Murray unveils public safety plan in wake city shootings

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 25 at 5:55 PM

SEATTLE -- Just weeks after the Seattle Pacific University shooting and several high-profile homicides, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Wednesday laid out an extensive public safety plan for the city in a rare special session at City Hall. It involves more than just police and hits the mayor in a personal way.

Murray assembled a special meeting to deal with what he calls a crisis of confidence in public safety. Since becoming mayor, his focus has been on police reform and dealing with tragedy.

"it's tough sitting down with a mother whose son was gunned down just blocks from her house," said Murray. "It's tough."

It was standing room only as city workers and community leaders packed the City Council Chambers Wednesday. Murray made it clear public safety solutions go far beyond policing.

"We must show how city government can invite people, the people of seattle, to play a stronger role in keeping our community safe," said Murray.

Murray's extensive public safety plan includes:

  • Extend community center hours
  • Expand jobs for youth
  • Develop a safety plan for each neighborhood
  • Begin community safety walks

View Murray's entire comprehensive public safety strategy for Seattle here (PDF)

"It's more than symbolism. I think it's really important that city leaders, including myself, get out there and show support for the commmunity," said Kathleen O'Toole, Seattle Police Chief.

Murray called stopping gun violence the most urgent challenge.

"The gut wrenching truth is that I do not possess the simple solution that has evaded my predecessors and colleagues," said Murray.

The Seattle Neighborhood Group, which works to reduce crime with community programs, is closely following the mayor’s public safety plan. Executive director Kay Godefroy said it is important to have programs that steer kids away from violence and keeps them in school.

“The community has to be involved. We have to be providing services for young people. We have to do everything we can to prevent people from going down that violent path to begin with,” said Godefroy.

Related links:

Murray's Comprehensive Public Safety Strategy for Seattle

Text of Murray's public safety speech

Melekian's Police Accountability: A strategic roadmap for the Seattle Police Department

 

KING 5's Adam Mertz and Liza Javier contributed to this report.

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