Why it's tough getting more cops in this town

Talk, talk, talk... the mayor and the police chief and their new policing plan add to my distrust of our leadership. Why, in this construction boomtown, is there a police force still stuck at about the same size as it was 30 years ago?

Where is the actual increase in these periodic media promises of more police protection? And why do we still have this police chief who infamously stated that he didn't intervene in the deadly Mardi Gras riots because he didn't want to put the police "in harms way"? I repeat, "in harms way." The police.

Why is it so difficult to fund more police? Why is this city's leadership allowed to continue playing lip service to protection from crime and protection from loss of poor and lower income housing, and protection from erosion of our unique Seattle cultural values, while the only real protection seems to go to our increasingly rich citizen's net worth?

My only personal experience with the Seattle police has been a stupid endangerment from a policewoman who falsely accused me of "attempted" theft of a 50-cent Post Intelligencer. All of this while she was using her taxpayer-paid training and equipment to earn a second income from Safeway. A year later, our intrepid chief has yet to respond to my formal complaint about my being put "in harm's way" by one of his own officers.

Why, if police have time to use taxpayer funded training to make off-duty incomes from private industry, can't this bungling burg devise added employment incentives for the police to do more police protection for us? Why are our paid and trained police working for corporations instead of us? Where is the leadership in this tipsy town?

What is our leadership really doing behind their questionable programs for protecting lower income citizens' access to affordable housing? Writers Carolee Colter and John Fox have exposed, in this paper ["City leaders make a mockery of Seattle's 10-year plan to end homelessness," April 4], the losses that show the city's outright misrepresentation of facts concerning affordable housing in Seattle.

Among the many consequences of this lack of lower-income resident protection is the fact that the increased police force will not be able to afford to buy homes in Seattle. Again, why not pay our present, taxpayer-funded police to work longer hours for us instead of private industry so they can live here instead of Bellingham?

Much of this paper's April 4 issue concerned police and crime topics, including reports of crime in the neighborhood committed by people of such stunningly aimless, opportunistic stupidity. One marvels that they exist, oblivious of all available opportunities for education and all examples for betterment. The editor reports these incidents weekly, and in the April 4 issue he added the latest teen-gone-wrong account of Franklin High School student, Leonard Hunter, killed by his own gun.

In this age of scientific and technological miracles, a shockingly big part of the population is clueless. This culture knows more about American Idol than about American history.

And now a woman has been killed by her whack-job stalker at the University of Washington, despite her making all the correct self-protective appeals to our law institutions. Why aren't more cops protecting these endangered women, instead of Safeway? Hello, chief? Mayor?

Are the mayor's and chief's latest statements about increased police numbers just more of the hype that seems so maddeningly pervasive in this inexcusably lax city government?

I've been told, in confidence, that the chief is actually a capable man, but he is a lapdog in the service of the city leadership. This could partly explain councilman Peter Steinbreuck's recent assertion that there may be as few as 80 officers on duty in the whole city in a single shift. The money made in Seattle's enormous population increases and building booms was siphoned away from such basics as police numbers and training and pay.

Hey, mayor, why aren't your developer buddies giving more of their gains to better police protection for your constituents? Why aren't more taxpayer-funded police working for us instead of private industry?

Rainier Beach writer Gordon Anderson may be reached at this link.
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