Seattle late-night trouble spots getting increased police patrols

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by KING 5 News and KING5.com Staff

KING5.com

Posted on June 22, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 22 at 10:31 PM

SEATTLE – After two weekends in which one man was killed, two others were shot and another was beaten, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has announced a police re-staffing plan to put more cops out in trouble spots late at night.

McGinn is going to change deployment of more than two dozen police officers to neighborhoods where there is nightlife and a lot of pedestrians on the streets.

Twenty officers from SWAT and DUI patrols will form a nightlife task force, working downtown two hours after the nightclubs close.

"The main goal of this task force will be high visibility, there'll be a combination of cars and foot beats, talking to people and trying to stem violence before it occurs," said Interim Police Chief John Diaz.

Two weeks ago, Steve Sok, 21, was fatally shot outside the V Bar.

"If there's a group of people that might commit a crime or that might do something, if they see police, that's going to be at least a little bit of a deterrent," said V Bar manager Jeff Pham.

Diaz told a group of Belltown residents Tuesday night, they should start to see "immediate changes" in the neighborhood.

The mayor is putting Diaz in charge of his new policing plan, making many wonder if Diaz is the mayor's choice for the permanent chief job.

"Since the day I came into the office, he has been the chief and has been acting like the chief and has been doing a great job," said McGinn.

The other candidate is East Palo Alto, Calif. Police Chief Ron Davis.

McGinn says the new plan will not cost much more in the way of taxpayer money and will not effect 911 response time. Diaz says the additional costs will be paid through cuts being made in the department's budget for special event coverage.

The new initiative will begin this Friday night and continue through at least the fall.

Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors announced that suspects in the Sok shooting have waived extradition from California and will return to King County to face charges. They will face murder, assault and other charges. A third suspect remains at large.

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