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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Safety in Seattle Schools (Did you know Garfield is the "most troubled"?)

This article appeared in today's Times. I had to laugh a bit because when I was trying to get our police officer back at Roosevelt, I talked to the North Precinct captain who gave me the offer (to tell the district) that he would give the district 2 officers for the price of 1. That's right; pay for one and get two and you know what? It was sniffed away. Now the Times thinks the district should pony up to secure the schools (and you get the district's problem; what would go if they had to pay for security?) with the City helping as well.

I doubt anything will come of it but it is interesting to me that the City wants this so badly.

12 comments:

dj said...

I suppose I'm not getting this. How is locating an officer in the school going to stop shootings that occur nearby after school hours?

I'm as worried as the next person about the recent rounds of shootings along Cherry. I'm right up the street. But I don't see how an in-school police force is going to help.

Charlie Mas said...

There are a number of things I don't get about this.

One, how are cops at the school supposed to reduce violence around the school - most of which is not related to the school or the students in any way?

Two, deploying police is a policy decision by the police department. Should people be allowed to pay some amount and get a cop assigned to a beat on their property? Should the decisions about how and where to deploy officers be based on anything other than the factors the police are using now? If it is such a brilliant idea for cops to be stationed in schools then that is where the City should station them. If it isn't, then they shouldn't.

Three, why should the District pay for the cop? I don't pay for cops to come to my house. Are the schools like night clubs that have to pay for cops because they attract crime? Are they like large sporting events that need to pay for cops because they are disruptive? Who paid for the police presence at the public hearings on the school closures? Who wanted them there?

Four, is the City and the police department suggesting that the schools will not be safe if the District doesn't pay for the police presence? This feels like a shake-down.

Maureen said...

Don't schools already fund security personnel (I think there are four at Garfield)? Why should they pay for police too? There are 1600 kids at Garfield, why shouldn't the city post a policeman there given the concentrated population and the history of the area? And is Garfield really the most dangerous school in the District?

seattle citizen said...

Your points are all well taken from a policy prespective: if there's danger, mightn't there be police stationd there by the city?

I look at it from the cop on the street's perspective: They (the individual cops)want to have an increased presence, they want to form "relationship" with the students. it's actually a good idea.

This might not translate at the higher levels, tho', as the precinct captains and the district admins argue about whose dime.

dj said...

But the question is, why an increased presence at Garfield? What in particular are they hoping to accomplish at Garfield?

There have been, what, three different shooting incidents along Cherry near Garfield in the past few months. They weren't at the school or during school hours. One was of a man in his 20s. There have been robberies and burglaries up and down that stretch. And that's before you get a couple of blocks over to the same stretch of Union, where there was the set of shootings at the Philly Cheesesteak last January and there remains an open-air drug market right across the street from the police drop-in center.

Now, I have no doubt that we could use some more officers over here. I'm just questioning whether the most useful place to deploy them is inside Garfield.

seattle citizen said...

Inside the school, as an assigned officer, allows the officer to interact with the students within what is often perceieved as "neutral territory," a safe haven, a community. Even gang-bangers understand community.

This is not nearly as possible, this relationship-building, outside the school.

ParentofThree said...

My question is how do you standardize start times when you need to stagger start times due to gang issues?

Danny K said...

I think it's a good thing. I've lived in towns with serious gang problems. When things reach the tipping point, when people don't feel safe, schools and neighborhoods can empty out and become blighted with shocking speed. That will make the current problems with equity and polarization seem trivial.

The difference between cops and school security, I think, is that school security don't have arrest powers and don't have authority over non-students.

I'd like to know more about Garfield, also -- are they not telling us some things?

Jet City mom said...

I wonder if during the few years that Garfield was relocated to Wallingford if the negative influences became more pervasive in the neighborhood.

I know that kids going to and from school were being harassed and assaulted, that a long time security person who had a very good relationship with the students, was fired because of an incident that got a lot of attention & that Garfield doesn't have four security staff but two.

As a white girl who can give you the look of doom, my daughter didn't have the problems that some of the other kids had at Garfield, but I have a lot of confidence in Ted Howard. If he thinks the building needs a police officer on site during the day- then I believe him.

Sahila said...

In Brisbane, Australia, at Kelvin Grove State High School where my daughters and son went for part of their high school education, there was always a police officer assigned to the school, sometimes two, a male and a female - think this was the case at other schools also...

http://kelvingrovesc.eq.edu.au/wcmss/

The school (which just happened to be our neighbourhood high school, three blocks away) is the most prestigious public high school in the state, has a very diverse student body and has very few discipline or delinquent behaviour problems...

Police are involved as part of community building and prevention strategies... to build good relationships with young people and help counter-balance the temptations and influence of drug and alcohol experimentation and the attractions of gang culture...

There's a strong move in Australia and New Zealand for communities to work collaboratively with the police to nip in the bud the trouble young people might find themselves getting into.... both countries have a police juvenile aid section within their respective police forces which focus entirely on youth outreach, education and prevention strategies.

I dont know if this country does that - if not, you should try it some time! It works.... that ounce of prevention bringing a pound of cure someone else talked about on another thread....

Jet City mom said...

I want to clarify something- the security staff that was relocated from Garfield, is still working in the district, just at a different school-which is confusing to me.

If the incident was so bad- then why still have him working in the district- but if it wasn't , why not still have him @ Garfield, where he had already built relationships and trust?

But it is probably political as many things seem to be nowdays.

dan dempsey said...

Twenty years ago Albuquerque had police substations in each comprehensive high school.