Podcast | Defund, then what? Seattle activists’ ideas for police dollars

They say public safety concerns can be addressed through scaling up other forms of support, like schooling and training.

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Proponents of the nation's Defund Police movement have argued that some police funding could be redirected to fund community programs, which would help improve policing, lower police interactions for at-risk populations and lead to better job satisfaction for police and results for taxpayers. (Matt M. McKnight/Crosscut)

Many activists leading the call to defund the police say the answer to disproportionate policing is to take money from the cops and give it to communities. But change is never as easy as writing new lines in a city budget.

In this episode of This Changes Everything’s look at efforts to defund the police, host Sara Bernard and reporter David Kroman examine emerging community programs that are seeking to take the place of police as a way to dismantle the systemic racism that has long been part of the American criminal justice system.

Subscribe to This Changes Everything on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, or Podbean.

These Seattle programs look to keep members of the city’s Black and brown communities, in particular, out of the criminal justice system by redirecting at-risk community members with various forms of support.

In this six-part podcast, available now in its entirety, Bernard and Kroman take a close look at the challenges of policing today and explore whether it’s even possible to downsize the police force and create a new public safety regime that is more equitable and safe.

Keep listening:

Episode 1: How reform gave way to ‘Defund the Police’ in Seattle

Episode 2: Seattle police, social workers and mental health crisis calls

Episode 3: When police response to a crisis call goes wrong

Episode 4: An Oregon city’s decades-old alternative to police

Episode 6: When defunding the police meets Seattle’s political reality


Transcripts for This Changes Everything are the product of a third-party service. The audio stands as the official record for the reporting in this series.

Anonymous speaker: [00:00:00] This episode of This Changes Everything is presented by the Crosscut Festival, May 3rd through the 8th, online and in Seattle.

David Kroman: [00:00:10] When you were coming up, what was your relationship like with the police?

Dominique Davis: [00:00:18] Um, I hated the police. They were the, they were the mortal enemies, man. I've had my jaw fractured by the police, bro. I've been in battle rams. I've been in, I've gotten beaten and abused in, um, jail cells, handcuffed, beat down, blood, you know, I been through that. I've watched my friends get brutalized. I've had friends that been killed by the police.

You know, I hated the police, man. I couldn't stand them.

Sara Bernard: [00:00:52] This is Dominique Davis. He sat down for a call with Crosscut staff reporter David Kroman.

Dominique Davis: [00:00:57] I'm the CEO and founder of an organization called Community Passageways. We're a felony diversion program and, uh, a number of other things that we do on our, under our banner.

Sara Bernard: [00:01:10] Community Passageways was actually only officially founded a few years ago.

Dominique Davis: [00:01:13] Started out dealing with the school-to-prison pipeline.

Sara Bernard: [00:01:16] But, yeah, there are a whole range of things it does now.

Dominique Davis: [00:01:18] ... having programs in a handful of schools in South King County doing some culturally relevant curriculums there, uh, family support, student support, building out black student unions. Then I'm doing peacemaking and healing circles, providing spaces for young people to be able to be open and be theirselves.

Sara Bernard: [00:01:36] Fundamentally, the organization supports young people who need everything from mentors and counselors to housing and jobs and legal support.

Dominique Davis: [00:01:43] We also do diversion work, only on the felony level. We usually work on a lot of high-end felonies, as these are often young people who might otherwise spend a ton of time in prison. You know, gun charges, drive by shootings, just like a lot of the stuff that most organizations don't deal with, we like to deal with. Our staff are mostly built from people that have been through the prison industrial complex, one way or another. And we provide them a living wage, healthcare package, training and let them go back into communities to heal the community that they came from.

Sara Bernard: [00:02:20] And Davis, you might say, created the organization he wished he'd had as a teenager. Davis grew up in Seattle and he says he grew up fast.

Dominique Davis: [00:02:29] I had my mom in my life and I had some uncles and aunts, but I just hit the streets really early and just had this attitude of wanting to be a grown man at a very early age. And so I was running the streets at a very early age. I started smoking weed and drinking and all that stuff before I was even double digits, before I was 10 or 11 years old, right? And so, I kinda got put out and was put on these streets around 13 years old to kind of almost fend for myself in a way.

I mean, I got my first apartment, I had an 18-year-old girlfriend, so I got my first apartment as soon as I was about 14 going on 15. Bought my first car at 14, had my first baby at 16, you know, I was paying rent and bills and taking care of myself at an early age and I was hustling in the streets to do it.

And so I spent my whole life in the streets. But I had, I had a big vision and a big dream to go to play college football and go to the NFL, right?

Sara Bernard: [00:03:29] Davis says he missed out on that dream. It's complicated, but basically it boils down to this: No one showed him there was another way.

Dominique Davis: [00:03:37] If one adult sat me down and said, "I'm going to provide a place for you to live, I'm gonna provide some income for you, I'm gonna provide food, clothes where I'm at, and all you have to do is go to school, workout, play sports, and go to college." If I have one person sit me down and say that, I probably wouldn't be sitting here talking to you right now. So what made me do what I do, is I said, "I don't want to see anybody else lose their vision and their dream the way I lost mine."

I want to support as many young people as I can to go after their dreams, right? And we, and we'll provide those basic needs for them.

Sara Bernard: [00:04:15] And that, to Dominique Davis, is public safety. His work is preventative work. He's seen a lot of lives lost to gun violence, for example, and policing, as he knows it anyway. has never done much to change that.

Dominique Davis: [00:04:27] I lost so many friends to death, to murder, right? Back to back to back to funeral after funeral after funeral going up through the '90s, '80s. Late '80s and the '90s and all that, all the gangs, they was just crazy, bro. We had three funerals on one weekend sometimes, you know.

Sara Bernard: [00:04:42] What he believes can actually reduce crime and improve public safety is surrounding people who need help, any kind of help, with as much of it as possible.

Dominique Davis: [00:04:50] Whatever it is, man. They call us and then they call us and talk to us. We go meet with them. We pick them up, we'll go eat. We'll hang out. We'll go to their house, whatever it is we got to do to make sure that they're going to be okay. It's unconditional, man. So, diversion is not just court systems work. It's also a humanity work, you know, empathy work and unconditional love work.

Sara Bernard: [00:05:14] And it has always been that as long as Davis has been doing it. But the question now, all of a sudden, is can Davis, can anyone, do this kind of work fully enough, so they can actually begin to replace the police?

I'm Sara Bernard, and this is This Changes Everything, a podcast from Crosscut about the new normal.

So, Dominique Davis is just one example of someone who's been involved in the conversation around criminal justice reform and systemic racism long before this past summer. Community Passageways is not an emergency crisis response, not exactly. But its aim, on a fundamental level, is and has always been to be an alternative to cops and courts.

So, David Kroman called up Dominique Davis, as well as Sean Goode, who runs another felony diversion program for young people in the region called Choose 180 to get a better sense of what these guys are thinking right now, now that the City of Seattle is listening in a whole new and urgent way to the stuff they've been saying for years. Because for them and a number of other advocates in Seattle, these visions of community safety without police are not that new and they're not that radical. But they're not just about reallocating the many tasks that maybe police shouldn't be doing. They're also about better addressing what they see as the root causes of crime and the systems that criminalize those root causes. To them, the system as it exists right now, just isn't working very well.

Stay with us.

So, like David was talking about back in the first episode of this series, there are a number of ways to look at the phrase "defund the police." And one approach is pretty literal. There are people who feel less safe around police, people who've witnessed or been a subject of police violence or misconduct for instance, or who just haven't seen a clear benefit from the institution as exists.

David Kroman: [00:07:19] There's the group of people who believes, take their money away, abolish the police, or at least cut them by 50%. And that, in and of itself, is a good thing. That police are harmful enough that by defunding the police, we are making the world a better place.

Sara Bernard: [00:07:33] Those beliefs are often informed by life experiences. And of course not everyone who's had bad experiences with the police wants to totally abolish them. It's a spectrum, really. Sean Goode is somewhere on that spectrum, not an abolitionist, but definitely wary of the police.

Sean Goode: [00:07:48] My name is Sean Goode. I steward an organization called Choose 180, where we're actively working to transform systems of injustice while supporting the young people who are impacted by those systems.

Candidly, being a Black man has informed my outlook. Have I had negative interactions? Certainly.

I remember a time in South King County where I had recently gotten paid. So I had my paycheck in an envelope and with the cash on me and I was crossing the street at a crosswalk and got pulled over by the police because I didn't wait for the hand to tell me to go. And he emptied out my pockets and questioned me about the cash that I had and kept me there for a long period of time, unnecessarily, even though I wasn't in the commission of committing any type of crime.

Or I remember as a child, watching my father, who was causing harm to our family, get arrested and put in the back of a police car. But once he was released, he didn't stop being abusive. It didn't actually solve for anything. It just delayed the inevitable, which was him still working out his anger, his addiction and mental health issues by harming our family.

And so, like, those are two instances that come to mind immediately. But it's a larger narrative of shared experiences and generational trauma that informs the way that I respond when being engaged by a law enforcement officer. I don't have too many memories that I hold onto fondly and say that was a gold standard approach and I left that circumstance or that situation feeling confident that my life wasn't at risk or that I wasn't going to experience any undue harm as a result of this engagement.

Sara Bernard: [00:09:35] Statistically speaking, in Seattle and across the country, you are more likely to have negative interactions with law enforcement or, frankly, any kind of interaction with law enforcement if you're a person of color. You're more likely to be impacted by incarceration if you're a person of color and that likelihood goes up if you're Black or Native. About 40% of the population of the King County Jail at any given time is Black, for instance, although only roughly 7% of the population of King County is.

Both Davis and Goode work with hundreds of young people every year who are facing criminal charges. Most of those kids are Black or brown.

Dominique Davis: [00:10:10] We've got people that have been sentenced when they were 15 and 16 years old for 35 to 40 years. And what, 85% of them were Black and brown folks. What does that tell you, man? Public safety ain't really public safety. Public safety is a prison industrial complex that has brought back Jim Crow and slavery, bro.

The majority of young people that we support are referred to us from the prosecuting attorney's office and young people don't make it to the prosecuting attorney's office unless their behavior is being criminalized first by law enforcement officers. And law enforcement officers overly police communities that are Black and brown, which contributes to the disproportionality we see through the prosecutor's office and throughout the courts,

I'll try to make it a short story.

Sara Bernard: [00:10:55] Dominique Davis, for one, has had plenty of interactions with law enforcement himself, in part because he started supporting himself from a very young age and sold illegal drugs to do it. That part of his life is far behind him, but still, the stories he remembers aren't pretty.

Dominique Davis: [00:11:11] I was selling dope and everything, and we had a trap house, a trap apartment where we were selling drugs out of and whatnot, kind of selling drugs out of. We were, that was kind of our home.

Sara Bernard: [00:11:24] And the police, he says, knew about it. They were watching the place. One night Davis went out to buy some booze for the evening.

Dominique Davis: [00:11:30] I came back from the liquor store and handed the bag full of alcohol over the balcony and then I went around to the door to go inside. And so I go inside. Now, police got us under surveillance. They figure I done went and picked up everything and made the drop, right? And I'm in the bathroom using the bathroom. All of a sudden I hear, "SPD!" Or something. Boom, boom, boom. And they batter ram, boom! Knock the door off the hinges, come running in, whatever, grab everybody.

Sara Bernard: [00:11:55] What Davis describes at this point is a disturbingly, violent interaction. And one that we've not been able to verify. So I'll just have to leave you with this: Davis claims he was released from jail later that night, bruised and bloodied.

Dominique Davis: [00:12:07] I mean, that's just an example. That's just how the police operate, you know. I haven't had no run-ins with the police at a very long time, but back then they operated real crooked, real shady. I mean, it was just crazy, man. I can tell you a bunch of stories, man. I bunch of them. I'm just telling you that story 'cause it was more mild than the ones I could tell you.

Sara Bernard: [00:12:29] Needless to say, these kinds of experiences informed Davis's outlook. But these days his focus isn't on police misconduct per se. It's on the much bigger picture.

Dominique Davis: [00:12:48] Black folks been trying to protest and rally and get mad for years. The only difference with this movement was white folks, Asian folks, and every other ethnicity joined the movement. Now we got this rash of police killing Black people, which has always been happening, which has been happening on a daily basis for over a hundred years, right. For hundreds of years, it's always happened. It's just, now it's getting caught on video. It's just, now people are seeing it on YouTube and social media. It's just, now we got tools for people to actually see. This is what we've been talking about for the last 400 God damn years. And because of what we did over the summer time, there's been a lot of changes that's been happening, bro. A lot of change that's happening. And these politicians are listening and they're standing up going, "What else, what else do you need us to do? What else can we do for you?"

Sara Bernard: [00:13:45] Of course, in Seattle, that's what it looks like, anyway. The city council is listening,. The mayor is listening. We've now got cuts to the SPD budget in 2021 that haven't been seen in decades, maybe ever. And you've got money on the table to spend on research and investment in community-based alternatives, as well as the participatory budgeting process where Seattle residents get to weigh in on how some money is spent.

David Kroman: [00:14:18] The mayor pledged early on in the protest that she was going to put a hundred million dollars towards community investments, whatever those might end up being. What those are exactly will be the subject of various task forces and group discussions and, you know, people voting on their preferred options and that sort of thing.

The city council kind of changed that a little bit. Split it up into a few different pots and are taking a few different approaches to how they want to invest that money.

It's a little complex, but overall you could say the protests made an immediate impact. And despite the desire to see SPDs budget cut a lot further, Davis and Goode are quick to emphasize the investment side of this defund debate.

Dominique Davis: [00:15:01] Defunding the police is something that people don't understand what it means. So, when you say "defunding the police," people's antennas go up, right? All of a sudden the hair on the back of their necks stands up and they're like, "Oh my God, no police? Oh my God, we can't, we can't do that." Right? Because we've been indoctrinated to believing that all of our protection and community safety only can come from the police, right?

If we get outside of that box of the brainwashing that we've been indoctrinated with, and we look at what does real public safety look like, public safety is, get the resources into the hands of the people that don't have them, give opportunity to people that don't have opportunities, right?

Anywhere that there's a plethora of resources and an abundance of finances, there's not a lot of violence. Anywhere that there's not, there's a lot of money. It's just a fact. So how do we fix that? We start making sure that people have their basic needs met number one and opportunities, number two, right? With support and community help and systems help to get them down that path of success.

David Kroman: [00:16:21] What do you think of when you hear the phrase defund the police?

Sean Goode: [00:16:25] What do I think of? I think of opportunity. I think a possibility. I think of creativity. I think of public safety. Those are all things that come to mind. When I hear defund police. This isn't about police as much as it's about resources, and there's a limited amount of dollars that can go towards creating safe communities.

And since those dollars are limited, we should use those in a way that get us to a safe community, the quickest and the surest way possible. And policing historically, hasn't done that. In fact, as we look at recidivism rates and the frequency of folks who are arrested, detained, released, arrested, detained, released, then it would prove to the fact that policing really isn't solving for this, but merely sweeping it aside until the leaves fall again, and they need to get swept up again.

This is not a solution-based model of public safety.

Dominique Davis: [00:17:30] Defund the police is way deeper than me than just defunding the police. It's a whole big political, social and economical purpose behind it, man. They just need to start there because we need them to understand that policing Black and brown communities is not working for us.

Sara Bernard: [00:17:47] At this point, Davis makes a big gesture toward his Zoom background. It's a group photo of a bunch of Community Passageways participants.

Dominique Davis: [00:17:53] One of the kids in this picture right now, his dad's in prison since he was two years old. The kid's 20 years old, 21 years old. I think dad's in prison since he was two.

His mom is his co-defendant on federal charges that he's facing. He don't have no real family. He calls us his family, Community Passageways is his family, right? The same kid that we've been working with for about a year, I got him a job doing case management for another organization. The kid has a caseload of about 20 people. He's helping people with housing, jobs, helping them with mental health stuff, getting them plugged into different services. This kid is out serving the community. He's been doing it for months now, making good money. Went out, bought a nice little car, got his apartment. just had a baby, getting ready to marry his girlfriend, his baby's mama, all this kind of stuff.

And he started working on his finances and his credit, 'cause this is what we talk about with him. And he just got pre-approved to buy his first home at the same time I'm working with the federal courts, trying to get his charges diverted out, so he doesn't go to prison. It looks good to keep him in the community because he's doing awesome. That's public safety.

Public safety ain't puttin' him in handcuffs and lockin' him in prison. That shit hasn't worked, bro.

Sara Bernard: [00:19:20] We'll be right back.

Anonymous speaker: [00:19:38] This last year has changed the way we talk about race, policing, public health politics, the climate, the arts, and the economy. And in many ways it's changed how we talk to one another. But it hasn't stopped the conversation.

This spring, the Crosscut Festival will keep that conversation going with a week of events where journalists, politicians, artists and newsmakers will talk about our uncertain present and our possible future. We'll explore the issues that are shaping our country and our world.

This year's guests include PBS Newshour anchor Judy Woodruff, travel expert Rick Steves, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and many more who will be announced on March 8th.

Join us at the Crosscut Festival, May 3rd through the 8th.

For more information, and to purchase tickets, go to crosscut.com/festival.

Okay. Back to the show.

Sara Bernard: [00:20:48] Okay. So, as Davis was saying, he thinks locking people up is not helping public safety. It not only disproportionately  impacts the Black community, it just doesn't work. So, Davis and Goode, and a whole bunch of people, especially those involved with the groups King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle, are already developing lots of proposals they do think could work, starting with community-led research.

King County Equity Now  launched the Black Brilliance Research Project in September. Through another nonprofit, Freedom Project Washington, the group secured a $3 million contract with the City of Seattle to see it through.

Lorena Gonzalez: [00:21:28] We are starting with an investment of $3 million to connect with community where they are and relying on their expertise. In order to facilitate the process of scaling up and building true models of community safety.

Sara Bernard: [00:21:43] One recommendation to have already emerged from that effort is a form of community-led emergency crisis response.

And then, Dominique Davis's organization, Community Passageways, is partnering with a handful of other nonprofits to pilot what could be yet another kind of on-the-ground crisis response team.

Dominique Davis: [00:22:08] Me and a team of people got together, we decided we don't have time to sit back and wait to see what's going to happen.

Sara Bernard: [00:22:16] So they're planning to create safety hubs in three communities across the city, staffed with outreach workers who will provide all kinds of support for young people.

Dominique Davis: [00:22:24] We're gonna try to make it where we want to show, look at the rate of violence before we came into those three communities and then after we came into these three communities. Let's see how many shootings, how many violent crimes, how many robberies, how many burglaries, let's look at those statistics and numbers.

Sara Bernard: [00:22:41] Money from the mayor's office has gotten the project started, but Davis says they need more.

Dominique Davis: [00:22:45] The money that we got from the mayor's office is just enough money for us to get into these hubs, to hire the staff we need to hire and to be able to provide a few resources out here to get the ball rolling, but we're going to have to find more money and more resources to build this up.

Sara Bernard: [00:23:00] Theoretically, these are the kinds of things that could help replace at least some of the need for police officers. But, like Davis says, to have any hope of doing that, organizations have to both prove that it works and then scale it up a lot. And that can be hard to do without lots of city funding and cooperation and political support, which seems to be there right now.

The problem is. Well, one problem is that some of the people agitating city government for this kind of change are still skeptical. Sean Goode, for example, was asked to be part of Mayor Jenny Durkan's Equitable Communities Task Force, the body that will be helping make a lot of decisions about where new money is going, but he promptly left as soon as he joined.

Sean Goode: [00:24:00] I participated in an initial meeting and it became very clear that the cake was essentially baked and that the task force was asked to be the frosting so that we could bring it back to our people in a palatable way and the community would be able to digest it as something that was whole and equitable for them. And I wasn't willing to serve in that capacity, primarily because the people who I wanted to represent in that space didn't want me there to represent them.

Sara Bernard: [00:24:28] One major concern he had with the mayor's approach is that, in fact, the million she's pledging in alternatives to the police are not, and will never be, directly tied to defunding the police. 

Broadcaster: [00:24:38] Durkan's plan calls for money to be taken from a to-be-determined fund and not from funding for the Seattle police...

Sara Bernard: [00:24:44] which is a problem if you believe the institution of policing itself is doing a lot of harm.

Sean Goode: [00:24:48] You can't put one brick in the house with your left hand and then tear two bricks out with your right hand. At a minimum, you have to have a one-to-one ratio. And if you were to divest from law enforcement in the City of Seattle by 50% and take those 200 and some odd million dollars and pour those 200 and some odd million dollars in the public safety alternatives, then you get closer to a one brick to one brick ratio that still still leaves us at a net zero gain.

But at a minimum, at least we're not still building up the types of divisive walls in our community that keep people from being able to access the types of resources necessary for them truly to be safe.

David Kroman: [00:25:27] Is there, and should there be a direct nexus between funding alternatives to police and defunding the current police? Where you land on the answer to that says a lot about kind of your politics right now?

Jenny Durkan's basic approach is no, there shouldn't be a direct nexus between those two. And yeah, I think that's a lot of the reason why Sean and others didn't support her approach in her task force is because that nexus was basically off the table. You know, I think, I think a lot of the activists imagine creating a new system whole cloth that sort of runs parallel to the system that they have totally lost trust in.

Dominique Davis: [00:26:08] We start looking at community providing safety for the community. We want to get to where the police don't need to be involved. Where we're able to manage our own community and our own people in our own system.

I want to develop our own system of safety.

David Kroman: [00:26:21] And yet, we're in this sort of awkward situation where in order to build that up, they need the support of the system that currently exists.

Sara Bernard: [00:26:34] Another outstanding issue here is not everyone wants the city to be creating new systems of public safety.

We're already seeing plenty of frustration coming from the people who think any cuts to SPD and any public investments in untested alternatives are actually harmful. 

There are the more extreme voices on this, like Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan.

Mike Solan: [00:27:10] The crime will visit your doorstep. And it's because of the policies that this city council is basically bullying towards all of us.

Sara Bernard: [00:27:19] And the more moderate ones, like former Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess.

Tim Burgess: [00:27:24] The Defund the Police movement, while I certainly understand where it's coming from and its motivations -- and you know, it's a visceral cry for justice, I totally support that -- but you don't, you don't do that in a way that causes harm. And I think Seattle city government is skating on the edge.

Sara Bernard: [00:27:53] David talked with Tim Burgess for a while about all this stuff recently, too. We'll hear more from him in the next episode. Anyway, one of the things that comes up a lot in these debates, the ones about whether the city council was doing the right thing at all is crime statistics. Certain crimes seem to be on the rise in Seattle. Homicides are up this year, way up.

Broadcaster: [00:28:20] The flashing lights mark the 49th murder for Seattle this year, a city that's on pace for the highest  homicide rate in years.

Sara Bernard: [00:28:28] And so, some people see these numbers as either a result of the protests and the SPD cuts or a sign that these cuts are incredibly ill-advised. But numbers, especially crime numbers in a year of overlapping crises, not least a massive global pandemic that shut down the economy and put millions out of work, numbers, you could argue, don't really paint the whole picture.

David Kroman: [00:28:57] Murders across the country are up. And that started before these protests. That was a trend that we saw last spring, starting to happen, that murders were up and gun violence was up.

It's sort of hard to prove, definitively, one way or the other, which is what makes these debates so difficult. I mean, maybe, maybe the protests and some of the Seattle City Council's decisions have had an effect. There's also evidence to suggest that some of these changes were already underway, in part, because of this pandemic.

From a broad level, that's what's so difficult about sort of trying to imagine a new reality for public safety and policing is it's gonna hit a really visceral backlash. And there are going to be some scary statistics out there, such as murders are up. And that's, you know, it's sort of a narrative war.

Sara Bernard: [00:30:15] Dominique Davis sees this kind of data differently.

Dominique Davis: [00:30:20] The police, Oh my God. We're not going to have enough police. People are going to be killing everybody. There's going to be crime everywhere. People were already killing everybody. What does community safety look like? Community safety can no longer look like the way that we perceive it to be because the shootings have risen up, they're rising up the charts, right? Violent crimes are shooting up the chart all over the nation. People are getting shot everyday, all day, and there's police still out here everywhere. All the police can do is respond to a shooting. They can't be at the front end of it, making sure that the same kid that just shot this kid probably wouldn't be out here shooting this kid if he was going to school, playing sports, had a job, had housing. You know what I'm saying? Had his basic needs met, right? I'm not saying that's the answer to everything, but I promise you the violence and the crimes will just stop if the kids, mama, and, or dad or grandma whoever's raising them, had what they needed.

We got to do something different.

Sara Bernard: [00:31:31] You'll notice the core message here, over and over. People getting what they need, that's public safety. This is what Dominic Davis is saying. It's what Sean Goode is saying. It's what a lot of the defund activists are saying. And it sounds a whole lot like what Seattle city leaders are saying now, too.

Jenny Durkan: [00:31:49] I personally believe that public safety comes first by people having what they need.

Um, and that means access to affordable housing. It means that they have, uh, economic justice so that they truly can get the same opportunities.

Sara Bernard: [00:32:11] But here's the rub. It might feel pretty obvious by now, but it bears repeating that stating this kind of thing as a goal and making it actually happen are two very, very different things.

Tim Burgess: [00:32:23] They are not proceeding in my personal opinion with the kind of rigorous analysis and care that these areas demand.

David Kroman: [00:32:34] Some of those statements are more like, I support the goal of working toward a reality in which 50% of the police department is no longer necessary. There's going to be an enormous pressure for that money to be spent in a way that not only shows promise, but that people feel on the ground.

Sara Bernard: [00:32:57] That's next time on This Changes Everything.

Thanks for listening to This Changes Everything. This episode was reported by David Kroman and produced by me, Sara Bernard. The story editor was Donna Blankinship and the executive producer was Mark Baumgarten. Our cover art is by Greg Cohen.

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For more on This Changes Everything and other Crosscut podcasts, go to crosscut.com/podcasts.

For the latest political, environmental, and culture news from the Pacific Northwest, visit crosscut.com.

This Changes Everything is a product of Cascade Public Media.

I'm Sara Bernard. You can listen to all of the episodes in this series right now at crosscut.com or wherever you get your podcasts.

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