Seattle Police Chief: CHAZ Is Slowing Response Time, But We Are Still Responding Everywhere

On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Cuomo Primetime,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best stated that there aren’t any no-police response zones in the city, “and we are still responding to every single call in every area of the city.” Best added that barricades around the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) or Capitol Hill Occupied Protest Area (CHOP) “prevent us from going in as quickly and as efficiently as we’d like to. And certainly, because we’re not in the precinct, response times across the entire east precinct area have increased.”

Best said, “There’s not a no-Seattle Police Department response zone, as people have sometimes categorized the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest Area. You know, there is a small area in a section of the city, where we’re dealing with some occupants and some of the issues there. But Seattle is not under siege and we are still responding to every single call in every area of the city. When it comes to that particular area, we have — if we get a call, there’s an important emergency, a 911 call, we’re going in. We’re going to do our job. I have a list of reports we’ve taken already. But we also have to be considerate of the delicate situation that we have there. The last thing, the last thing I want to do is have any issue of violence occur in the area. So, we’re being very judicial about how we do it — judicious, I mean, about how we do it and how we go in. And I would say to you, while we’re dealing with that issue, more than anything, I’m focused on the future, how are we going to reenvision the future of policing with all that we have going on in the country and specifically in Seattle, for me, today.”

She added, “I wouldn’t call it a good situation. … So, what we have here is a situation where people have occupied an area. And we’re working with them, the city is working with them, it has negotiators to work with them, to have a peaceful resolution. Ultimately, we want to make sure that people don’t get hurt. And it’s not a situation where there’s lawlessness. We do have some concerns. But we are responding to the area, we’re doing so carefully, we’re making sure that we take care of reports that have been given, and that we’re following up on each of those reports and trying to make sure that people are arrested and we find any perpetrators of any crime. So, that has not stopped. But you — admittedly, there are some barricades that prevent us from going in as quickly and as efficiently as we’d like to. And certainly, because we’re not in the precinct, response times across the entire east precinct area have increased. So, I definitely want our officers back in that precinct. I’m not thrilled about the situation, but we recognize too that we have to make sure that we protect everyone’s safety, ultimately, in this situation.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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