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Seattle Police begin city’s crackdown on public drug use with reported arrests, 13 ‘referred to the case managers’

The Seattle Police Department says it started enforcement of the city’s new public drug use law with “enforcement operations” in two familiar crime hot spots this weekend — Little Saigon and the downtown core around 3rd and Pine.

SPD Chief Adrian Diaz said the operations were underway in the areas ave 12th Ave and South Jackson in the International District, and on 2nd 3rd near Pike and Pine downtown.

“This is not about arresting people,” Diaz said. “We want to make sure that people are taking advantage of services. Right now, we know 13 people were referred to the case managers and that’s really what’s important to us.”

The Seattle Times reports 10 people were arrested during the initial hours of the operation “mostly on outstanding felony warrants” with two of the 10 were jailed on new offenses, including possession of drugs with intent to deliver and possession of a stolen firearm.

Police “might not have come into contact” with the suspects if not for the new law, Diaz said.

In September, Mayor Bruce Harrell issued an executive order directing police establishing a new “threat of harm assessment” that the administration says “provides direction to officers on how to enforce the ordinance, including examples of how public use and possession can be established and factors that will guide the threat of harm assessment.”

CHS reported here on the passage of the new law opening the way for more arrests and prosecution of public use of drugs like meth and fentanyl while also earmarking millions in spending for diversion and treatment programs. While the crackdown could help address concerns about street disorder and overdoses, it also is expected to tax the city’s law enforcement and treatment resources while adding to the challenges already faced by those living with addiction and living homeless in the city.

 

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Fed up
Fed up
7 months ago

It is great that we are finally adding this tool back to the toolbox for addressing the drug crisis and soaring overdose deaths on our streets after much hand-wringing and performative progressive politics by Andrew Lewis, Tammy Morales, Teresa Mosquera and others that caused needless chaos and preventable overdose deaths. Hopefully they will take on the Cal Anderson open air drug market next.

CD Resident
CD Resident
7 months ago
Reply to  Fed up

Saying they “caused the deaths” and not this deeply flawed system is shameful partisan hackery and a freezing cold unserious take.

Below Broadway
Below Broadway
6 months ago
Reply to  CD Resident

When the “deeply flawed system” is Progressive reformers more worried what social media thinks than in protecting the public from people experiencing drug and mental health crisis.

neighbor
neighbor
7 months ago

Lead, Co-Lead, PDA, Reach, these are all entities that are the brainchild of one woman who is arguably the most powerful non-elected person in city and county politics. These agencies have received many millions of dollars from city, county and state, as well as other resources, for many years. Several years ago Jenny Durkan threatened to withhold 50% of LEAD’s funding until they produced some sort of efficacy stats. The stale stats available at that time showed that people on LEAD are more likely to commit misdemeanor crimes than those not on LEAD, and more likely to actually die, oddly enough. One woman’s various incarnations of the same old plans will likely now get even more millions. I’m all about helping people, less firm in the belief that we are getting our money’s worth by funneling more and more millions to agencies that operate on one philosophy that has not produced fantastic results over time. Additionally, those agenices will always state that what they need is more money if you want them to produce stats, more money for more caseworkers, on and on forever. I used to be a fervent believer, having been homeless and had a drug history myself. During Covid a guy I knew from my own druggie days posted on Facebook that, through Co-Lead, he was given a motel room where he stayed for 8 months while receiving no wraparound services whatsoever for his heroin addiction, then was kicked out to make room for another person. That didn’t help him, and left him on Facebook begging someone to house him in their garage. We need fresh ideas for treatment of thorny problems, not just the same woman rebranding the same ideas again and again under different names. Her various organizations were wildly overrepresented on the mayor’s recent task force so it seems her power in city politics only continues to grow as she provides the “case managers” SPD is referring folks to.

Make streets safer by removing the tents
Make streets safer by removing the tents
7 months ago

Clean the streets – do more, 13 is a start, but not even remotely reflecting what the numbers are on the street.

Cliff
Cliff
7 months ago

Hope you let us know the results in 3 months of these 1st 13 took me only 3 rehabs and had to relocate to get away from old friends I wish them luck

Feels hopeless
Feels hopeless
7 months ago

Funny (or not) – I was just on 3rd to catch a bus back to home here. 3rd & Pike filled with the usual drug smoke/open drug market and, sadly, walking up to 6th & Pike no longer provided a buffer from that mess. Open dealing and smoking going on there. So I’d say it’s worse since this “start”, not better or even the same. Sick of inhaling everyone’s drugs, including marijuana and vaping!

K.S.
K.S.
7 months ago

That’s great if there are actual consequences and they actually get the help they need. Last I checked, all the detox and treatment centers are full. There are no where near enough centers to make much of a difference. Maybe one massive behavioral health and treatment center where people can get help or be incarcerated until their brain clears enough to receive help. Otherwise it’s just putting a bandaid on the carotid artery and telling everyone “it’s all better”. This problem will never get solved one person at a time. And it’s more wasted money, lives and effort. Addicts can’t make good decisions until their brain and body are clean from substances…. scientific fact. So build a massive complex/detention center that helps people choose a better way. Grace without accountability is enabling! And we now are seeing the full effects of enabling on every street! Why get clean and sober, when the city will GIVE you everything you need to camp in parks, shoot up dope, free tents, clothes, food and whatever else you need to keep using??? Think about it! Addicts will never get clean if they don’t have to. Rock bottom to most would be losing everything….but everyone knows, Seattle is the place to go for free stuff. I get tired of seeing millions wasted on the wrong thing. Kcrha says, give them a place, an apartment….then we will do “wrap around services”. Put an addict in an apartment….it will become a “crack house”. No accountability. Don’t the rest of us get held accountable for our choices??? I bet those 13 people will be back on the streets today.

zach
zach
6 months ago

It’s about damn time! This approach (arrest and diversion for most, prosecution and jail for those with outstanding felony warrants) should have been done several years ago, but better late than never.