The people who work directly with our neighborhood in preventing crime could soon be out of a job. The six civilian crime prevention coordinators for the Seattle Police Department, including North Precinct coordinators Diane Horswill and Neil Hansen, have been told they’ll lose their jobs next spring when grant money runs out.
Diane Horswill and Neil Hansen.
The crime prevention coordinators work directly with residents doing everything from setting up block watches to going door to door to warn about recent crimes. They’ve been part of the police budget up until last October, when the positions then became paid for with federal grant money. That ends on March 31 of next year.
“We are the link between the community and the police department,” said west precinct crime prevention coordinator and View Ridge resident Terrie Johnston (pictured right). “Patrol officers are often promoted or transfer out. We’re the ones in people’s living rooms and churches.”
Johnston, who is a block watch captain in View Ridge outside of work, and her fellow coordinators have logged hundreds of community meetings over the past year. She worries that officers and precinct bosses won’t be able to give residents one on one attention if the crime prevention coordinators are let go.
“When we’re gone, who will take the time?”
Councilmember Tim Burgess, who chairs the Public Safety and Education committee, tells us his office is closely tracking the issue as it heads toward the mayor and council. If you’d like to voice your opinions, here’s a link to the mayor and City Council.