely,

                                                                       

Jeannie Hale, President                                                 Pat Wright, Crime Prevention Rep

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE                                              3925 48th Avenue NE

Seattle, Washington  98105                                                      Seattle, Washington  98105

206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631                                          206-522-0871

jeannieh@serv.net                                                                    fredmm@attbi.com