Seattle police want repeat offenders prosecuted

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:


SEATTLE - Seattle Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel said his department wants to take 28 repeat offenders off the street. But Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said he is not ready to file the arrest warrant.

The police sent a binder of names to Holmes they want "failure to appear" arrest warrants issued for. Pugel said everyone in the binder ignored tickets for things like urinating in public, having open containers of alcohol and lying in the street.

However, Holmes said police could not show the people they want arrested were first offered services that could help their underlying problems, like homelessness and mental illness. Holmes said simply arresting people with problems and eventually releasing them from jail will not solve anything.

"It's ineffective, expensive and why would we keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome?" Holmes said.

Police Department spokesman Sean Whitcomb called the back-and-forth between Pugel and Holmes normal dialogue that people within the criminal justice system have regularly.

"We need to be working together, and these are the conversations that we have routinely," Whitcomb said.
Holmes said police could arrest five people right now without his help because they have criminal warrants pending. He also said one person is already in state prison. 

Holmes said if the SPD comes back to him and shows that everyone else they want to arrest refused to take advantage of community services, he will gladly sign arrest warrants for them all.