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City Council Priority: Community Safety

Focusing on an Increase Positive Public Perception of Safety and Overall Quality of Life

What makes us feel safe? Many things contribute to our perception of safety such as clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, walkability (including crosswalks and traffic design) and conditions in our neighborhoods, the lighting on streets, property crime, social connections with our neighbors, quality opportunities for children, and much more. Unsafe community conditions can also dampen economic development and discourage business retention, attraction, and expansion.

 

Tacoma's First Focus Area is Policing with our Commitment to Improve Existing Systems 

Resolution 40622 which was passed on June 30, 2020 by the Tacoma City Council, affirms the City of Tacoma’s commitment to improving existing systems for all community members, with the first stated priority being local policing. 

 

See What We Are Doing in the Following Areas:

 

Does the City of Tacoma have an Office of Community Safety?

 

Does the City of Tacoma have an Office of Community Safety? 

The short answer is no.

 

In alignment with Resolution No. 40622, start-up funding for an Office of Community Safety was included as a placeholder in the City’s 2021-2022 Budget. This funding was intended to allow the City to be responsive to a broader definition of community safety and support the implementation of community-identified transformational initiatives. The City has actively taken on transformation, including many of the recommendations within the 21st Century Policing Report, without establishing a new office.

 

While we don’t have one specific office, we are not waiting to actively move the transformation of policing and community safety forward. More information on the City’s efforts can be found at www.cityoftacoma.org/transform.

 

Heal the Heart is leading the design of community-driven work related to transformation. City efforts to implement recommended alternative responses to issues that have often involved police response remain underway. The Office of Community Safety remains a viable option to be activated as needed in response to the community and the City’s ongoing work to understand the best fit for alternative response and transformational efforts within the City of Tacoma.

 

Alternative Response

The City of Tacoma remains committed to implementing alternative response changes and enhancements aligned with the Matrix Study to the extent they are feasible and subject to collective bargaining. Our alternative response efforts are focused on three areas: Homelessness Outreach, Behavioral Health Crisis Response, and non-commissioned Community Service Officers. 

  • Homelessness Outreach
    In alignment with the Matrix Study, the 2023-2024 biennial budget supports expanded Homeless Engagement Alternatives Liaison (HEAL) staffing, allowing teams to conduct more outreach without police. Learn more about the City’s efforts to address homelessness.

  • Behavioral Health Crisis Response
    The 2023-2024 Budget also includes funding for a new Behavioral Health Response Unit to respond to individuals in crisis. Based in the Tacoma Fire Department, next steps will include hiring a program manager in the first quarter of 2023 and implementing on an accelerated timeline in summer 2023.

  • Non-commissioned Community Service Officers
    The City is committed to honoring its agreement with Local 6 and working collaboratively to find a mutually agreeable arrangement for the implementation of new civilian, unarmed Community Service Officers within the Police Department to respond to a wide range of non-violent, non-emergency, and low-risk calls. 

You can find more information on our efforts to date below:

Priority: Increase positive public perception of safety and overall quality of lifeWhat makes us feel safe? Many things contribute to our perception of safety such as clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, the walkability (including crosswalks and traffic design) and conditions in our neighborhoods, the lighting on streets, property crime, social connections with our neighbors, quality opportunities for children, and much more. Unsafe community conditions can also dampen economic development and discourage business retention, attraction, and expansion

 
Transforming the Tacoma Police Department

We have created a web map to visualize the laws, ordinances, regulations, policies, initiatives and projects that Tacoma Police Department are using to drive transformation.

 

Click on the Transforming the Tacoma Police Department image below to learn more.

      Transforming Tacoma Police

 

 

 

Police Reform

 

8 Can't Wait Campaign

 

Body-Worn Cameras

 

Dash Cameras 

 

City of Tacoma Takes A Pledge Addressing Police Use of Force Policies

On July 21, 2020, Mayor Victoria Woodards joined other mayors across the nation in signing on to the four-part pledge developed by the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, an Initiative of the Obama Foundation, to engage our community in reviewing Tacoma’s use of force policies.

The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance calls on mayors to commit to the following actions:

  1. Review your police use of force policies.
  2. Engage your communities by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories in your review.
  3. Report the findings of your review to your community and seek feedback.
  4. Reform your community’s police use of force policies.

 

Initial Review of Use of Force and Body Worn Camera Policies

Over the summer, the Tacoma Police Department worked with the Community’s Police Advisory Committee (CPAC) to do an initial review of the City’s use of force policies. Based on community feedback, initial review and reform efforts were primarily focused on those policies identified in the national “8 Can’t Wait Campaign.” 

The City of Tacoma was compliant in a number of areas, but as a result of this work has made changes to now be in alignment with all of the 8 Can’t Wait goals

 

Current State Assessment and Additional Policy Review

While the primary objectives of the Obama Pledge have now been achieved, the Community’s Police Advisory has expressed a continuing commitment to a comprehensive review of all relevant policies. This work will follow a report from 21st Century Policing that includes a current state assessment of relevant policing policies as well as initial discussions with identified community stakeholders and employees from every level of the police department

 

 

To learn more about this initiative, visit obama.org/mayor-pledge.