HB 1557 attempts to mobilize communities to insist on accountable and engaged public safety and to establish cooperative lines of communication between civilians and law enforcement through a community and law enforcement partnership. The bill would create the safe streets pilot project in the department of commerce to foster community engagement through neighborhood organizing, law enforcement-community partnerships, neighborhood watch programs, youth mobilization, and business engagement. The legislature intends to use the safe streets pilot project to measure and examine the impact of safe streets initiatives on community engagement, criminal activity, and improved community-police relationships, and evaluate whether the safe streets initiative is a model for other communities to improve public safety. The pilot project must include one grant award to an eligible applicant, a nongovernmental organization that is located west of the crest of the Cascade mountains and has experience in police-community engagement, which must be selected and receive grant funds by November 1, 2017.
The bill would require the department of commerce, in consultation with the state institute for public policy, to develop reporting guidelines for a grant recipient in order to measure whether the pilot project had an impact on crime rates and community engagement with, and perceptions of, law enforcement. The department, in consultation with the Washington state institute for public policy would have to submit a report on the results of the project by December 2019.