Mayor Bruce Harrell talks about challenges facing Seattle amid busy first term

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell visited the KIRO 7 studios on Tuesday and talked about some of the challenges facing the city, including homelessness and crime.

KIRO 7′s Monique Ming Laven asked the mayor about people’s concerns on homelessness and public safety. He responded that under his administration the city is becoming a city of action. He said while action is being taken, he leads with compassion when dealing with those who are experiencing homelessness.

He said the numbers are staggering and because they have a dashboard open, it shows exactly where people are living and the conditions they’re living in certain communities.

“As we continue to preserve our parks and preserve our sidewalks and make sure Seattle is safe, that we do it in a manner with which we understand people need treatment and they need help. On the other hand, we also want to enforce the laws, and so we have a very aggressive and balanced approach. And quite candidly, I’ve been in the city my entire life. I’ve seen us in safer times and want this city to be the city where I can take one of my two granddaughters anywhere and be safe,” the mayor said in part about clearing encampments.

When asked about safety when walking the streets of Seattle, Harrell said, in part, “I won’t be satisfied until everyone feels safe.”

He went on to say, “I have to be honest and transparent in my approach. This city is not where I want it to be in terms of safety. Every time I read an article or you report on something that happened that put someone’s life in jeopardy, I take it personally, because my administration, that is our charter purpose. And I am hoping that all elected leaders, whether it is the city council or the county council and all elected leaders, realize that is our charter responsibility. And that’s why our police strategy, I talk about building up the right kind of departments. So no, we are not where we need to be and you do not want a complacent leader in charge, and I’m anything but that.”

As the mayor looks to appoint a new police chief, he said he wants the new chief to first tackle having the right people in place as leaders. He also wants informal leaders to help recruit the right kind of officers to work on the force, those who are masters of de-escalation and much more.