The Seattle City Council unanimously voted Monday to move the 911 dispatch call center from the Seattle Police Department’s jurisdiction.
In the move, 911 dispatching would no longer be funded by the police department.
Instead, 911 dispatching will be moved to a newly established civilian-led Community Safety and Communications Center.
Despite the vote, a spokesperson for SPD told KOMO News the call center will remain at the West Precinct until this new center is built, said Sgt. Randy Huserik.
Until that time, Huserik said it will remain on SPD’s budget.
He said there is no timetable on when that move may physically happen.
Councilmember Kshama Sawant, after voting in favor of the move, remained critical, stressing the move was symbolic in nature.
“These accounting changes alter nothing about the number of police officers in Seattle and the amount of policing in Seattle," Sawant said. "The only change is in the name of the department signing the paychecks."
Councilmember Andrew Lewis countered saying the vote was a significant “first step” in reorganizing the police department.
“It does represent a very structural shift in our ability to recalibrate and re-hook up our dispatch apparatus to things that are not police response systems,” Lewis said.
According to Council staff, the passed bill would transfer 140 SPD 911 call center positions to the CSCC.
The bill initially proposed to move parking enforcement from SPD’s control. That was halted on Monday after the Council passed an amendment that delayed that potential move until after the Council confers with competing labor unions.
“And it doesn’t mean that we won’t ultimately put the parking enforcement officers into this new unit, but it just means we’ll do it in a way that’s intentional and that does not create division in those work force between the supervision and rank and file,” Lewis said.
A handful of parking enforcement officers Monday supported the move to leave SPD.
“This is a pragmatic step forward on the road to reimagine policing – a unique opportunity I hope the full council still recognizes,” said one officer during a public comment opportunity.
Councilmember Lisa Herbold said they’ll revisit the vote to potentially move parking enforcement officers out of SPD before September.