by Kirby LindsayCommunities, like Fremont, depend upon volunteers to meet our needs. Volunteers can serve in an incredible variety of capacities. One often overlooked need is public safety – and one of the best resources for a community to access the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is the North Precinct Advisory Council (NPAC).
NPAC meets on the first Wednesday of each month, at North Seattle Community College (often in room #1360), at 7p. Representatives from SPD attend each month, but citizens actually run the meeting, with Curtis Gehrke, President of the Aurora Avenue Merchants Association currently serves as Chairperson. Concerned neighborhoods send representatives who inform the SPD on community issues and hear about law enforcement efforts. Some neighborhoods who take advantage of this connection include Roosevelt, Meadowbrook, Sandel Park, Haller Lake, Licton Springs, and Fremont.
Fire & Policing Partnership
Fremont resident and Red Door co-owner Pete Hanning represents the Fremont Chamber of Commerce at NPAC as well as the Seattle Nightlife & Music Association (of which he is president,) and serves as a liaison for the Fremont Neighborhood Council. Hanning directly reports Fremont-specific safety concerns to NPAC, and the SPD. At the December 3, 2010 meeting, he also took an opportunity to address the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) Chief Gregory Dean.
Chief Dean attended as a guest speaker, and gave attendees a wealth of information on SFD, and their resources in the face of budget cuts. In the last year SFD responded to 80,000 alarms, a number lower than in years past. He also spoke to coordination between SFD and SPD, and the excellent communication going on between those on the ground – the police officers and fire fighters. “When things don’t go right,” Chief Dean graciously admitted, “look at the top of the pyramid,” and the chiefs, unions, and administration. The SFD, he reported, also have remodels planned for 32 of their 33 fire stations.
On this, Hanning asked about progress on efforts to remodel Fire Station #9. Chief Dean recollected studies done to relocate the station to a more densely populated and/or arterial location, but results showed significantly lowered response times within the #9 service area. This station, he explained, covers a unique area which includes portions of Ballard and across the Ship Canal to Seattle Pacific University. A hearing on the current structures declared them ineligible for landmark status, and as a result, Chief Dean replied, he does not see any traction for efforts to impede the remodel plan.
Reports & Updates
After Chief Dean spoke and took questions for nearly an hour, several other informative reports and comments on community concerns filled the final half hour. Lieutenant Ken Hicks, of the North Precinct, reported that November had been a quiet month except for a small climb in the burglary rate. Yet, they have identified one major perpetrator which will, most likely, end this spike.
Car thefts have gone on a downward trend, as well as car prowls, and he credited education work done to ask the public not to leave items in plain view in their cars. Diane Horswill, from Crime Prevention, explained that Seattle has dropped to #37 in the nation for car thefts and she also credited Dan Oliver, former North Precinct Captain, now assigned to major crimes for the drop from #3.
Ed McKenna, representing the City Attorney’s office, reported on work with the City Council to change graffiti ordinances. A deputy prosecutor from the King County Prosecutor’s office requested help in their work on foreclosure frauds by providing information on squatters, foreclosures, and questionable mortgage practices. Jeff Seargant, with the Department of Corrections, described their recent updating information for the sex offender registry.
Finally, Dianne Newsom updated everyone on the sock collection done among the NPAC volunteers. For distribution to Solid Ground, the Pioneer Square Foot Clinic and a women’s shelter, they’ve collected 4,179 pairs of socks in preparation for the holiday season.
The meeting wrapped with word that the guest speaker for the next meeting, on Wednesday, January 5th, would be Seattle Police Department Chief John Diaz. For those interested in learning more, or getting involved in, NPAC, contact your local representative (Hanning can be found most days at Red Door) or attend an upcoming meeting and see what it is all about!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.