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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 5, 2014 at 6:13 AM

Property crime: Praise for causing a review of police policy

I perused with interest the report on Danny Westneat’s car prowl [“Police allow car break-ins to become a Seattle growth industry,” Local News, Oct. 31]. It was well done to take an unpleasant incident, and turn it into an informative piece.

On Tuesday, I read that the new police chief has ordered an internal review of the dismissive behavior Westneat endured [“Seattle police to review property-crime response,” The Today File, Nov. 3].  I applaud this response, and the work that produced it. It may be cliché to say that the “pen is mightier than the sword,” yet this event proves the saying.  All of the folks in town who will suffer the loss and invasion of privacy inherent in a car prowl owe Westneat thanks for encouraging the police to perform their job.  I view this as an extension of the “broken windows” theory of policing.

Now we need to track the police response. Often powerful entities promise change when publicly confronted with error, yet these promises fade as public scrutiny recedes.  It will be a small, but interesting, test of Chief Kathleen O’Toole’s proclaimed efforts to change the police department’s culture.

A columnist with the town’s main newspaper has a responsibility to forward issues great and small.  It is gratifying that Westneat is living up to this duty. Keep it up. I will be reading.

David Tewell, Seattle

Comments | More in Seattle Police Department | Topics: Danny Westneat, Kathleen O’Toole, property crime

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