This Changes Everything
Ep. 6 - When Defunding the Police Meets Political Reality (Season 2)

Ep. 6 - When Defunding the Police Meets Political Reality (Season 2)

January 28, 2021

More than 6 months after first pledging to rethink public safety, city leaders face opposition. What’s next?

As anti-racism protesters filled city streets this past summer with calls for a radical rethinking of public safety, a majority of Seattle City Council members responded by committing to cut the city's police budget by 50%. But making good on that promise has been difficult.

In this, the final episode of This Changes Everything’s focus on efforts to defund the police, Sara Bernard and David Kroman discuss the political pain and potential ramifications that have come since the council members committed to those cuts.

So far, the council has made cuts to the city police budget amounting to nearly 20%. Will they make those additional cuts? Will oppositional forces prevent them from doing so? What comes next? One thing about the future is known: The hard work of reforming the police force is still to come.

This six-part podcast. produced by Bernard and reported by Kroman, takes a close look at challenges of policing today and whether it’s possible to downsize the police force and create a new public safety regime that is more equitable and safe.

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Credits

Host, producer: Sara Bernard

Reporter: David Kroman

Story editor: Donna Gordon Blankinship

Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten

Read the full transcript here.

Ep. 5 - Defund, Then What? Activist Ideas for Police Dollars (Season 2)

Ep. 5 - Defund, Then What? Activist Ideas for Police Dollars (Season 2)

January 28, 2021

Many activists leading the call to defund the police say the answer to disproportionate policing is to take money from the cops and give it to communities. But change is never as easy as writing new lines in a city budget.

In this episode of This Changes Everything’s look at efforts to defund the police, Sara Bernard and David Kroman examine emerging community programs that are seeking to take the place of police as a way to dismantle the systemic racism that has long been part of the American criminal justice system.

These Seattle programs look to keep members of the city’s Black and brown communities, in particular, out of the criminal justice system by redirecting at-risk community members with various forms of support.

This six-part podcast, produced by Bernard and reported by Kroman, takes a close look at challenges of policing today and whether it’s possible to downsize the police force and create a new public safety regime that is more equitable and safe.

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Credits

Host, producer: Sara Bernard

Reporter: David Kroman

Story editor: Donna Gordon Blankinship

Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten

Read the full transcript here

Ep. 4 - A Ride Along With a Police Alternative (Season 2)

Ep. 4 - A Ride Along With a Police Alternative (Season 2)

January 28, 2021

As cities have searched for non-police options for crisis response, many have arrived in an unlikely place: Eugene, Oregon.

In this episode of This Changes Everything’s focus on efforts to defunding the police, host Sara Bernard heads to Eugene for a virtual ride along with CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets), an inventive and unique effort to respond to crisis calls with social workers instead of police. 

In the calls to defund police and invest in alternatives, CAHOOTS has become the model. We get the real story about how it works and what problems it faces and consider the question: Is the program scalable from a small city like Eugene to a bigger metropolis like Seattle?

This six-part podcast, produced by Bernard and reported by David Kroman, takes a close look at challenges of policing today and whether it’s possible to downsize the police force and create a new public safety regime that is more equitable and safe.

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Credits

Host, producer: Sara Bernard

Reporter: David Kroman

Story editor: Donna Gordon Blankinship

Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten

Read the full transcript here. 

Ep. 3 - Who’s to Blame When Crisis Calls Go Wrong (Season 2)

Ep. 3 - Who’s to Blame When Crisis Calls Go Wrong (Season 2)

January 28, 2021

Seattle police have undergone additional training to better respond to people in crisis, but still things go wrong and people die. Why?

Seattle police, more than many police departments, have extensive training to improve their response to people in crisis — but people are still dying. In this episode of This Changes Everything’s focus on defunding the police, we look at what happens when things go wrong. 

Reporter David Kroman revisits the case of Charleena Lyles, a young Black mother who was killed by Seattle police in one of the department's most controversial incidents. There is little doubt that Lyles' death was the result of a failure, but there is disagreement over where the blame for that failure lies. 

To understand what happened and what it can tell us about the complicated role of police in crisis calls, Kroman explores the choices made by officers on the day of Lyles' death, as well as those made within the system before the encounter.

This six-part podcast, produced by Sara Bernard and reported by David Kroman, takes a close look at challenges of policing today and whether it’s possible to downsize the police force and create a new public safety regime that is more equitable and safe.

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Credits

Host, producer: Sara Bernard

Reporter: David Kroman

Story editor: Donna Gordon Blankinship

Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten

Full transcript available here.

Ep. 2 - Cops, Crisis Calls and Conflict Over Who Should Help (Season 2)

Ep. 2 - Cops, Crisis Calls and Conflict Over Who Should Help (Season 2)

January 28, 2021

The debate over public safety is filled with disagreements, but almost everyone agrees on one thing: We need another option for people in crisis.

In this episode of This Changes Everything’s focus on defunding the police, reporter David Kroman rides along with Sandlin Grayson, a member of the Seattle Police Department Crisis Response Team, to observe how the police approach crisis calls. 

Kroman then speaks to the team at the Downtown Emergency Service Center, one of Seattle’s largest nonprofits serving the homeless. Although they have some appreciation for cops like Grayson, they argue that there must be a better way to help people in crisis. 

This six-part podcast, produced by Sara Bernard, takes a close look at challenges of policing today and whether it’s even possible to downsize the police force and create a new public safety regime that is more equitable and safe.

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Credits

Host, producer: Sara Bernard

Reporter: David Kroman

Story editor: Donna Gordon Blankinship

Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten

Full transcript available here.

Ep. 1 - How Reform Gave Way to ‘Defund the Police’ in Seattle (Season 2)

Ep. 1 - How Reform Gave Way to ‘Defund the Police’ in Seattle (Season 2)

January 28, 2021

The city spent a decade working to reform its police department. Then, the turmoil of 2020 started a new movement.

In the midst of the anti-racism protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last spring, a new cry went out: "Defund the police!" And in the weeks that followed, Seattle city leaders appeared to be listening.

Members of the Seattle City Council, responding to strong advocacy from inside and outside government, pledged to cut the police force by 50%. Cuts did come, but in the end they were less than revolutionary and the debate became muddled and complex. 

For the second season of This Changes Everything, host Sara Bernard and reporter David Kroman are seeking to bring clarity to that debate. Over the course of six episodes, the podcast will take a close look at challenges of policing today and whether it’s even possible to downsize the police force and create a new public safety regime that is more equitable and safe.  

This first episode starts by looking back, about a decade, to Seattle’s previous efforts toward reform and examines how the events in June led many city leaders to decide the earlier reform efforts were the wrong solution.

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Credits

Host, producer: Sara Bernard

Reporter: David Kroman

Story editor: Donna Gordon Blankinship

Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten

Full transcript available here.

Ep. 10 - Bringing a New Life Into a Strange New World (Season 1)

Ep. 10 - Bringing a New Life Into a Strange New World (Season 1)

June 30, 2020

For most parents, giving birth is a stressful and anxiety-inducing undertaking. Navigating a complicated health care system and the unrealistic expectations of friends and relatives can be challenging. Then there are the mental gymnastics that accompany the act of actually bringing a new life into the world. But what happens when that world is in a state of crisis, when the health care system you rely on is preparing to be overwhelmed by a global pandemic and when loved ones can't be there to meet this new person? For this week's episode of This Changes Everything, host Sara Bernard talks with Crosscut reporter Melissa Santos about the first few months of her son's life, which coincided with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and societal upheaval. She shares the difficulties and concerns that these events have brought to an already life-changing event, as well as new hopes for the world awaiting her son.

Ep. 9 - What We Lose When Small Businesses Close (Season 1)

Ep. 9 - What We Lose When Small Businesses Close (Season 1)

June 23, 2020

Running a small businesses is already rife with difficulties. But since the coronavirus pandemic arrived and governments placed restrictions on gatherings and commerce to help stave off an influx of infections, survival has become impossible for some. Even as the state begins easing the restrictions, the path back to solvency for those that have survived is harrowing, and the threat of a second wave of infections looms. Host Sara Bernard speaks with Crosscut changing region reporter Manola Secaira about the difficulties small businesses have faced and the prospect of a future filled with a lot more corporate consolidation and a lot less character.

Ep 8 - Caring for the Dead in a Pandemic (Season 1)

Ep 8 - Caring for the Dead in a Pandemic (Season 1)

June 10, 2020

Over the last three months, Americans have made drastic changes to almost every aspect of their lives to limit the spread of the coronavirus. They have transformed the way they work, the way they relax, the way they eat, the way they worship. At the center of all of this change is death, the singular thing that those changes are intended to forestall. So, naturally, death has changed as well. On this week's episode of This Changes Everything, host Sara Bernard contemplates what happens in this moment when a loved one passes away, whether from the virus or another cause. She speaks with reporter Margo Vansynghel who tells the story of Jessica Henry, a woman whose life was upended by the virus and who is now a part of the death-care industry. Henry shares her experiences with the changing procedures and rituals that surround death during COVID-19 and how being face-to-face with death everyday is changing the way she thinks about life.

Ep. 7 - Vote-by-Mail Is the Future — and It’s Already Here (Season 1)

Ep. 7 - Vote-by-Mail Is the Future — and It’s Already Here (Season 1)

June 3, 2020

When President Donald Trump focused his ire on mail-in ballots late last month, Twitter did something unusual. It fact-checked him. His claims that moving away from in-person voting during the pandemic would lead to widespread fraud was unsubstantiated, the company said. His tweets, and that unprecedented tweetback, were just the latest in a spirited debate over the adoption of mail-in balloting brought on by the pandemic threat. But in the state of Washington, the debate is over. For almost a decade, voters in the Evergreen state have elected their leaders and weighed in on initiatives without ever setting a foot in a polling place, all while avoiding any whiff of widespread voter fraud. For this episode of This Changes Everything, Crosscut news and politics editor Donna Blankinship speaks with host Sara Bernard about the fight over mail-in ballots and the lessons that Washington state has been sharing with other states that are weighing their options as they prepare for election season.