Allow drinking in Seattle’s parks? Community Police Commission proposes such a change

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SEATTLE -- The Community Police Commission is recommending that the city of Seattle allow drinking in some public parks.  And that's not all.

The commission also recommends permitting drinking and drug use at some homeless shelters and sanctioned homeless camps.

"This whole thing came about because the CPC is looking for a way to reduce the impact these public consumption citations have on African Americans and Native Americans," said Josias Flynn, of the Seattle Community Police Commission.

The CPC is composed of 15 people appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council. They include people from communities of color, ethnic and faith communities, immigrant communities, the urban Indian community, the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community, civil rights advocates, the business community, individuals familiar with the challenges faced by homeless people and those with mental illness or substance abuse issues, and youth.

One member represents the Seattle Police Officers Guild and one represents the Seattle Police Management Association. CPC members live or work in all five Seattle police precincts.

As part of its proposal, the CPC cited a recent study that showed that 23% of alcohol-related public consumption citations between Jan. 1, 2013, and Aug. 31, 2014, were black and 13% were Native American.

The CPC also recommends "safe zones' for injecting and smoking drugs under medical supervision.

"The homeless who are addicted to drugs or alcohol ... the facts show they're going to use those substances and they have nowhere else to go so they use them in public," said Flynn.

There's no comment from the mayor's office and the panel says these are only recommendations.