Seattle’s Homeless Camp Removal Protocol: If They Refuse to Obey, Let ‘em Stay

How’s this for a government vagrant removal “protocol?” As I understand it, as explained on a morning radio talk show, the city of Seattle has set into place a system to remove “homeless” encampments from city streets. One of the city’s many homeless hovels is currently blighting 2nd Avenue, Downtown.

Seattle’s protocol for sidewalk encampment removal requires all agencies involved in the cleanup, police, DSHS, solid waste, etc., be present at the location to complete a removal. All of them for the entire time.

Since the police had to leave—you know—to do real police work, and some of the lovely “beneficiaries of liberal largess” refused mother city’s request to stop defiling Downtown sidewalks, the “eviction” ended.

This protocol is insane and is designed to appear as if liberal city leaders are doing something about the vagrancy problem when they are doing the opposite: making it worse.  


Liberal government has been the rule in Seattle forever

Except for a few respites with a conservative city attorney, liberal government presided over Seattle during my police career. Over more than two decades, the city hasn’t solved the “homeless” problem; they’ve made it worse—much worse.

This is not a new problem. Several years ago, shortly before I retired, I remember walking on the sidewalk northbound on Broadway between Madison and Union Streets. I was in uniform, on duty. Someone had set up a tent on the sidewalk next to a city telephone pole.

Even many Seattleites driving by looked at me incredulously, as I did nothing. What could I do? My city had de-policed me. If I had rousted the occupant, the city might accuse me of a civil rights violation. Why would any cop risk that?

Ironically, it’s illegal to camp in a city park. At least, it used to be.    

The above lunacy recently led to the death of a 19-year-old street-camper run over by a car at an I-5 off-ramp in the U. District.


Liberal policies have never been and never will be successful—by design

The liberal’s attempts to solve Seattle’s vagrancy problem has been a disaster and will continue to be. The people living in tents along freeways and on city sidewalks are not the homeless families and mentally ill folks Seattle’s bleating hearts would like you to believe. Not most of them, anyway. Most I’ve dealt with were chronically inebriated criminals who eschewed civil society and reveled in their make-believe, makeshift communities. 


Seattle: no respect for “homeless” as people responsible for their lives

The situation will not be resolved until Seattle’s liberal, political power seekers begin to respect these people as human beings, not children, by holding them responsible for the state of their lives and for their actions.

There is nothing wrong with also offering these folks any services available. However, if they are not held accountable for the condition of their lives or their irresponsible actions, why not choose the handouts and false sympathy that keep these folks perpetually contemptuous of civil society and dependent on liberal government?

It’s an insult to those who have courageously dragged themselves out of the mire of drug and alcohol addiction, crime, and the resulting poverty, to give the sidewalk campers a pass.

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  1. Chris Givens says:

    Hey Steve, Again im glad i stumbled on to your site. Been reading some of your articles. Sincerely appreciate you speaking your mind. We dont particularly see eye to eye politically. I doubt thats a problem for you any more than it is for me. Often i see Liberal and Conservative government as two sides of the same coin. Both will bow to popular opinion. And by the way Im a plumber. Im not from any press. I am an activists to some degree, maybe more so in the future, but more so in supportive roles for now. The truth is never black and white. It always has multiple perspectives. The solution rarely lies in popular opinion. But at this moment it seems that your no longer bound to politics and can say what you want to say with out consequence. As am i. I read your article on first amendment off duty. Ill have to dig into that more. I do agree that you should have the right to speak your mind when your not representing the community. Even if i disagree with what you have to say. It gives the community a chance to engage with the police and that i think is critical to policing. The police need the community and the community need the police to enforce the law. That trust has to be there for it work. I think DESC has done a lot to help resolve the homeless crissis. Just one sight housing the mentally ill has saved the city 3 million a year. It doesnt matter if i like the homeless or have any judgement on them on not. The results speak for themselves. That solution is not a partisan issue. I do think that the homelesnes crisis wont be solved by the politicians. Seems they just want to kick the can down the road or sweep it under the carpet and hope it goes away. Honestly and it sucks but i think the only way to be productive is to resolve it as a policing issue. But it sounds as though your hands are tied. Your perspective is that the majority of these folks are just drug addicted crooks. You have a closer look than me. Just curious. Thinking out of the box. Is there a special unit that deals with drug addiction like this as a social health issue. The people that have pulled themselves out of this circumstance as you mentioned and gone on to live productive lives. Is there any kind of policing dept or such that has focused on the issue in this way. I have no idea. Cant find anything definitive in the press. But you know the inner workings better. Would love to hear from you.

    • Steve Pomper says:


      Sorry for the delay. Just catching up with my replies to various correspondences. Your thoughtful inquiries/comments deserve responses.

      First, how does it feel not having a political party in which to participate? You are too much of a critical thinker and intellectually honest person to fit in with the “new” Democrat Party (ever since what happened to Bernie—though I loathe his political philosophy—I can’t bring myself to say “Democratic” party).

      Regarding the homeless “crisis,” so many on the left would have you believe the majority of the homeless are single mother victims of DV living with their children out of their cars or in homeless shelters. I don’t believe that to be the case. However, even if it were, when I hear “homeless,” I think of the piles of garbage under the freeways and off the city sidewalks near their makeshift camps. Tolerance of such incivility and criminality disgusts me. By the way, these are the “homeless” leftist governments seem to present as society’s victims, and the ones cops think of when they say, “the ‘homeless’ choose to be that way.” Applying the term “homeless” to what are bums and criminals has been immensely damaging to the truly homeless.

      I have sympathy for those in poverty due to life’s circumstances. And though I always respect a person’s humanity, I don’t have much sympathy for those who are in poverty due to repeated poor decisions—and who don’t attempt to rise out of it. My father took off when I was five, leaving my (immigrant) mother to raise three boys under six-years-old. She had to accept welfare but was never comfortable with it. She worked at a factory and made extra money cleaning house for a few clients until she worked her way off the dole. This while she saw so many others cheating the welfare system. This taught her boys a great life lesson. I’m only saying this to provide a background that shows I’m not ignorant of poverty—not even close.

      To answer one direct question, “Is there a special unit that deals with drug addiction like this as a social health issue?” To answer, I’ll ask a question: If the police had units such as this, what would be the purpose of social workers? I’m not being flip. So many people want the police to be what they are not. Cops deter crime when they can and investigate crime when they can’t. However, SPD does have a program where cops worked proactively with social workers to address assistance where an arrest was not warranted. Still, in my experience, most people I offered the service to declined. A few, however, did take advantage of the services offered and fewer still benefitted. I’ll say it was probably worth it. Remember, cops are not social workers, and they shouldn’t be. We may do things from time to time that emulate social work, but these situations develop organically and are usually directed at those who are true victims or who truly want to help themselves.

      But is “help” always help? Several years ago, after so many complaints from citizens of repeated criminal behavior by repeat offenders in Downtown, the acting-police chief sent a file of criminal cases involving more than two dozen repeat criminals to the city attorney for prosecution. The City sent the file back stating that they would not prosecute unless the police could prove they had offered an alternative to criminal charges in the form of “social work” type assistance. WHAT? This is lefty lunacy!!!

      I worked a beat with probably the highest saturation of mental health facilities in the city (and that’s saying something). I had a great relationship with most social workers and received several commendations from mental health agencies over my career.

      I suppose that’s enough for now. Thanks for the thought-provoking, intelligent questions.


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