Mayor Franklin's answers to questions from the community
We received lots of great questions from the community. I was not able to get to them all during the June 11 Facebook Q&A, so I have answered them below. Many questions submitted were similar to each other, so some may be grouped together or paraphrased with others. If you have a question you’d like me to address in the next Q&A with me, submit it at everettwa.gov/askcassie.
What are you doing to ensure that we have a safe place for all races in our city?
The Chief and I are actively reaching out to communities of color to listen, hear their experience and ask for their recommendations. Last year we formed a Chief Advisory Council that includes representatives from our communities of color. We recently participated in a listening session with leaders and members of our communities of color. A key takeaway from that conversation is that more of these conversations are needed. I am going to make that happen. It is very important for us to have trust in our community, and we are working and will continue to work to build that trust.
As for initiatives that the NAACP is advocating for county and city law enforcement to adopt, we’re working on some of these already, and some we need to do more work on including:
- Create a community oversight and an accountability task force that reviews complaints of excessive force or misconduct by law enforcement
- Install dash and body cams and require their use
- Release and investigate community complaints about law enforcement
- Provide training that addresses how to recognize and manage systemic discrimination, biases, and to deescalate situations
There are real problems and challenges in the system. There have been too many unjust and criminal actions taking place by some of those in law enforcement. These acts violate public trust and are inexcusable. Again, this is a very difficult time in our nation’s history and an important time for change. We have much work ahead to continue to examine our policies and practices to address inequities and racism in our city.
What are the City’s / EPD’s policies on use of force? How do they align with the 8CantWait principles?
Most of our policies already align with the principles in the 8Can’tWait campaign. We have been working hard to implement very progressive policies to ensure a professional trained team of officers is here to protect and serve all in our city.
Mayor Franklin and Chief of Police Dan Templeman have zero tolerance for: unnecessary force, abuse of power or racially-motivated aggression by any city employee and more specifically, by our Everett Police officers.
It is the policy of the Everett Police Department that officers shall use only the amount and duration of force that is necessary to perform an urgent lawful duty.
The use of any kind of neck hold is prohibited except in extreme situations of self-defense or defense of others.
We track and investigate hate and bias incidents, including non-criminal incidents. Everett Police is one of the only departments in the state to do so.
- We contribute to the National Use of Force Data Collection, which holds our officers accountable at a national level.
- We have a long-standing practice of reviewing all applications of force and investigating all complaints regarding force applications by officers
Our city teams are finalizing a robust FAQ that more thoroughly addresses these and many other policy issues, which will be posted to the City of Everett website soon.
I know that the pandemic has created a financial crisis for Everett. What budget cuts and cuts to city services do you anticipate in the next year? What other cuts are being looked at to help us bridge our budget gap?
We are estimating a $14 million impact (and believe this number is growing) to revenue in 2020 due to COVID. That meant no choice but to make tough decisions regarding some services and programs. In April, City Council approved an emergency budget resolution which included $3.4 million in reductions and focused on cuts to programs and services that we were not able to offer anyway due to the pandemic, which unfortunately included some of our most beloved programs and services.
We’re now beginning our planning for FY 2021 which will proceed with our usual open and transparent public process. We still don’t know the extent of financial impact COVID-19 will continue to have on Everett. There are significant concerns that our revenues will not be enough to be able to provide the same levels of services and programs and events. We must prioritize our limited funds on programs and services that we are legally obligated to provide. I encourage you to share your thoughts and I welcome your suggestions on how we can broaden our reach and encourage greater participation in this process.
Is Everett operating under the Mayor’s proclamation or the governor’s four-phase restriction on activity?
The stay home directive I issued in March was superseded by the governor’s Stay Home, Stay healthy order and Safe Start Plan. We continue to operate under the governor’s orders and work closely with state and local health officials.
What is our police department’s policy on the use of chokeholds? What will it take to get them banned?
The use of any kind of neck hold is prohibited except in extreme situations of self-defense or defense of others. You can learn more about EPD’s use of force policies in their FAQ.
How many hours of de-escalation training is required to be on our police force? And implicit bias training?
We place a high value on training. Everett police officers are among the most highly trained in the state.
Every officer has received 40-hours of Crisis Intervention/De-escalation training. This is above and beyond the state requirement of 8-hours
Our officers receive regular training on biased-based policing, implicit bias, use of force, procedural justice, and the duty to render first aid
They also participate in scenario-based training that includes regular qualifications on our firearm simulator, where we test our officers’ decision-making ability through a series of force/no-force scenarios
When will all officers have body cams?
We’re currently piloting body-worn cameras and budgeting for more. There is a large cost associated with them and we are experiencing a fiscal crisis, so the timeline is uncertain at this time.
How can we get specific information on what de-escalation and implicit bias training is required for police?
Our city teams created an FAQ that provides additional details about this and many other policy issues.
Do you support defunding the police to fund other services that could support the community?
Many of the initiatives to defund police across the country are focused on moving funds from police to social services. Our police program already has social services, including our very successful embedded social worker program and diversion programs.
I have major concerns about further reducing funding for police. When officers respond to a potentially dangerous or difficult situation, it is safer for both the officer and our community to have more officers, not fewer, on scene. We want to avoid officers having to respond alone which could put everyone in a more dangerous situation.
That said, we are looking into our budget structure and will consider whether the funding for those types of social services would fit better somewhere else. We’ve already made a number of cuts to our overall police program. Further reductions would force us to take officers off patrol, which we do not believe would make Everett any safer.
Why can’t the homeless be prevented from living on the North side of Wilmington Ave between 4741 Wilmington Ave and Evergreen Way like it is being done on Smith Ave? There is no parking between 10PM and 6AM signs in this area, but living on the sidewalk is OK.
Although residents of Everett are not allowed to camp on the sidewalks in the City of Everett, we do have a homeless crisis and COVID-19 only increased the challenges. When tents are reported to the City, our encampment team consisting of staff from our Police, Public Works, Parks, Legal and Community Development departments develop strategies for outreach, enforcement and removal, as required by the law. In particular to the area you are speaking about, our team has visited the site and have posted the necessary notices, and will help move the occupants as soon as they are allowed.
Does the City have programs for issues in our community for homeless, Maternal/Paternal Access Care, human services etcetera?
The City of Everett does not provide these types of services, but instead partner with Snohomish County Human Services who offer a variety of programs and services to our community. Learn more about the services they offer at snohomishcountywa.gov/191/Human-Services.
How is the youth committee going? Is there talk about how to support the BIPOC community in that group?
This year we kicked off our first youth advisory board. I was so excited and had a great group of young people from across all our schools. We only got to have a few meetings and do a little bit of work before the pandemic hit. It’s so sad that our first year was impacted like this, but I think it’s an important committee moving forward.
We worked hard to ensure this board was a geographically, ethnically and racially diverse group of kids, but it was hard to recruit young people of color to the committee. We didn’t have the representation that I would like to see. We will continue to work hard to ensure that communities of color have voices in every single one of our boards of commissions, as well as having young voices on every single one of our boards of commissions.
I think 2020 has been the hardest year ever. It’s hard for me to feel hopeful about anything. How are you doing and what, if anything, what are you hopeful about?
This is a tough question because I have come to work many times in the last three months not feeling hopeful. I think in these times of darkness, it is really hard to find those little kernels of hope. I find hope in young people. Young people’s resilience, passion, dedication and fearlessness in speaking out when they see injustice gives me hope.
Many of you may know I named my daughter Panda. Her name is actually Pandora, which has a dark story because the myth is that she opened the box and unleashed the evils on mankind. What I loved about the story of Pandora is she kept hope. Hope was the last thing in that box, and she kept it and restored hope for mankind. I really do believe that young people are going to bring us that hope into the future.
As a white person, how do you educate yourself on issues facing people of color in our community? How do you lead your staff to ensure Everett is a more equitable community for people of color?
This is a great question and I ask myself this quite a bit. I try to read as much as possible and I do my very best to listen. I am a privileged, middle-aged, white-presenting woman and I don’t know the experience of our communities of color like our communities of color do. I think one of the best things I can do is to really listen and follow the voices of our communities of color. I need to listen to those voices and actively reach out. As I heard when I met with members of our communities of color recently, loud and clear, is that I need to actively reach out all the time, not just in times of crisis and not just when there is a national event that draws our attention back to this, but always. I will work harder to do that. And I will work hard to continue to create seats at the table. We have not made enough progress in getting equitable representation in leadership, in all City positions, certainly not in elected offices.
As this is your first term, what are your assessments of our city’s police department and police union? What do you think we do well? What do you think we need to improve?
As Mayor, I’ve worked very closely with our Everett Police Department and have been proud to see the commitment to having ongoing dialogs with our community, especially our BIPOC community to better understand their experience and learn what can be helpful moving forward. Based on those conversations, policies and practices are reviewed and occasionally even changed to better serve our community based on their feedback. Lead by our Police Chief, our officers are also taking part in above and beyond training in de-escalation, biased based policing, use of force best practices and have policies in place to ensure public safety and trust is maintained with all members of our community. I want to ensure everyone that the Police Chief and I have zero tolerance for unnecessary force, abuse of power or racially motivated aggression by any city staff and more specifically, our Everett Police officers. We must continue to improve, transparency, accountability, fairness and respect are core values of our police department, and values our officers take very seriously and with the highest respect.
How will the city of Everett stand with, and up, for all the BIPOC members of our community, especially against those who make statements and actions against BIPOC?
The City of Everett does and will continue to stand with it’s Black, Indigenous and people of color. We are currently in a listening phase because I understand we need do more and I am actively learning what that looks like. Since I have come into office, my team, including our Everett Police Chief, has been connecting with different members of the BIPOC community and our Diversity Board has been advising me, and helping me ensure we know how to best engage, build real relationships and develop trust with people who probably don’t have the best impression of government. Continued relationship building and listening will be imperative moving forward and I am committed to continue to improve on the work we have been doing. I encourage everyone to report any racist or aggressive language or acts directed towards BIPOC as our police department will make a report to ensure these types of actions are tracked and used in case of future incidents.
Can we have resources for our officers for emotional health support?
We care deeply about the emotional health of officers and provide a numerous support options, including a City employee assistance program (EAP), a Peer Support team of trained volunteer officers who help fellow employees (both sworn and civilian) deal with the cumulative effects of the situations they face, the Chaplain program, internal wellness protocols, and an in-depth resource list of confidential programs designed to provide support in a number of non-work related areas.
Our neighborhoods are experiencing a significant increase in car prowls, personal property thefts, and people trespassing under the cover of nigh. This has coincided with the increase of the homeless/addicted population. What’s the plan to counteract this domino effect?
Overall, property crimes are down 14% when comparing year-to-date 2019 to 2020. While this is positive, it is of little comfort to those who have been victimized. We continue encouraging residents to report crimes by calling 911 in an emergency, 425-407-3999 if there is no threat to your safety, or online at mycrimereport.us. All of the reports and information help our police department establish crime trends, identify possible suspects and work on solving crime to make arrests.
The City continues working hard to address community concerns around homelessness, including our Community Outreach and Enforcement Team (COET) which works closely with the homeless population to identify and assist those in need of services. COET continues working to find individuals the services they need, and also makes arrests when those who refuse services continue breaking the law. Aside from COET, we use other programs like Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), the diversion center, Chronic-Utilizer Alternative Response Team (CHART), a multi-departmental team that responds to encampments on public property, and referrals to community resources for mental and drug services.
What are you doing about all the package thefts from people’s porches and the car prowling issues?
Our Property Crimes Unit investigates package thefts and car prowls throughout the year. However, when these crimes traditionally increase around the holiday season, detectives perform undercover and high visibility campaigns with broad public outreach in an effort to arrest criminals and educate the public. Additionally, detectives and patrol officers work in the areas to identify and arrest criminals when crime reports indicate localized crime locations. We encourage residents to please report crimes by calling 911 in an emergency, 425-407-3999 if there is no threat to your safety, or online at mycrimereport.us.