Mayor’s Equity and Social Justice Task Force issues report on public safety, policing in Edmonds

The Edmonds Police Department needs to do a better job of working with — and understanding the needs of — communities of color and addressing the social services needs of its residents. Those were among the takeaways of a report from an Equity and Social Justice Task Force appointed last year by Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson.

The task force report on Public Safety and Policing includes several findings and recommendations. The full report can be found at

Among the task force’s findings:

  • While the police department intentionally works to hire a more diverse force, it should have — but does not currently have — consistent, ongoing training in working with marginalized populations — specifically communities of color.
  • The department has not sought out input or insights from the community at large when developing their plans for cultural assessments
  • The department lacks insight into the perspectives and concerns that communities of color have about police.
  • The department lacks training in community outreach and community engagement that would help police serve Edmonds residents. It was also evident, the task force said, that police don’t have training in dealing with the social services needs of citizens. Police are being asked to provide social services without adequate training, which makes it challenging for a social worker to follow up after the fact, the task force said.
  • Many residents of color do not feel safe in Edmonds.
  • Accountability and transparency are two terms that came up repeatedly throughout the task force process and there are differences in how the police and the community understand those terms as they relate to public safety.

The task force’s recommendations for the police department include:

  • Community engagement training.
  • Integration of social services, including training in the best use of a social services staff person.
  • Establishing an implicit bias training program.
  • Continued use of the task force in developing an ongoing equity work plan.

Nelson announced in June 2020 he was appointing the Equity and Social Justice Task Force “to help identify and correct issues of systemic and implicit bias within city operations in response to the aggressions and inequities perpetrated on African-Americans around the nation and in our region.” The task force began meeting in August 2020 to study equity-related issues within city government, and also had a goal of creating an Equity Toolkit and an Equity Work Plan for the city.

The task force’s first priority was police department practices as they relate to public safety/policing. According to the city’s announcement, the task force also wants to provide support and evaluate progress made on the police department recommendations.

The task force consists of 13 members, including a combination of civic and business community members, as well as representatives from regional equity and inclusion organizations.

Task force members are Richard Suico, Ann Jacobs, Patricia Valle, Charles Harvey Jr., Dedie Davis, Gian Rodrigues, Jeanne Misha Carter, Laura Johnson, Margaret Browne, Monet Bletson, Nicole Sumwall, Sandra Palmer and Yvette Sanchez.

Task force members declined to be interviewed about their work based on guidance to refer all media inquiries to the mayor’s office

Over the last six months, the task force has worked under the guidance of Bellevue-based Armstead Consulting, which specializes in equity and justice work. The consultant assisted the task force in providing information on best practices for this process, but the task force drove and completed the work, Nelson said.

The city paid Armstead $47,500 for its work from August 2020 to March 1, 2021.

“This report found problems in how we police and gives solutions to do a better job of supporting Black residents and other marginalized populations,” Nelson said. The mayor said he is sharing the report with the Center for Public Safety Management (CPSM), the Washington, D.C.-based firm he has hired to conduct a police performance audit, and the firm he has hired for a national police chief search — the  International Association of Chiefs of Police — “to help inform expectations for our next police chief moving forward.”

“I want to thank the citizen task force members who dedicated themselves to help address equity and social justice issues facing our community,” Nelson added.

The Equity Toolkit included in the report provides  a set of questions aimed at helping decision-makers focus on equity in both their processes and outcomes.  The questions are designed to create a more inclusive perspective, drawing attention to how a decision may create the potential to affect marginalized groups, the city said.


55 Replies to “Mayor’s Equity and Social Justice Task Force issues report on public safety, policing in Edmonds”

  1. Are task force meetings open to the public? I don’t recall seeing any agenda’s or minutes published on MEN for prior meetings. Also, does the Mayor have sole discretion in selecting task force members? There may be some good suggestions in the report (I’m not an expert on policing….probably like most of the task force members) but the Mayor appears to be now retaliating against the police department.

    On a different note the contract with Center for Public Safety Management (CPSM) to conduct a performance audit of the Edmonds Police Department is not to exceed $76, 180 and the contract with International Association of Chiefs of Police to conduct the police chief search is not to exceed $46,800.


    1. Isn’t it wonderful for Edmonds has so much extra cash laying around, even if still in the mist of a long pandemic, local stores and restaurants hurting, and so many people out of work?


    2. As I read through the report seems to me the city should have been budgeting more money for more extensive training. That is not the fault of the police department. Mike I also wonder why the public was not aware of these meetings and did council know.


  2. This will be a long comment. There are very good recommendations in this report and I (my opinion) are some clear loaded language statements that are opinion (editorial) and not substantiated by facts. Police Organizations are some of the most widely measured groups under the highest degree of scrutiny in our Country. There is a clear and distinct reason for this. New approaches require a high degree of effort and focus. Both in the comments (the actual comments that the task force mentioned, not the summarized opinions in the beginning of the document) clearly show both lack of knowledge, clear understanding, and a very clear desire to engage more with the Police without fear and from a learning perspective. The police and judge also reflected this wantonness to do the same. I highly recommend that everyone take the time to read this article, or if you are unable to read in English, I am more than happy to download the document, translate it to your primary language, or even record a reading of it for the visually impaired. MEN can provide my email address, or you can find me on LinkedIn here – I will try to formulate these comments in 4 steps – and try to be as brief as possible. First, the assumptions and lens that the report was written in. Second, the positive takeaways from the report. Third, the negative implications that are made in this report without substantiation or concrete examples. Fourth, a quick personal summary. I encourage responses. Much like the report said, getting marginalized or under-represented communities and “over policed” communities involved in these discussions is highly valued by me. I cannot learn if I do not know. I understand that it is not the LGBTQX, Latino, POC, Disabled, or aging communities responsibility to take time to teach me.


  3. First, the lens that this report was written from did not start with the question. “What are the core principles, values, and approach that the Edmonds Police Department that support and follow along with action”. It was written from the perspective (both by tone and narrative) that the Edmonds Police Department is doing many things wrong, or not doing them at all. Lens, as we all know, is extremely important. The report starts with and continues with only the items that the police department, founded in the authors opinion, not by data, is doing wrong.

    Obviously it is extremely important and valuable for the lens to include all facets of the community. A few statements of fact that are not brought out in the report:

    1. The Edmonds Police Force is by far the most diverse department in our City. This, in itself, shows the commitment of the police force to do the right thing for both safety, understanding, and inclusion. This was not mentioned in the report. It suggests a false narrative, based in a lack of concrete detail.

    2. Edmonds base crime rate is 7% lower than the national average. Edmonds violent crime is 47% below the National Average. Edmonds Property Crime is at the national average. This speaks highly to an effective community engagement in reducing crime in our City. It does not speak to, unfortunately, the feelings or perceived disparity that exists in certain communities.

    3. Leveraging the City Data Crime rate map, Edmonds is slightly higher than Mountlake Terrace and extreneky lower than Lynnwood. Furthermore, based on this data, the Northern Parts of the City (Perrinville North) have the lowest rates of crime, and the City Center south have the highest rates of crime. Unfortunately, Esperance (IMO an underserved community) and Ballinger have high rates of crime. See next post.


  4. 3. Continued. Studies show that higher traffic areas and major throughputs along major arteries tend to have higher rates of crime. Higher density in these areas, but studies, also show higher rates of crime. Assuming the “Bowl” is the safest place to live is a misnomer. 4. Within Edmonds, 88% of the arrests made were Caucasian. 2.7% were black. Edmonds population is 80.1% white and 1.6% black. This leaves a hole in the data that does not mention or represent the 8.0% Asian population or the Hispanic population (two or more races). There is a disparity, based on data that 91% of the arrests were for white and black persons. There is no description of what these arrests were for, and no data was presented to show the type of arrest (was it Domestic Violence or was it targeted arrests such as drug possession due to traffic stop, etc) Identifying the type of crime by Demographic shows how the arrest was made and how the perpetrator was identified. 5. There were four complaints to the Police Department last year. Two were internal. Perhaps this is an indication of a lack of comfort to make a complaint, and I would agree that calling can be intimidating (they do ask name, etc – and I have felt uncomfortable with some of this) but four complaints does not lend itself to data driven analysis. 6. There is a national and regional standard on bias training in the police force. To my knowledge, these standards are met. They may not be enough on the national or regional level to address disparity, community involvement, mental health, etc. That is a decision that we as a City must make. 7. The Interlocal Agreement with the City of Lynnwood governed the Social Worker. This ILA was cancelled or delayed, limiting access to the social worker.


  5. 8. Edmonds officers and executive leadership have participated in and have continued to learn from, events such as the South County CHART, the Forum on Policing and Policy, workshops (Verdant) on properly policing and assisting the mental health communities, and multiple other progressive organization workshops and policy development programs. These are facts that distort the lens of the report. Having some factual basis prior to writing an editorial report are the basis for sound decisions. These were omitted from the report. My second points, there are huge positives in this report. They should be taken to heart and leveraged by the Edmonds Police Department. 1. Community Policing is extremely important. The addition of community service officers who are unarmed with lethal weapons and in casual police uniforms would be of great assistance in any community. Specialized training on outreach, mental health, counseling, family and close partner domestic resolution, youth resolution would all be beneficial and show a more community based policing effort that seeks to build community engagement. 2. Mental Health and addiction issues are a challenge for every police force in the United States. Use of force is higher in mental health and addiction arrests. Both arrests present a challenge for the officers. Specialized units trained to handle mental health and addiction arrests could be a solution (a crisis management patrol). I am not sure if Edmonds has a unit of this nature. 3. Perception and community involvement is paramount. Ride alongs, increased visibility at public functions, additional public forums throughout the various communities would be a huge benefit to Edmonds. Specifically targeted topics via Town Hall or virtually would allow for residents to attend for a greater understanding on both sides. Please note, the Police cannot force residents to attend. Residents can force the police to be more community based.


  6. My apologies – my last comment was 503 errored. I will pick up from where I left off.

    4. Implicit bias training for the police force is always a better approach. Additional training in any area is a better approach. Any time a person or department has the ability to use lethal force, training is paramount. This does not imply this training is not happening in Edmonds, it is a statement that training can never be overstated.

    5. Serving all of the Community is extremely important. It is a wonderful thing to have feedback that reflects the Edmonds community. Equity and Justice task forces do just that.

    There are always improvements that can be made. Although this report is highly subjective and accusatory in nature, and the improvements are general in nature without proven programs for success, it is hard to argue with betterment.


  7. The negative and misleading nature of this report is voluminous. There are major portions that are a misguided false narrative taken from the lens that Edmonds PD is doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons. The use of loaded ambiguos terminology clearly shows this. Here are the negatives that I see –

    1. There is only 1 statistic listed in the report. This limits benchmarking and improvement measurement. This is typical in many holistic subjective editorials. It is also an unfair argument to present as fact.

    2. Edmonds is perceived as bowl centric because the City Offices, the Courthouse and The Police Station are downtown. The City Administration, past and present, have the luxury of working in the most expensive part of the community. Highway 99 requires redevelopment. City Administration (current and previous) have ignored the opportunity to take action to spur the Highway 99 development, move to more underserved communities, and develop a Gateway to our town by moving the offices to that location. This study does not focus on this solution.

    3. The use of the word Token is extremely subjective. The use of terms “uncomfortable body language” are highly subjective, and unless noted by a professional, are here say. There was no follow up with the Detective who was marginalized by being called a “token”.

    4. Gaslighting is an ambiguous and undefinable term that is a personal perception term. It cannot be measured, defined, or even explained consistently across social activist groups.

    5. There is a famous commercial that uses the approach of population bias to make statements of fact that are misleading. This report reflects clear population bias. Five officers were interviewed. Much like “4 out of 5 Dentists recommend Trident” is ambigous (how many did they interview, was this all the dentists, or did theyt just pick 4)


  8. 5. (cont) I am 100% sure that the entire Police Department of Edmonds would be willing to answer any survey questions. I am also 100% sure that a larger population of the CIty of Edmonds (both in marginalized groups and other) would be willing to provide perceptions and feedback. The report suffers from a statement of fact with heavy population bias.

    6. There is no plan of action from this report that is easily understood, clearly executable, and holds the City to both a fiscally measurable and socially measurable standard. I can say I need to lose weight. That does not hold me to a standard to show improvement or explain how I will do it. Take for instance the report mentioned in the report – The City of Beaverton. It can be found here –

    This plan is a CITYWIDE study. It clearly shows that it is an entire city effort, encompassing every facet of the City, based in clear facts. Perhaps the City should take a holistic approach versus “cherry picking” departmentally areas that get the greatest political traffic.

    In conclusion, this is why I have a very difficult time with Mayor Nelson and certain members of Council. We hear a lot of stuff. What we hear is misleading. What we see is not measurable. What we see is not inclusive and does not reflect an unbiased study.

    I ask the Mayor and Council to set benchmarks, set measurable goals, provide real statistics, and manage to those statistics. With the current Mayor, this will not happen. It is easier to say that we are a bad city than it is to demonstrate where we are a bad city, and then fix it.

    Searching out answers in a vacuum, pardon the pun, suck.


      1. I cannot say the thought has not crossed my mind. I am still pondering what the right thing for me and my family is. This recent trend in American Local politics is alarming. I firmly believe that my vote at the National and State level is a non-sequitur. (The number of PAC’s involved is amazing, and the follow the money is amazing. I am by no means implying impropriety here, but look at Strom’s donations once he was appointed the head of gaming. Money buys access – and I do not have any of that).

        I prefer grass roots movements that think globally and act locally. Speech has gotten dangerous, thought has gotten dangerous, data has gotten dangerous, accountability has gotten dangerous. It is too bad. I can still have a beer or coffee or tea or whiskey or water with any of the people on Council or City Administration. They may not like my views, but that does not mean civility should not rule the day. After all, when the game has ended, all of the pieces end up in the same box. (Old Arabic saying…)


    1. @George Bennett Thank you for a most thoughtful and detailed response to the subject report on public safety. Your comment speaks of a desire for genuine “unity” of the whole collective, without a stain of trending narratives. It is clear that you actually read the report, as your words echo the voice of reason. Citing sources to support the basis of your response, reveals integrity and your sincere willingness to seek understanding of issues you may not have personally experienced. That kind of strength come from true humility and a desire for knowledge. No matter what a person’s location, income, religion, nationality, race; ALL can feel welcome to the table you offer to set and share in the breaking of bread. I would savor such a meal that checked (apparent) differences at the door, allowing everyone to learn of their delightful similarities. Please continue to post your ideas. We are listening.


  9. I read the entire report and correct me if I’m wrong but the Edmonds city council gave $47,500 to a Critical Race Theory consultant so that consultant can recommend the city allocate additional city funds for Critical Race Theory consulting/training? All to fix a problem that is hinted at but not defined?

    If there were any real issues, research, or data in this report it wouldn’t feel like another Race Hustle like so many I’ve seen played within the CA Universities I’ve worked for. Hopefully something non-destructive will come out of this.


    1. That money could have been used for better things. We need to get the scientists working on the question of whether or not pancake batter is practically the same a waffle batter. If they’re the same, then our problems are halved.


    2. Correction Mr. Anderson, the City Council had NOTHING to do with approving any funding for this report nor did we have any input with any of the Mayors’ task forces. I don’t know if members of Council or public will be given any minutes or details regarding the selection of this consultant, etc and again, he has this administrative authority.

      Many citizens have contacted me and asked many questions regarding this project and process. Some want to know if ALL departments will be reviewed? I have asked a number of questions of the Mayor so Council and citizens can be brought up to speed.

      One must remember, the Mayor has a limit of $100K for contracting capabilities.


      1. As we were reminded back in 2016 when three councilmembers sent a “minority opinion” letter to the Washington State Department of Ecology, City Council is a Legislative Body.

        Councilmember Laura Johnson participated on this Task Force. Did City Council as a Legislative Body vote to allow her to do so?

        Did she possess knowledge her fellow Councilmembers did not have when she participated on votes related to Police Chief? How can that have been allowed?

        Councilmember Buckshnis represents above “nor did we have any input with any of the Mayors’ task forces”.

        How can that happen when a Councilmember is on the Task Force? I need to give this deeper thought, but this situation doesn’t feel right to me.


        1. If a Councilmember is appointed to a Task Force, should they be designated as an ex officio member on that task force? Does City Council have rules and procedures that govern?:

          1. How a Councilmember is chosen to be an ex officio member of a Task Force.

          2. The level of influence the Councilmember can exert on the Task Force without approval of remainder of Council.

          3. Reporting responsibilities back to full City Council so Council is kept informed of what is taking place on the Task Force.

          Simply trying to figure out how this is supposed to work.


  10. The Mayor and this panel sit in a room and decide that the EPD is not adequately addressing the social services needs of it’s residents. Have this Mayor and this panel ever had any real life experience with our officers?

    I found my mother this week non responsive in her condo and had no idea what to do and called 911. Paramedics and 3 officers came immediately. They asked me how I was doing and consoled me. They determined she had passed and the EPD officers stayed and were totally professional in recommending asked if I wanted a Chaplain and placed the call for me. She then later explained the procedures and called the funeral home for me, arranged transportation and told me when they would be coming to pick up my mother. The officer also offered to stay with me as long as I needed her.

    Don’t tell me the EPD doesn’t adequately address social service needs of our community Mayor. You and your panel disgust me. Take your agenda somewhere else.


    1. I’m very sorry for your loss, Mike; a difficult time for you and your family. I’m glad the officers who responded were able to help in such a professional and compassionate manner.


  11. G.B. totally schooled the citizens and the mayor on what a general load of bised bunk this report represents. When the all powerful Mayor initiates a study, he/she, without fail, will get back what they want to hear. As long as we are willing to be suckers, we will be and have no one to blame but ourselves. Put up your signs, speak up and get active like George. Well done my friend.


    1. I am not doing this for kudos. I am doing this to repair and invite voices to my table, and hopefully be invited to their table. Sides are made for walls. The center of the room is made for fellowship.

      I want to learn, heR, feel, and know the pain that marginalized communities experience. I am a white middle aged man. I don’t know the struggle my wife faced. I never served in the military, I don’t know what our veterans face. I am not an undocumented resident. I don’t know what they face. I am not a young black male. I cannot fathom the fear.

      What I can do us bring people to the middle of the room. We need to dance, celebrate, weep, grieve, and build together. There will always be people who believe it is their job to hold up the walls. While they are doing that, the rest of us should dance.

      I don’t want to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. I end up a mile away, and they end up with no shoes. I want to walk a mile beside them. That’s all. No more sides or blue or red. Solutions measured by progress, not rhetoric measured by votes.

      Everyone deserves a warm meal and warmer ears.


      1. George, you got a little long-winded further up the page, but your conclusions here are totally on the mark, perfectly stated. What Edmonds desperately needs is more civic engagement, more community conversation, so we can all better understand one another. And this necessarily involves elected officials, our mayor and city council. We are way overdue for some Town Hall discussions, where citizens can ask questions and get answers in real time in a public forum.


  12. Edmonds city council: “Edmonds needs to deal with problems of racism”
    Racism apologists: “There is no racism in Edmonds”
    Edmonds Mayor: “For the sake of all people in our city, we need to address racism”
    Apologists: “Stop saying there is racism. Saying it is worst than having it!”
    Edmonds children and teachers: “We need to deal with the problem of racism in our schools”
    Apologists: “Those other kids who dont look like us are just all criminals. There’s no racism!”
    Edmonds residents of color: “Edmonds has a serious racism problem and we dont feel safe because of it”
    Apologists:”You’re liars and criminals! If you don’t like it, go back where you came from! We liked ‘our’ city better before you people showed up. Make Edmonds Great Again!”
    News outlets, former law enfocement and residents of neighboring cities: “There sure are a lot of instances of racism and hate in Edmonds”
    Apologists: “Dont listen to ‘those’ people. Listen to us, the people that “matter”.
    Unpaid volunteer group established to give voice to residents of color:”We’ve studied it and experienced it. Edmonds has a racism problem”
    Apologists: “Those ‘outside’ agitators are paid to call us racist! They are “real” Edmonds people like us. They don’t “look like” what people from Edmonds should. Here is a 18 paragraph misogynistic, unsubstantiated editorial of why people of color are wrong about racism in Edmonds, written by someone who isn’t a person of color and probably doesn’t know any aside from low wage hires beneath him at work. Trust me, I don’t write this for a pat on the back from my fellow apologists. I write this because I’m just that good a guy…who needs to tell you all those minorities are lying”.


    1. Sweet. Now I am an old rich white guy who.lives in the bowl who suffers from fragility and thinks from the perspective of an apologist. (I don’t live in the bowl, am not sure what an apologist is, and am well aware of my fragility)

      Thats not going to fit on my campaign t-shirt. Maybe an acronym. ORWGBFA.

      I don’t know why we are arguing for the same cause, and probably could agree on a solution that is more than blow hard. Did you actually read the report and the facts?


  13. And Ashley, the firepit is always open, the door is too.

    I posted my LinkedIn earlier, feel free to reach out, and perhaps we can break bread and find common ground, I would love to know your history and hope you feel the same.

    Have a great weekend!


  14. George, I never said you lived in the bowl, or even mentioned the bowl. I never called you anything. You answered for yourself, so you must be aware at some level who was who in that analogy.

    Unless your facts to agree upon begin with “Racism is a problem in Edmonds, especially for people of color, and most residents, including those who aren’t of color, are aware of this and want to address and mitigate it”, there is nothing to agree with. You and those who agree with you say that the abuse doesn’t exist. The majority and those that experience it say it does. People of color aren’t looking to “find common ground” with those who defend or support abuses towards us. Sorry, that isn’t the narrative here.

    But I will say, it isnt a good look to go on a massive tirade attacking the claims of residents of color and an unpaid volunteer group created to research their concerns then paint yourself as the victim of those “big mean minorities attacking poor white citizens in wealthy parts of town”. Honest objective criticism, it’s a bad look, even if the political echo chamber that cheers you own says otherwise. Thats free advice. Take it as you will. Peace be with you.


    1. If you are not a person of color, I would like to ask that you please stop treating people of color as a humongous, hive mind, that all have the exact same problems and think the exact same way. If you are a person of color, and feel comfortable sharing, I think we would all benefit if you shared some of your experiences that highlight racism in Edmonds. I have never felt unsafe (That is to say, in physical danger) anywhere in Edmonds at any time. There have been times when I felt unwelcome, or that a person I was interacting with took issue with me because of the color of my skin, but those incidents are few and far inbetween.


  15. “Here is a 18 paragraph misogynistic, unsubstantiated editorial of why people of color are wrong about racism in Edmonds, written by someone who isn’t a person of color and probably doesn’t know any aside from low wage hires beneath him at work.”

    Those are your words. I know nothing about you. You know the same about me. I do not know this group you speak of, and the invite, as always, is still open.

    I gladly accept your free advice, and wish the same peace for you and your family.

    The same words you used against me – you bring out. I do not care if the echo chamber cheers me, in fact, I prefer dialogue with you, it gives me the opportunity to learn. If you surround yourself with people who always agree with you, look exactly the same as you, and think the same way, well, you be the judge.

    Again, I hope you and your family are healthy and safe in Edmonds. I look forward to working with you.


    1. Mr. Bennett,

      This is in reply to your link, in a much earlier comment, to the UTube video of Comfort Eagle performing Cake. Here is my favorite, uniting video by Janelle Monae, which I think is highly relevant to this discussion. I love your statement that, among other things, we need to dance together. I have thought that for many, many years. When you listen and watch this amazing video, think about dancing with other members of our wonderful Edmonds community. That’s what I do, every time I dance to Janelle Monae.


  16. The Mayor and City Council are elected to involve themselves in practical matters. This isn’t.

    Most reasonably intelligent people recognize this for the drivel that it is. Mr. Bennett’s comments address the details, so I won’t repeat them. I just wanted to be a little more direct.

    By the way, Mr. Bennett, if you do run for a council position, you have my vote. Someone’s got to stop the Seattle Disease from infecting Edmonds.


  17. George, I can truly hear your desire to find a place where people can sit and talk about differences in a respectful way. I appreciate your desire.
    I also don’t agree with the tone of Ashley’s response.
    I do understand where her tone comes from. It is exhausting trying to be heard when the same people on this newsletter consistently tell her/others they are wrong or worse (crazy leftist socialist).
    I am thankful for Ashley, Alicia, and others for speaking up for those that are just to tired of being shouted down. I want to hear all sides/perspectives.
    What I find ironic is, readers only have to read these letters and responses to know there is something not right in Edmonds.
    I ask that you try to hear Ashley’s point of view through her words.
    And for those that feel they have the right to know if I even live in Edmonds… I do. First moved here in 1978 from Seattle.


    1. Some people just want to be angry, some genuinely want to understand and make things better for all and some just want to use social divisions to advance their political philosophical bonafides and placement in the pecking order.

      Edmonds has a systemic governmental problem that can only be changed by how we approach government. We are trying to solve problems that have little to do with real city government issues.

      As to racism in Edmonds, put up your signs and tell your true stories to MEN to make your points ring true or not. That’s everyman’s right in a true democracy.


  18. Thank you George, thank you Ashley, this thread is a beautiful example of the religious nature of race in 2021 and how argument on the topic is persistent to many, annoying to some, and heresy to others.

    A “Straw Man Fallacy” is an argument where someone takes another person’s argument or point, distorts it or exaggerates it and then attacks the distortion, as if that is really the claim the first person is making. The “Straw Man” phrase can be traced all the way back to 1520AD in Martin Luther’s book “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” where he is responds to arguments of the Roman Catholic Churches attempts to delegitimize his criticisms, specifically on the correct way to serve the Eucharist, “a re-enactment of the Last Supper.” The church claimed that Martin Luther argues against serving the Eucharist which Martin Luther never states, where in fact the Church themselves are making that argument. Their persistence in making this false argument causes him to coin the phrase: “they assert the very things they assail, or they set up a man of straw whom they may attack.”

    The mayor, some local citizens, and this “equity and social justice” report seek to elevate Race and Racism to the level of orthodoxy here in Edmonds. Remember that Orthodoxy is adherence to correct or accepted creeds making any discussion or debate religious in nature. The Mayor’s report states too many of our city staff exhibits, “implicit bias refusing to acknowledge the hierarchical system or privileges based on ethnicity, race, gender,, etc.” Their persistence in making this false argument should remind us of Martin Luther and to beware those who use straw man arguments for their own agendas for political, social, and financial gain.


  19. I’ve read the report. It is nothing but tripe including “white privilege”, “multicultural competency”, “structural racism, restorative justice” (and more). There is not one positive finding about our current and past police services which cannot be further from the truth.

    This was and is a set-up cast by Mayor Nelson to somehow create an impression and illusion that he is not an idiot. The police chief appointment was a fiasco from the get go. First his administrations failure to follow the existing code and then to not perform extensive and rigorous background search on the chosen person. Clearly, the Mayor’s appointment has tarnished the person further. But remember the Mayor and four councilmembers had the information and choose to ignore it. Secondary this report only blemishes the current Police Department and Acting Chief Lawless. Personally, after reading the report, how can any of police department staff want to continue to service under Mayor Nelson leadership.

    In your corporate work experience, the steps that former Police Chief Compann and Acting Police Chief Lawless in diversity of employees is the correct course and only course to combat racism and creating equality. Working with people with different ethic, social and cultural backgrounds creates opportunity to respect differences.

    Mayor Nelson doesn’t respond to my emails and answer my questions. I assume the Mayor doesn’t like old people that have lived in Edmonds longer than him! Shame on him.


  20. Back to the report…
    I would expect a review of any organization to start with data/facts related to a problem that needs to be addressed. The Task Force does not provide any data to pinpoint the problem areas. Instead, it seems the Task Force moves forward with the “feelings” of a small group without any data from those that live in Edmonds and limited inclusion of those most effected by this report, the Police Department. If there are specific instances of poor decisions or behavior in an organization, those specific instances can help guide a path for correction. One would ask why the “feeling” of the Task Force are beneficial in correcting a problem that is not clearly defined by past behavior by providing Data andFacts. So Data should be a driving force in this report, but there is none.
    Also, those most directly impacted by this report are not fully involved as they only take information from a handful of Police department employees. The Task Force does not meet it’s own requirement to include those that should be at the table. The reports comes across as extremely biased against Police.
    I’m hopeful that this report is a draft and first attempt to be inclusive of all citizens and those that are most impacted by the findings of this report (the Police Department).
    I appreciate the hard work of this task force, but believe they need to have a basis for this report rooted in data and they need to be inclusive by allowing public input/involvement.


  21. Mayor Nelson is certainly an expert at one thing – creating a false narrative with no evidence whatsoever and then being the ‘hero’ that saves the city from this fake problem.

    Lets take the “housing criisis”…. What housing crisis? Where is the evidence of a housing crisis other than maybe a single case of a person not being able to afford a house in a neighborhood where they want to live. This is not a housing crisis!!! its the free market people. I have never heard of a case of “redlining” in Edmonds where a person is excluded from buying or renting because of his or her color or age or sexual orientation. Where is the evidence of a housing crisis.

    As far as the Equity and Social Justice task force, I can almost guaranteee when you hire a consultant, you get the result you want. The sad thing is that we paid $40K+ for a report that the consultant probably generated in an hour–its all boiler plate. The Mayor, to cover up for his huge mishandling of the Police Department search has to dump Kaka on the existing police department personnel and management again with no specific evidence.


  22. The Susan Paine, Luke Distelhorst and Laura Johnson letter posted on MEN on December 12, 2020 statement on Police Chief Selection.

    In that letter the councilmembers’ refer to three insights into the current policing in our community with web links to those issues; the removal of School Resource Officers, recent non-compliance with a municipal order and reluctance for improvements in the DWLS (Driving while license suspended) process.

    The Social Justice & Equity Report includes an interview with Judge Colburn and points out the issue of the municipal order compliance. The case was about alleged Driving under the influence and with a suspended driving license. At a previous hearing the defense attorney motioned for the Edmonds officers to appear in court for the jury trail to be in civilian attire. The Judge granted this order. The Prosecutor on the day of the Jury Trial motioned to dismiss the case without prejudice. The tape recording that can be accessed from the councilmembers’ statement. It clearly illustrates the Judges dissatisfaction with the Prosecutor’s responses to her questions.

    Judge Colburn action was to dismiss the DUI with prejudice. When in my opinion a better ruling would have been to deny the Prosecutor’s motion to dismiss and have the jury trial. The one police officer that decided to disobey dress code order could have been sanction for his misconduct. Instead, Judge Colburn decided it is okay to drive drunk and without a driver’s license, instead of upholding the rule of law.

    I think these councilmembers had the report in December.


  23. Did the task force and consultant ever interview any of the social services agencies that actually work with the police?


  24. This report simply asks if the police department uses a DEI (diversity, equity & inclusion) lens. It pinpoints deficiencies – gives examples and both objective and subjective editorial. It does not bash the police department, but presents an opportunity to put in place measures to improve so they can serve the community better AND avoid some of the things we see nationally.
    How anyone could take issue with that is beyond me – unless, of course, they are comfortable with and working to uphold white supremacy.


  25. I could only get through part of the report. Unless things have changed for the worse since I retired in 2011, the report is full of falsehoods. Nobody working for the police department would arrest anyone without probable cause. Also, nobody gets “targeted” as implied by the report. With the current state of the country, don’t you think that any instance of harassment or prejudicial treatment would be immediately made into a lawsuit? Another thing, having a judge that requires officers to wear street clothes just shows the prejudice and bias of the judge, two things that a judge is not supposed to have. Uniforms make officers immediately identifiable and the uniform comes with, sometimes, vital equipment to keep citizens and officers safe. The defendant will have likely already seen the officer in uniform, so claiming intimidation in court , in my opinion, is baseless and ridiculous.


  26. “Are you a person of color”

    I’d figure thats a pretty obvious “yes”. Hence the “us” when referencing people of color.

    So, with that out of the way, I would like to ask that those who aren’t people of color in Edmonds please stop dismissing, insulting, whitesplaining, and gaslighting the experiences and endurances of actual people of color. You aren’t selling this idea that “those latino, black and native people are just happy as can be with things as they are here in Edmonds! Everyone is happy and gets along and no one feels unsafe!”

    Spare us all please.

    “Thank you George, thank you Ashley, this thread is a beautiful example of the religious nature of race in 2021 and how argument on the topic is persistent to many, annoying to some, and heresy to others.”

    Nope. Race and racism are and always have been problems in America. Trying to create an objective false equivalence between those who experience racism and those who propagate it is the modern way of a wife beater blaming his wife for making him assault her. There is no equivocation.

    “Did the task force and consultant ever interview any of the social services agencies that actually work with the police?”

    Did you read the report? This question was answered.

    “The Task Force does not meet it’s own requirement to include those that should be at the table. The reports comes across as extremely biased against Police.”

    Yet the reports findings that bias against residents of color, particularly native, black and latino residents is somehow acceptable. :sigh: I’m wondering if racism apologists are aware of how transparent they are.

    The harder the racism apologists excuse and deflect for racism and the experiences of latino, black and native residents, the more glaring their actual viewpoint is to anyone looking.


    1. Ashley: I did read the whole report and it looks like no social services agencies were interviewed. This quote is from the report about who they interviewed:

      Members of the Task Force were interviewed to provide their own individual assessments (and those with community members) of the Edmonds Police Department. A summary of the interviews is provided in the Appendices. In addition, the two work teams met, determined what information they wanted to include in this report, developed interview questions and conducted interviews with the Police Department, Judge Coburn of the Community Court, and Mindy Wood, Human Services Coordinator.

      So, it looks like the task force was interviewed, EPD, the Judge and the Human Services Coordinator (who works for the city and is a close friend of the mayor). No one that actually does the work of services in the community were intereviewed. That is pretty biased.


  27. Also, I just had to laugh at anyone saying “I don’t agree with the ‘tone’ of that person of color telling me, a white person, that they experience racism and its a problem”. I honestly laughed at that. People of color don’t have a duty to “be nice and supplicant to those who support abuses towards us”. If thats what you got out of MLK, Caesar Chavez, and Russell Means, I honestly don’t know what to tell you other than you were listening to the wrong parts.

    That is the most laughable whiteplaining argument I’ve read on this article. Far above George’s dissertation on white people of color are wrong about the existence of racism in town.


    1. My review of the report was not, is not, and does not deny, downplay, whitewash, gaslight, mansplain racism in Edmonds. Nor was it intended to do so.

      There is racism and systemic bias in Edmonds.

      Is the cause ignorance, systemic design, cultural, or other? My beliefs are that it is a combination. No matter my beliefs, I pointed out areas that I saw as positive.

      I also stated facts that reflect the willingness of the Department to make a difference.

      All of the other stuff about attacks and downplaying and words I don’t understand or know, there wasn’t anything intended to be malicious.

      Progress should not overlook where successful programs and policies have been implemented. Does that mean there isn’t more progress to be made?


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