King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert on Aug. 11 called on Executive Dow Constantine to declare deteriorating safety conditions around the King County Courthouse an emergency.
The call for an emergency declaration follows a demonstration organized by courthouse employees to bring attention to growing safety concerns in and around the courthouse and in City Hall Park.
“Nobody should be threatened by verbal, physical, or sexual violence in their workplace,” Lambert said. “If Seattle is not going to step up to make City Hall Park and the surrounding areas safer for county employees, jurors and the general public, then we must take emergency action.”
In addition to an emergency declaration, Lambert is preparing legislation to address serious concerns raised by members of the courthouse security team. Lambert said recent news reports indicate that security staff were speaking anonymously out of fear of retaliation and highlighted policies implemented by the executive branch that hinder security in their ability to do their job effectively.
The legislation will be aimed at providing the tools and resources necessary for security staff to adequately protect themselves, employees and the public.
The proposed legislation will:
– Provide Narcan and Naloxone to each team member to render aid in the event of a nearby drug overdose or their own personal exposure.
– Equip security staff with tourniquets and first-aid kits.
– Train and equip security staff with batons, handcuffs and tasers.
– Establish a safe process for all county employees to provide recommendations for improving safety without retaliation.
“As was said at the rally a few days ago, ‘Enough is enough!’ The issues of security need to be fully transparent. This legislation is a good first step to giving security staff the tools they need to protect themselves and the public,” Lambert said. “No county employee should be afraid of retaliation for speaking up for safer working conditions. If you do not feel it is safe for you to talk to your manager, department leadership, or any other executive employee, then you can call me.”