Even before Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan vetoed the City Council’s cuts to the police department Friday, many details still had to be worked out regarding staff cuts and policy changes going forward.

Councilmember Andrew Lewis spoke to the Queen Anne Community Council’s Public Works Committee Aug. 19 in a question-and-answer session addressing everything from the council’s plan going forward and priorities in the city.

“Most of us are certainly not looking to have a conversation that is only deductive and not additive,” Lewis said of the City Council members. “The City Council understands there is a need for a police department.”

Lewis has advocated for the city to pursue programs being used in other cities that redistribute responsibility currently assigned to the police department to other social services in an effort he calls “right-sizing.” Even should new programs be put in place, Lewis said people should not expect all police presence to disappear.

“Generally speaking, if there is a violent crime, we want a police officer there,” he said.

Lewis said it was not helpful that the council cut different staff and programs without coming up with a replacement plan first, specifically the navigation team, which has been responsible for dismantling homeless camps as one of its duties in the past.

At the same time, Lewis said he doesn’t feel the City Council deserves all the criticism it has received in the community, with one segment accusing the council of moving ahead with no plan to others arguing that the council is carrying out its own extreme plan to dismantle the police department.

“There’s sort of a cognitive dissonance,” he said. “I mean, is it we do have a plan or we don’t have a plan.”

Lewis said he thinks a lot more of the questions the public has been asking will be decided in the fall, when the council considers the new budget. He also thinks it is unlikely some programs or police duties will go away forever.

Lewis said, while he envisions some of the navigation team duties being assigned to other outreach teams or services, he doesn’t think the team will be disbanded entirely. There are some duties the navigation team addresses that cannot be replaced with outreach, such as sex trafficking cases and drug dealing and associated violence. At the same time, Lewis pointed out that, even if the navigation team is disbanded altogether, that does not mean homeless encampments will stop being cleared out.

Lewis also said any decisions the council makes regarding budget cuts to police staff or reassignment of services will have to be approved with Judge James Robart, who is overseeing the consent degree that requires SPD to address allegations of police bias. He said the council will continue to review police reform, however.

Lewis also expressed hopes more transformative justice programs will be created in the form of community courts that have a focus on finding effective interventions for certain low-level criminals rather than sending them to jail in an ongoing cycle.

“That is really the way we can start having more meaningful outcomes in a lot of these cases,” Lewis said.

Community courts can be better than the status quo, Lewis said, adding they can be a point of first contact for offenders and possibly get them intervention that will help break the criminal cycle.

Community Council members specifically asked Lewis about policing property crimes. Whereas violent crime numbers appear to be down, property crimes continue to be a problem in neighborhoods.

“Property crimes have psychological impacts on the victim far beyond the loss of the property,” Bob Kettle said.

Lewis agreed residents have the right to feel safe in their neighborhoods.

He said he hopes if the police department can be successfully right-sized, then police officers can devote more attention to responding to property crimes.