b'OPERATIONSSEA61Seattle-Tacoma Intl Emphasizes Compassion Regarding Homeless People in Terminal BY JODI RICHARDS Like many airports and other public facilities across boosting the lighting level in baggage claim; and the United States, Seattle-Tacoma International Airportlimiting access to pre-security seating and family restrooms. (SEA) has experienced an increase in unhoused peopleDespite such changes, police still couldnt take enforcement seeking shelter within its facilities. With a portion of that populationaction for thefts and some of the misdemeanor crimes because suffering from mental health issues, there have been assaults tothey couldnt book offenders into jail due to COVID constraints. The passengers and airport employees as well as security breaches orfacility changes also didnt address the behavioral issues underlying other incidents that cause facility shutdowns or flight delays.the assaults, some thefts and escalated interpersonal incidents.The Port of Seattle, which owns and operates SEA, isIn November 2022, the Port implemented a multi-faceted, co-evolving its approach to the complex challenges associated withresponder approach called SEA Cares, which takes immediate responding to such issues. The new strategy aims to increasesteps to ensure the safety of travelers and airport employees safety and security for guests and employees, while also providingwhile developing a long-term strategy for responding to and more assistance and support to people without housing. assisting people in crisis with compassion.An assessment by the agencys Task Force on Port Policing and Civil Rights recommended that the organization examineExpanding the Teamopportunities for moving away from a traditional police responseBased on recommendations from the Task Force, the Port added on homelessness as a key strategy for reducing externala full-time crisis coordinator a year later and a full-time mental disparities around the use of force. One primary goal was to usehealth professional to the Port of Seattle Police Department. The effective, but more compassionate, tactics.new personnel respond, with police officers, to calls at the airport Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic thatthat have a behavioral health or homelessness component. disrupted air travel (and so many other aspects of life) also exacerbated the issue. As complaints of unhoused individuals and people in crisis at SEA increased, Port police felt their hands were tied regarding how theyIS YOUR BUSINESS IMAGEcould respond. In that timeframe, we were dealing with COVID and we had bookingSEAN GILLEBO EVERYTHING IT COULD BE?restrictions at King County Jail, explains Sean Gillebo, deputy chief of Patrol Operations for the Port of Seattle Police Department. We were unable to book individuals or get them resources.But this wasnt just a policing problem. Many times, people look to the police to solve this, Gillebo adds. 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