Building Trust Between Communities and Local Police

obama communty policing
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with elected officials, community and faith leaders, and law enforcement officials to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust to strengthen neighborhoods across the country. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and around the country have grabbed the attention of the nation and the world, and have highlighted the importance of strong, collaborative relationships between local police and the communities that they protect.

Today, the Administration announced new steps we’re taking to strengthen the relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are obligated to protect and serve, including:

Advancing the use of body worn cameras and promoting proven community policing initiatives
Creating a new task force to promote expansion of the community-oriented policing model, which encourages strong relationships between law enforcement and the communities that they serve as a proven method of fighting crime
Reforming how the federal government equips state and local law enforcement – particularly with military-style equipment

Get more details about these new actions below.
Increasing the use of body worn cameras, and improving community policing

The President has proposed a three-year, $263 million investment package that will:

Increase police officers’ use of body worn cameras
Expand training for law enforcement agencies (LEAs)
Add more resources for police department reform
Multiply the number of cities where the Department of Justice facilitates community and local LEA engagement

Part of the proposal is a new Body Worn Camera Partnership Program, which would provide a 50 percent match to states and localities that purchase body worn cameras and requisite storage. In fact, the proposed $75 million, three-year investment could help purchase 50,000 body worn cameras.

As noted in a recent report released by Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), evidence shows that body worn cameras help strengthen accountability and transparency, and that officers and civilians both act in a more positive manner when they’re aware that a camera is present.

Building public trust while keeping crime rates down

The President is planning to create a Task Force on 21st Century Policing, chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, who also serves as President of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association; and Laurie Robinson, professor at George Mason University and former Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs.

The task force – which will include law enforcement representatives and community leaders, among others – has a threefold purpose:

Build on the extensive research that’s being conducted by DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)
Examine how to promote effective crime reduction while building public trust
Prepare a report and recommendations within 90 days of the task force’s creation

Reforming how the federal government equips local law enforcement

In August, the President ordered a review of federal funding and programs that help equip state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Over the course of the review, the White House explored whether existing federal programs:

Provide LEAs with equipment that is appropriate for what their communities need
Ensure that LEAs have adequate policies in place for use of the equipment, and that their personnel are trained and certified on how to use this equipment
Encourage LEAs to employ practices and standards that prevent misuse or abuse of this equipment

The final report, released today, finds inconsistencies in how these federal programs are structured, implemented, and audited. The report also identifies four areas of further focus that could help ensure that these programs help maximize the safety and security of both police officers and their communities:

Local community engagement
Federal coordination and oversight
Training requirements
The community-policing model

In light of this review, President Obama is planning to issue an Executive Order directing relevant agencies to work together and with law enforcement and civil rights and civil liberties organizations to develop specific recommendations within four months.

Read more The White House


Oppose the Sequestration of Federal Funding for Affordable Housing



We the undersigned strongly oppose the sequestration of federal funding for housing and community development programs as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. We urge Congress to halt the non-defense discretionary cuts and to protect key programs that prevent and end homelessness and truly serve the most vulnerable in our communities. We ask that Congress adopt a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes additional revenue and upholds the federal commitments to affordable housing, community development, and ending homelessness.

On any given night, more than 22,000 people are homeless in Washington State. More than 132,000 extremely low-income families in Washington State are spending more than half their income for rent and have trouble affording basic necessities like food and medicine. During the 2010-2011 school year, one in every forty students in Washington State experienced homelessness.

If the mandated cuts are not halted, we expect to see an unprecedented growth in homelessness throughout our state. Preliminary estimates show that funding levels for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance may need to be reduced by an amount equal to 4,040 section 8 housing vouchers in Washington. There is a strong likelihood that for many individuals and families who currently receive assistance, the loss of a housing voucher could result in homelessness. Those cuts will be compounded by just as devastating cuts to other programs that serve these populations including an estimated $5.1M from public housing operating funds, $3.9M from CDBG Formula Grants, $3.6M from Homeless Assistance Grants, and $2.9M from Native American Housing Grants.

Preventing these cuts isn’t just a moral imperative; it is economically wise as well. Generally cuts to housing and community development programs lead to increased costs for federal, state, and local governments as people who had been treated through cost-effective interventions are forced instead to use expensive options such as emergency rooms, jails, and other services.

The sequestration of federally-funded housing and community development programs is directly in opposition to the vision of a Washington and an America where every resident has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home. Members of Congress, we ask that you protect our most vulnerable, invest in our communities, and halt the sequestration cuts.





President Obama Honors Veterans at Arlington National Cemetery

President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden travel to Arlington National Cemetery to honor our nation’s fallen warriors, veterans and military families.



Over Six Million Young Adults Insured Thanks to Obama’s Health Care

Even though much of the Affordable Care Act does not go into effect until 2014, conservatives insist the bill is making things worse for Americans. But a new study shows that one implemented provision of the ACA is already providing millions of young Americans with health insurance.

Source: http://www.truth-out.org

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Seattle Sees Job Growth, But Not in Real Estate Sectors

It’s been a while since we had a look at local job growth data, and now is as good a time as any to take a look at the latest data.

First up, year-over-year job growth, broken down into a few relevant sectors: