Seattle Mayor Ed Murray vowed this afternoon to crack down on gun violence, reform Seattle’s troubled police department and create more jobs to keep teenagers off the streets.
In front of a full City Council chamber, Murray unveiled an ambitious plan to increase public safety in Seattle, committing to presenting an annual status report to the council before every summer.
”We have not over the years developed a coherent and coordinated citywide approach to public safety,” said Murray. ”Unless we as a city address this crisis of confidence, our challenges in public safety will only grow.”
Murray talked about the importance of creating more oversight for police officers. He recommended a new process that would make the Office of Professional Accountability — the entity that investigates officer misconduct allegations — independent from the police department. The model also would include more civilian oversight.
Addressing the recent shooting at Seattle Pacific University, the mayor called gun violence “perhaps our greatest challenge.” Emphasizing he doesn’t intend to take guns away from responsible citizens, he said he will work with law enforcement to curb gun trafficking and curb the sale of firearms without background checks.
He also will co-host a summit this fall to share data and discuss strategies with law enforcement, domestic-violence-prevention advocates and health providers.
“We can prevent gun deaths by recognizing that it is an epidemic,” Murray said. “And like with any epidemic, we know that research can make a difference.”