SEATTLE - Newly elected Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison announced Tuesday a new initiative that will address frequent offenders in the city’s criminal justice system.
The program aims to identify people responsible for repeat criminal activity and reduce their public safety impacts and time spend in the court system.
"These are people who are engaged in regular frequent criminal activity in the City of Seattle" said Davison.
The High Utilizer Initiative will follow 118 individuals who prosecutors say are accused of committing 2,400 crimes in the last 5 years, including 1,019 thefts, 589 trespasses, 409 assaults, and 101 weapons violations.
"It shouldn't have gotten this bad for this long for that many individuals" said Davison. "We can't allow it to continue for them or for the public."
The people on the list will not get special treatment by Seattle Police, City and County prosecutors, the jail and the courts.
When asked if keeping these people in jail longer so they are off the street is an option, Davison said, "if need be that will be the case."
"Officers would make an arrest, take them back to the precinct, and they would be released without going to jail" said Seattle’s Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz.
Both Davison and Diaz say an agreement has been made with the jail for the 118 offenders on the list. If any of them are arrested for a non-violent offense, the jail will book them and hold them until a judge makes a decision on their bail.
Their case will also be fast tracked by both city and county prosecutors who will see if several misdemeanor cases can be consolidated to create a stiffer felony charge.
When asked if is the initiative will instill public confidence of her office’s handling of repeat offenders, Davison replied, "the way it’s different is the open communication that I’ve established and continue to establish with public safety partners"
To make the list, each person must have had 12 or more case referrals from the Seattle Police Department to the Attorney’s Office in the past 5 years and at least one case referred in the past 8 months.
The City Attorney says Dylan Jackman fits the criteria. Prosecutors say he moved to Seattle 15 months ago and already has 18 referrals for shoplifting and threaten store employees at area hardware stores.
One person that’s not on the list is John Lomax, who is accused of shoplifting at the downtown Seattle Target, including wheeling out a 70-inch TV despite efforts by store security to stop him. He’s not on the list say city prosecutors because the store hasn’t referred enough shoplifting claims to meet the city attorney’s criteria.
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