As we invest in public safety, we need to explore ways to better respond.
Construction of a new Fire Station in the Juanita neighborhood is underway. With the support of the community with Fire Proposition #1 last year, we will construct a new Fire Station near Evergreen Hospital, providing better coverage east of I-405 in case of a major earthquake. Fire station modernizations will improve seismic resilience and ensure firefighter health—protecting those who protect us. We are hiring additional firefighter / EMTs to maintain response times that save lives as every minute is critical, especially for medical calls. Our emergency preparedness paid off as Kirkland responded as the first epicenter of the COVID 19 outbreak.
We have provided strong leadership to ensure a light footprint and appropriate, professional response from with an emphasis on de-escalation by our police and addition of mental health professionals and social workers as co-responders for people in crisis. (See @KirklandPD on twitter with real-time reports as this happens successfully every day.)
We have established a Community Court in partnership with Kirkland Municipal Judge John Olson, which helps divert people from the justice system and link them with the support they need. As we have community conversations about police officers deploying body-worn cameras, school resource officers, and setting up independent oversight, I want to hear from you. Getting the details right is crucial work ahead.