8c. Memo

2023 Funds Transfer To VSWAT

AGENDA MEMORANDUM                        Item No.          8c 
ACTION ITEM                            Date of Meeting        July 25, 2023 

DATE:     June 28, 2023 
TO:        Stephen P. Metruck, Executive Director 
FROM:    Mike Villa, Port of Seattle Police Chief 
SUBJECT:  2023 Transfer of Funds to VSWAT 
Amount of this request:             $300,000.00 
Total estimated project cost:         $300,000.00 

Request Commission authorization for the Executive Director to transfer drug forfeiture funds in
the amount of $300,000.00 to the Regional Valley SWAT team (VSWAT). VSWAT will utilize these
funds as partial acquisition cost for a police armored response and rescue vehicle. Total cost of
the vehicle is $407,886.37. VSWAT partnering agencies of Kent, Renton, Federal Way, and Auburn
will contribute the remaining funds. 
The VSWAT team is a multi-agency response team comprised of members from Port of Seattle
Police Department (POSPD), Kent Police Department, Federal Way Police Department, Tukwila
Police Department, Renton Police Department, Auburn Police Department, and Des Moines
Police Department. Currently the POSPD  contributes one Sergeant and five officers who
represent the POSPD on the team of over 40 members. 
VSWAT conducts high risk warrant services and in-progress operations which involve armed and
dangerous suspects often associated with narcotic enforcement and interdiction. An essential
piece of equipment utilized in these high-risk operations  is armored vehicles. The team
conducted 66 callouts in 2022 and utilized the armored vehicles during all deployments except
for the POTUS visit at SEA. 
VSWAT currently utilizes two armored vehicles. These vehicles are essential to operational
success and safety, in that they provide ballistic protection to officers, allow time and cover, and
provide a platform for safe communications by hostage negotiators. They are integral to deescalation
principles and best practices. 

Template revised January 10, 2019.

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 8c                                   Page 2 of 4 
Meeting Date: July 25, 2023 
The vehicles are used as shared equipment via the Interlocal Cooperative Agreement among the
seven different partner agencies. This armored vehicle is being purchased to replace an aging 
2003 vehicle that is nearing its end of life. It is anticipated that VSWAT will be required to replace
the other aging 2008 vehicle in the next few years. The partner agencies intend to offset these
POSPD proposes that the agency members share in the cost of the new armored vehicle by
transferring $300,000 from its forfeiture account to VSWAT. 
The POSPD Drug Interdiction fund surpasses that of all the other agencies. As of June 28, 2023,
there is currently over $4,000,000 in the Port drug forfeiture account. The POSPD interdiction
team has averaged over $1,000,000 annually in cash seizures for the past four years and there
are sufficient funds to continue interdiction operations for several years without any additional
seizures necessary. 
By sharing this cost with Renton, Federal Way, Kent, and Auburn via our transfer of funds, the
team will be able to purchase this essential piece of equipment for the safety and security of all
of our officers. Furthermore, the use of these funds is restricted by state law and the armored
vehicle is an appropriate purchase.  Pursuant to RCW 69.50.505(10), these funds must be used
“exclusively  for  the  expansion  and  improvement  of  controlled  substances  related  law
enforcement activity. ... [and] may not be used to supplant preexisting funding sources.” In other
words, the only use of these funds must be towards things that enhance or improve narcotics
enforcement. The Port legal department has reviewed the transfer of funds to VSWAT for this
acquisition for compliance with applicable law and finds it to be an appropriate use of funds. 
It is not uncommon for the participating agencies to contribute to the VSWAT. Tukwila recently
contributed $100,000 for a team vehicle while the other agencies each contributed $20,000.
Tukwila’s Incident Command Vehicle and Auburn or Kent’s shooting ranges are other examples.
The Port of Seattle will transfer forfeiture funds in the amount of $300,000 to the VSWAT fiscal
agent, currently the City of Auburn. Auburn, Federal Way, Renton, and Kent will each contribute
$25,000. The remaining balance will come from the equipment and maintenance budge line of
the VSWAT account. As VSWAT is not an entity capable of owning assets, the City of Renton has
agreed to hold title and be responsible of insuring the vehicle. In the event it is ever sold, all the
proceeds from that sale  would be distributed as outlined in the Interlocal Cooperative
In this year’s legislative session, a bill was introduced relating to seizure and forfeiture procedures
and reporting. Under the guidance of Commissioner Hasegawa, the Port worked with the bill
sponsor, Rep. Hackney, to amend the bill to expand the Port’s use of forfeited funds in its
possession. Currently, RCW limits the Port to use such funds for illegal drug interdiction uses only.

Template revised June 27, 2019 (Diversity in Contracting).

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 8c                                   Page 3 of 4 
Meeting Date: July 25, 2023 
The adopted amendment would expand our authority to allow the Port to use forfeiture funds
for human trafficking and gun control interdiction. Unfortunately, the bill failed to advance
before the fiscal cutoff because the bill sponsor could not identify a state agency to act as the
enforcement authority to track forfeited property. We are working in the interim between
sessions to identify an agency to serve as the enforcement authority. Since we are the first half
of the biennium, the bill will automatically be reintroduced next session. 
Alternative 1 – Deny transfer of the funds. 
Cost Implications: No immediate cost. 
(1)   Retain current fund levels in forfeiture account. 
(1)   Safety risk to officers/subjects 
(2)   Further delay of replacing an aging vehicle with a new one 
This is not the recommended alternative. 
Alternative 2 – Authorize transfer of funds. 
Cost Implications: $300,000.00 from forfeiture funds. No reduction to general/operating funds. 
(1)   Increased performance over current vehicle. 
(2)   Aligns with the Port Commission Task Force on Policing and Civil Rights by having the
ability to utilize the armored vehicle as a de-escalation tool during high-risk operations. 
(3)   Upgraded armor provides improved safety to officers, subjects, and south King County
(1)   Requires $300,000.00 in forfeiture funds. 
This is the recommended alternative. 
$300,00.00 from Port forfeiture funds. 
Cost Estimate/Authorization Summary              Capital        Expense           Total 
Previous authorizations                                    0                0                0 
Current request for authorization               $300,000.00                0     $300,000.00 
Total authorizations, including this request      $300,000.00                0     $300,000.00 
Remaining amount to be authorized           $300,000.00             $0    $300,000.00 

Template revised June 27, 2019 (Diversity in Contracting).

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 8c                                   Page 4 of 4 
Meeting Date: July 25, 2023 

Annual Budget Status and Source of Funds 
Port of Seattle drug forfeiture account. No impact to budget. 

Template revised June 27, 2019 (Diversity in Contracting).


Limitations of Translatable Documents

PDF files are created with text and images are placed at an exact position on a page of a fixed size.
Web pages are fluid in nature, and the exact positioning of PDF text creates presentation problems.
PDFs that are full page graphics, or scanned pages are generally unable to be made accessible, In these cases, viewing whatever plain text could be extracted is the only alternative.