SEATTLE-- Hoping to address concerns by those it helps and encourage answers from city officials, First United Methodist Church helda forum Sunday afternoon regarding downtown violence.
Headlining the event, City Attorney Pete Holmes, Interim Police Chief JimPugel and City Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw.
We thought that sitting the parties down together and having them communicate in the same place at the same time would be a very good thing, said Rev. Sandy Brown from First United Methodist Church, Hopefully it helps solve the problems of violence downtown.
Rev. Brown's church contains a men's homeless shelter, and said those helped have concerns about police response time and urgency, despite a pledge from city hall to add more money, staff and services to the downtown core.
We're not seeing it happen yet, and we're anxious about it, Rev. Brown commented.
Also in attendance, Anna Low, who has lived in a tent city and a shelter this year. One of her friends was injured in a multi-person stabbing in Rainier Valley last week.
There's not that many cops out there, Low explained, When you do see them, it's very few and far between.
Amid the frustration is friction between Holmes and Pugel regarding how to solve downtown crime concerns.
Yes, tension exists, Holmes said during the panel discussion, We all have to do our job. An officer on the street needs to do his or her job.
Interim ChiefPugel has previously expressed a desire to be more proactive on making arrests, while Holmes has encouraged a more service-based approach.
However, Pugel admitted Sunday, we cannot arrest our way out of crime.
Some of the police officers are nervous about enforcing minor laws right now, he continued, Parts of the community were very concerned we were taking low-level incidents and raising them to high-level ones.
A series of programs and inititatives have been instituted at city hall to address the insecurity many downtown say they feel.
Any hopes for an in-depth conversation between all three participants were compromised by Pugel's late arrival -- he was at a murder scene. Low left the event early, and frustrated.
Anytime we go and speak our minds and speak what is truth, we just get walked on, Idon't think it's fair, she said.