Seattle, King County – after a significant surge in the street crimes in the state’s downtown, the King County council has initiated a program to escort the employees to trains, ferries, and busses as part of their Walking Bus pilot program.
On Wednesday, the new initiative called the Walking Bus pilot program was declared for the King County employees minus the Private sector. With the initiative, the county council seemed to go against the voters’ wishes of disapproval of the “defund police” movement and ruled an $11 million cut from the force’s budget.
The Walking Bus pilot program will commence from November 15, as per the county’s website reports. From this day, the King County employee will “join their colleagues and a Facilities Management Division (FMD) Security Escort each evening walking to the King Street Station and the Coleman Dock from the downtown campus.”
The 4th avenue will be the meeting spot since the 3rd avenue was recently closed due to growing attacks from the individuals belonging to the homeless encampment. According to the cases that came to light, the homeless were “harassing” the visitors and workers.
In a draft released on Wed for the 2022 budget, the King County council proposed cutting back funding by $11 million for the Seattle Police Department, including cuts for technology programs, community service officers, and hiring incentives – reported the Fox 13.
The new proposal got severe backlash since the state’s voters rejected candidates supporting the defund police movement in summer 2020 during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
The city mayor, Jenny Durkan, also slammed the county council while arguing that its treatment for Seattle forces has led to a withdrawal of 325 police officers from Seattle’s police departments in the last two years.
She also argued that previously Seattle had rejected several programs that she and Seattle Police interim Chief Adrian Z. Diaz proposed to address the retention shortfalls and police hiring issues.
“Just yesterday, another Councilmember proposed blocking my emergency hiring proposal that has already generated a tenfold increase in applications to 911 dispatch positions in Seattle,” said Durkan. . “Continued cuts to SPD and underfunding the 911 center are not a plan for true public safety,” she added. She said, “Seattle voters have made clear they expect Council to fund public safety and invest in the community. When someone calls 911 with a dangerous, potentially life-threatening emergency — we need enough police officers to respond.”