Mayor McGinn on guns, jobs and upgrading Seattle PD’s IT

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Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn appeared on KUOW 94.9 FM this morning, discussing a wide range of issues related to the city’s police department, transportation initiatives, guns and, of course, the prospects of the city getting a NBA (and NHL) franchise.

And while he only briefly touched on the city’s new startup initiative, he did mention a few areas where the city is investing in technology efforts, pointing to the Gigabit Squared broadband initiative as well as potential upgrades of the police department’s IT infrastructure. Those could include more up-to-date in-cruiser computers.

“There are some opportunities here to take a look at technology upgrades,” said McGinn, referring to in-cruiser computers. Asked whether the city has money to outfit cruisers with new systems, McGinn noted:

“Every budget decision carries with it consequences, so it is a question of prioritization.”

The issue of police cruiser cameras — and for that matter wearable cameras on officers — is a sensitive topic given that the department is facing scrutiny from the Justice Department which found recently that officers exhibited a pattern of excessive force. Earlier this week, the Seattle Police Department said that it would start a one-year trial to outfit about a dozen officers with wearable cameras as part of their uniforms.

“The issue of upgrading our police department IT — we have some money in reserve and we will see how our revenue forecast works,” said McGinn. “It is clearly an area we intend to work on, and will work on, but it will probably be multi-year and multi-million dollar type of project.”

He then added that the city is currently engaged in a multi-million dollar upgrade of the city data center, noting that the city data center has been “vulnerable” to loss of electricity.

McGinn, who is running for re-election this fall, touted his track record in boosting business and rebuilding the city’s so-called “rainy day fund” without any general tax increases. In today’s remarks, McGinn said that he’s been “very fiscally conservative” and that he’s worked hard to “respect and support the places that generate jobs and our identity.”