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SPD YouTube Channel for Bodyworn Video

The Seattle Police Department is launching a new YouTube channel to showcase the work of high-tech community partners, who have joined the department to help increase transparency and accountability while balancing the privacy rights of citizens.

The new YouTube page, SPD BodyWornVideo, comes after the department’s first-ever Hackathon, held in December. At that event, several local civic hackers presented early versions of new tools to help SPD automatically redact police videos, while still meeting Washington State’s privacy laws. The aim is to speed the release of videos, which now go through a time-consuming manual redaction to protect privacy.

SPD is testing some of these tools to redact video from the department’s new body-worn camera pilot project. The resulting video is debuting on the SPD BodyWornVideo page.

Tim Clemans, part of SPD’s volunteer force of hackers, developed the first tool being tested. It blurs video to protect privacy and was used to redact images and eliminate sound from bodycam video taken during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day demonstrations.

Using Clemans’ process, it only took half a day to redact more than four hours of footage for posting online. The old method would have required days of work. A simple manual redaction in a one minute video, for example, can take specialists upwards of half-an-hour, whereas more complicated edits—like blurring multiple faces or pieces of audio—can take much, much longer.

The department will continue with this innovative program of working with local tech volunteers to improve these tools and will make them available free of charge to other law enforcement agencies as they are refined.

Creation of the new YouTube channel comes the same week the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a resolution providing a framework for dealing with technologies that impact privacy. SPD is a co-sponsor of the Citywide Privacy Initiative, along with the Department of Information Technology.

Mike Wagers, the department’s Chief Operating Officer, said the new YouTube channel, and ongoing development of video redaction tools, accomplishes several goals.

“Mayor Murray and Chief O’Toole have made enhancing public trust a cornerstone of police reforms in Seattle. This is certainly one important component. It also underscores our commitment to privacy,” Wagers said. “And, it demonstrates that we are committed to working with local tech talent to transform the Seattle Police Department into a national leader when it comes to its use of technology.”

This demonstration project also is happening at the same time that Wagers is in Washington DC, working with the U.S. Department of Justice and other experts from around the country to build a roadmap for police agencies looking to equip their officers with body-worn cameras.

Recognizing the innovative work of the Seattle Police Department, the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), part of the DOJ, asked Wagers to serve on an expert panel that will provide advice on the development of a web-based clearinghouse of information and resources. The BJA will create a toolkit to provide guidance and a model policy for other law enforcement agencies across the country as they implement body-worn camera programs.

Robbery Suspect Arrested in Belltown

On February 1st, at approximately 10:40 pm, a lone suspect entered a grocery store in the 2200 Block of 3rd Avenue and confronted the clerk. The suspect lunged over the counter in an attempt to remove money from the open cash drawer. The suspect stated, “This is a robbery.” as he struggled with the clerk. The clerk was able to prevent the suspect from removing any money from the till. The suspect placed his hand underneath his jacket, stating that he had a gun. The clerk did not believe him and again struggled with the suspect. At one point, the clerk grabbed a broom, striking the suspect. The clerk yelled for another employee in the back to call 911 and the suspect fled. The clerk did injure his hand during the struggle and was treated at the scene by Seattle Fire. The entire incident was captured on security cameras, and a bulletin was distributed to officers with the suspect’s image.

Information developed by Robbery detectives led to the identity of a possible suspect. The victim was able to positively identify the suspect in a photo lineup.

On March 21st, at approximately 6:45 pm, the suspect was located in the 2200 Block of 1st Avenue and taken into custody. He was transported to the Robbery office for processing. The 48 year old suspect was later booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Attempt Robbery. Robbery detectives will continue to handle the follow up investigation.

Buy Bust Operation in Belltown

West Precinct Anti-Crime Team (ACT) officers, along with bicycle officers, conducted a buy-bust narcotics operation last night in Belltown. There were a total of six people arrested for Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (VUCSA)/Delivery. Five were adult males, and one adult female. Of the six arrested, two of the males were referred to the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.

2 Arrests in Westlake Park

On October 21st, at approximately 6:50 pm, a Park Ranger at Westlake Park observed a male writing graffiti with chalk on one of the walls in the park. He was contacted and warned numerous times to stop writing on the park monument walls. The suspect was arrested when he refused to stop writing on the park walls. The 39 year old suspect was booked into the King County Jail for Graffiti-Property Damage.

This morning, at approximately 7:50 am, a West Precinct patrol sergeant was at Westlake Park monitoring the event. A man walked up and stood in front of her patrol car. He refused to leave. The sergeant gave the man every opportunity to leave, stating that she needed to leave to handle other duties. Even after all the warnings, the man refused to leave. He was arrested for Obstructing, and later booked into the King County Jail.

10 Arrested in Westlake Park

Occupy Seattle Rally in Westlake Park

Occupy Seattle Rally in Westlake Park

On October 13th at approximately 10:15 pm, officers announced to the occupants of Westlake Park that the park was closed.

Shortly afterward, officers began contacting individuals who were inside a makeshift structure and warned them that if they did not leave they would be subject to possible arrest. The individuals, eight men and two women, refused the orders from officers and were placed under arrest for Obstructing a Public Officer.

The arrested individuals were later booked into the King County Jail.

Police Officer Struck While Directing Traffic

On September 9th, at approximately 6:40 pm, a Seattle Police Traffic officer was directing traffic for the Mariners game at the intersection of Occidental Avenue South and Edgar Martinez Drive South. While the officer stopped traffic for pedestrians crossing the roadway on Edgar Martinez Dr. S,, he was struck by a Honda Accord.

The driver of the Accord was travelling westbound on Edgar Martinez Dr. S., and stated that he did not see the officer due to the sun obscuring his vision.

The officer was facing westbound and was struck on the back of his legs, which caused him to fall onto the road. He was transported to Harborview Medical Center for evaluation and treatment of his injured legs.

The driver of the Accord was evaluated at the scene for any signs of impairment, but none were detected. Traffic Collision Investigation Squad (TCIS) detectives responded to the scene and conducted their investigation. The officer was checked out at the hospital and was released later that night. He will make a full recovery.

Avoid Fees and Interest on Tickets

Seattle Municipal Courts Collection Reduction Program ends this Friday, July 15. The waiver of collections fees and interest has enabled individuals to pay their outstanding balances. For many the result is removal from the scofflaw list or clearing a hold on their driver’s license.

Interest and collections fees on parking tickets and infractions will be waived if tickets are paid in full. This does not apply to those entering into a time payment plan. The Court accepts cash, checks, credit and debit cards, and money orders for payment of tickets. The program is designed to offer people with unpaid infractions in collections a significant savings if they pay off their tickets. The Court also encourages people to pay their unpaid parking tickets to avoid having their car booted. Vehicles with four or more unpaid parking tickets in collections are eligible to be booted. The collections reduction opportunity will not apply to booted vehicles.

To see if you have unpaid parking tickets and to pay them, go to http://www.seattle.gov/scofflaw/ (English) or call (206) 684-5600 (interpretation may be available). Payment can also be made in person at The Seattle Municipal Court at 600 Fifth Avenue in downtown Seattle.

The court will be open Wednesday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. -7:00 p.m.

19 Parking Scofflaws Booted on Day 2

On July 6th parking enforcement officers on patrol booted 19 vehicles while enforcing the new parking scofflaw ordinance, which was in its second day. Parking enforcement officers booted nine vehicles on July 5th, the opening day of the new program. The City of Seattle plans a “soft launch” of the program, booting a limited number of vehicles in the first week of enforcement.

The Parking Enforcement Section will continue its patrols looking for more parking scofflaws (vehicles with four or more overdue, unpaid parking tickets found in public right-of-way areas).

9 Parking Scofflaws Booted Yesterday

The Parking Enforcement Section booted nine vehicles on July 5th, 2011, the opening day of the new parking scofflaw program. The City of Seattle plans a ”soft launch” of the program, booting a limited number of vehicles in the first week of enforcement. The first boot was applied at 2:13 p.m. and the last boot was applied at 3:49 p.m.

At the lowest end of the range of vehicles booted, $467 is owed on 4 outstanding tickets. At the highest end of the range of vehicles booted, $3,308.00 is owed on 34 outstanding tickets.

As of 4:00 p.m. yesterday, one booted motorist had paid the amount owed and self-released the boot. The details of that incident are below:

• That vehicle was booted at 3:34 p.m.

• The motorist called the boot vendor at 3:44 p.m.

• The amount owed, $475 (including the $145 boot fee) was paid at 3:50 p.m.

• The vehicle was released from the boot at 3:51 p.m.

The Parking Enforcement Section will be out again today looking for more parking scofflaws (vehicles with four or more overdue, unpaid parking tickets found in public right-of-way areas).

Parking Boot Starts Tomorrow

Beginning July 5, 2011, scofflaw vehicles – those with four or more overdue, unpaid parking tickets – found in public right-of-way may get the boot, a wheel-locking device, whether they are parked illegally or legally.

Seattle plans a slow start to the program, booting only a limited number of vehicles in the first week. Once the program is in full swing, the city anticipates it can boot approximately 40 to 50 vehicles a day.

To avoid the boot and save money, motorists are urged to take advantage of the Seattle Municipal Court’s “collection reduction event,” which waives all collections fees and interest on parking and traffic infractions if tickets are paid in full before a car gets the boot.

The event, originally scheduled for May and June, has been extended through July 15, 2011. People are taking advantage of this opportunity – 2,100 people have left the parking scofflaw list since the first notices went out in May. Officials attribute this primarily to a combination of payments and vehicles that were sold.

“It is important to remind everyone that they should respond to their parking tickets within 15 days. They can do so by paying the tickets, requesting a hearing, asking to be set up on a time payment plan, or checking with the court to see if they are eligible for community service,” Seattle Municipal Court Presiding Judge Fred Bonner said. “If someone has not responded in the past and has delinquent parking tickets with our collection agency, now is the time to pay them off at a lower rate and avoid having their car booted.”

Once a vehicle has been booted, all unpaid scofflaw-eligible parking tickets, collection fees and interest owed on tickets associated with that vehicle, as well as the $145 boot fee, must be paid to get the vehicle released. After the payment has been made, or time payment entered into, the vehicle will be removed from the scofflaw list. The boot fee paid to the city’s boot vendor, PayLock, covers the vendor’s charge for use of its boot devices and customer services.

If all unpaid parking tickets and associated fees are not paid within 48 hours, excluding weekends, then the booted vehicle may be towed and impounded.

After impounding, if the scofflaw-eligible parking tickets and associated fees (including tow and boot fees) are not paid in full or a time payment plan is not established with AllianceOne, the Municipal Court’s collection agency, within 15 days, then the vehicle may be auctioned. Time payment plans do not cover tow and impound fees; those must be paid in full to release the vehicle.

Seattle officials, who have been doing outreach about the program since April, have worked with homeless advocates to develop a protocol to mitigate the impact of the parking scofflaw program on families with children and vulnerable individuals living in vehicles. (A vulnerable individual is a person who is at great risk of harm due to a disability or medical condition.) The number of individuals in this situation is expected to be low – based on an informal survey, city officials estimate roughly 90 percent of people living in their cars either have no parking tickets or are below the parking scofflaw threshold of four delinquent parking tickets.

The Seattle Human Services Department already has a policy to provide outreach services when the department is notified of families with children or vulnerable individuals who are homeless.

Given the new law and the risk of having vehicles towed, Seattle will implement a concentrated 12-month program to reach families and vulnerable individuals who may lose their vehicles to ensure they are aware of the options available to them and the actions necessary for them to be removed from the parking scofflaw list.

The parking scofflaw booting program is expected to increase parking availability, increase parking payment compliance, and reduce the amount of money owed to the city for delinquent parking fines.

Net program revenues are projected at $1.1 million in 2011 and $1.8 million in 2012. The revenues generated from scofflaw enforcement are expected to start out strong and then drop off as the scofflaws backlog declines. The city is owed $25.8 million for the scofflaw citations; another $3.7 million is due to the city’s collection agency. Only a small portion of the outstanding amounts owed will be collectible through the boot program due to some cars being sold, some cars no longer being on the road, etc.

SPD parking enforcement officers (PEOs) will patrol city streets with two license plate recognition technology equipped vehicles. When a scofflaw vehicle is identified, PEOs will apply a notice to the vehicle (which includes boot-removal information), and lock the vehicle’s wheel with a boot.

Motorists have three payment options if their vehicles have been booted:

Pay via telephone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Pay in person with cash, money order or cashier’s check:
On the first floor of the Seattle Municipal Court, 600 Fifth Ave., Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
King County Jail, 500 Fifth Ave., Monday through Friday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At any of the collection agency’s other locations and hours of operation. (AllianceOne has offices in Gig Harbor and the municipal or district courts of Tukwila, Marysville, Kitsap County, and Clark County.)
Enter into a time payment agreement with AllianceOne. The collection agency may set up a time-payment plan with a minimum down payment of $200 or 10 percent of the amount owed, whichever is greater.

Motorists are responsible for returning the boots, which should be placed in the vehicle’s trunk for safety purposes, to one of five boot drop-off areas:

ABC Towing, 710 South Dakota St.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lincoln Towing, 3919 Pasadena Place N.E.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lincoln Towing, 12220 Aurora Ave. N.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Southeast Neighborhood Service Center, 3815 S. Othello St., Suite 105
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
University Neighborhood Service Center, 4534 University Way N.E.
Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If motorists do not return the boot within two calendar days of release, a fine of $25 per day can be levied. If motorists damage or fail to return a boot, a replacement fee of up to $500 can be levied. Motorists who anticipate a delay in returning the boot are urged to contact PayLock via the phone number provided on the boot notice as soon as possible.

As of June 29, 2011, more than 20,000 vehicles are listed as eligible for booting. Registered owners of these vehicles are notified by mail of their status. While some of the license plates on the list are inactive, vehicles with four or more overdue, unpaid tickets that have since been sold to a new owner will not be on the list, provided the new owner has noted the sale with the Washington State Department of Licensing, as required by state law. The number of vehicles on the city’s scofflaw list is always changing as parking tickets are regularly issued or paid in full. Notices are automatically mailed to vehicle owners as their vehicles appear on the scofflaw list.

There are an estimated 500,000 parking spaces in public right-of-way and about one-fifth of these spaces are regulated (i.e., paid, time, loading, permit, or other restrictions). In 2010, the city’s General Fund realized approximately $27.8 million in paid parking meter revenue and $21.4 million in parking fines. SPD issued 600,543 parking tickets in 2010.

In adopting the 2011 budget, the City Council passed Ordinance 123447, which created the parking scofflaw program. Accompanying the legislation was a Statement of Legislative Intent (125-2-A-3), which called for a business plan to be developed by an interdepartmental team, composed of staff from the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, Seattle Municipal Court, Seattle Police Department, Seattle Department of Transportation, the City Budget Office, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, and the City Council. The business plan was presented to the City Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee on June 1, 2011. The business plan, a follow-up document and frequently asked questions are available online at: http://www.seattle.gov/scofflaw/.

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