The City strives to create a Kirkland where Black people feel safe and respected and interpersonal, institutional or structural racism no longer exists.
The City has passed legislation (R-5434) committing to several actions related to examining and dismantling institutional and structural racism in Kirkland. These actions come with significant funding over the next two years, and we need your input to advise us on how best to use this funding and to reimagine Kirkland. This work is intended to ensure the safety and respect of Black people in Kirkland. Your feedback will have a direct influence on various City and Police Department culture, policies, programs, and practices.
The City’s community engagement process is centered around Black people. This means that City staff and consultants will be meeting with formal and informal Black-led community groups, Black community leaders, Black youth, and other Black community members to help inform the City’s approach to this work. The City will also seek additional intentional engagement with Indigenous people and other people of color, with a focus on including intersectional voices. Finally, the City will be engaging the broader community through this effort to identify and implement solutions to interpersonal, institutional, and structural racism in Kirkland.
The City began this outreach effort alongside the drafting of R-5434 in June. Throughout this process, staff will provide periodic updates to the City Council and the community. The outreach effort is anticipated to conclude in April of 2021.
To stay up to date on opportunities to be involved, please sign up for the City’s email list for this effort.
In adopting Resolution 5434, the City has committed significant funding to support many actions aimed at dismantling structural racism. Your perspective and input matters to the City, as we don’t yet know the details of all these new actions.
Some of these actions are starting immediately as part of the Early Action Initiative. The City has committed to additional actions that are part of the 2021 Community Safety Initiative.
Early Action Initiative
This initiative consists of a variety of actions that are beginning in Fall 2020:
- Developing a Police “use of force” public dashboard to display the Kirkland Police Department’s baseline data on use of force, such as: total incidents, total use of force incidents, type of force used and the reason, subject race/gender, and officer race/gender.
- Evaluating enhancements to the existing police dashboard that help guard against bias in police action. The Kirkland Police Department has an existing dashboard that is presented to the City Council quarterly. The current dashboard reviews various crimes, including: murder, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary (residential and commercial), motor vehicle theft and prowl, DUI, and collisions. This dashboard will be evaluated to incorporate updates consistent with the intent of Resolution R-5434.
- Developing a School Resource Officer (SRO) public dashboard. With the passage of Police Proposition 1 in November of 2018, the City added a School Resource Officers to each middle school in Kirkland. Working with the Lake Washington School District, the SRO dashboard will incorporate metrics such as: the number of students served, the outcome of each contact, race, gender, age, etc.
- Developing a Human Resources public dashboard to show information about Kirkland employees, such as race and gender, to benchmark against the makeup of Kirkland’s population. This dashboard will also help the City review its hiring practices to be more inclusive.
- Developing a Human Services public dashboard to display metrics such as: which service providers receive City grant funds, amount of investment in human services programming, grants awarded in the last five years, and outreach efforts to make the community aware of human services programs that exist.
- “8 Can’t Wait” police use of force policy review. “8 Can’t Wait” is a national project of Campaign Zero to end police violence. The City of Kirkland has already adopted nearly all the policies but seeks outside review for confirmation and recommendations.
- Contracting for third party policy use of force review and use of force data evaluation and analysis. Separate of the use of force dashboard, but certainly informed by it, the City will be contracting for a review of its use of force policy, data evaluation, and analysis. The contractor will make recommendations to the City for future implementation.
- Contracting for a comprehensive City organizational equity assessment to identify gaps in diversity, equity and inclusion in all areas of City policy, practice and procedure, and to identify proposed actions steps to address these gaps.
- Conducting a comprehensive review of City procurement and contracting processes and documents to eliminate barriers for disadvantaged businesses enterprises to compete for City projects.
- Evaluating whether public art, public symbols, special events and City programming in Kirkland are welcoming to all community members.
- Expanding the diversity of public art, symbols, events and programming to be more inclusive.
- Other potential strategies to undo structural racism in Kirkland.
2021 Community Safety Initiative
This initiative is described in overview via this informational flyer and in detail in the 2021-2022 Budget Message. This effort consists of various actions that will be starting at different times throughout 2021:
- Four new Community Safety Partners are funded in the 2021-2022 budget. These “co-responders” might be Mental Health Professionals (MHP), social workers, and/or cultural navigators who partner with Police to respond to service calls that require something different than a Police Officer. These partners can relieve the burden on Police by helping people with mental illness or providing services to those are experiencing homelessness.
- Police community accountability initiatives. One example may be the implementation of civilian review of certain Police use of force incidents.
- Funding to provide body worn cameras for all Kirkland Police Officers, providing mutual transparency, accountability and safety for Police Officers and members of the public. Included are the evidence technician and public records staff positions necessary to support the body worn camera program.
- Pilot program for Community Court in Kirkland to divert disadvantaged populations from the criminal justice system and connect them instead with needed support services.
- Public Safety Community Relations Specialist that is shared between the Police and Fire Departments. This position implements public safety community education and outreach programs. The position also supports Police PIOs, emergency management, and crisis communication.
- Various equity, diversity and inclusion efforts for the City organization once the equity gap analysis is completed. This includes money allocated specifically in the Police and Fire budgets to improve the recruitment and retention of women and people of color.
- Hiring a Diversity and Inclusion Manager
The Community Safety Initiative contains funding for additional items:
- The 2021-2022 budget retains the significantly enhanced human services grant funding amounts that were intended to expire at the end of 2020.
- The 2021-2022 budget includes for the first time the Affordable Housing Sales Tax authorized by State House Bill 1406. This revenue is a credit provided to the City by the state and may be used for rental assistance or the construction of affordable housing. Giving the economic impact of COVID-19, the preliminary budget proposes to use these funds for low-income resident rental assistance in 2021-2022.
- The 2021-2022 budget sustains the record high 2019-2020 investment in A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) as well as additional operating and capital funds for the creation of affordable housing.
- Development Services/Welcoming Hall. The capital budget proposes to adapt a pending expansion of City Hall for development services staff into a more open customer service space designed to provide virtual service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The structure of this facility will also create a welcoming space and exhibition hall where multicultural heritage can be celebrated. This new hall is funded by development services fees and not general-purpose tax dollars.