King County will begin escorting public sector workers based in Seattle's Downtown and Pioneer Square to a nearby train station and ferry terminal on Nov. 15, as crime increases to record levels in Washington's largest city.
"King County is launching a 'Walking Bus' pilot program where county employees can join their colleagues and a Facilities Management Division (FMD) Security Escort each evening walking to the King Street Station and the Coleman Dock from the downtown campus," the announcement reads.
Public workers will meet security guards at the King County Courthouse, 4th Avenue entrance, and begin walking about 10 minutes to the King Street Station. A second route to the Coleman Dock ferry terminal will take about 20 minutes.
No provision is made for private sector workers based in the same area.
Seattle had 438 reports of shots fired in all of 2020. In 2021, that number currently stands at 509 for the year. Further, an estimated 4,433 violent crimes have been committed so far in 2021, per the city's official crime dashboard.
The security staff planned to escort the city workers are only issued pepper spray and bulletproof vests as standard, something they are sounding the alarm about, according to KOMO News.
"I've come across people with weapons," an anonymous King County security guard told KOMO. "I've come across verbal threats on my life."
Councilwoman Kathy Lambert has called for legislation that would provide county security guards with batons, handcuffs, and tasers while they're on duty.
"The people that we are relying on to take care of us need to be fully equipped and trained," Lambert said to the same outlet in August.
News of the walking bus broke a day after the Seattle City Council proposed a new budget slashing $10 million from the Seattle Police Department (SPD).
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