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Mayor’s letter orders police reform

December 23rd, 2011 by Michael

The following is a post from Mayor Mike McGinn’s blog:

The people of Seattle deserve a police force that fights crime in a way that is fair and equitable. We deserve a police force that is well trained and accountable for its actions. We deserve a police force that is respectful and professional in all areas, and worthy of the community’s trust. Meeting these demands requires a police department that is continually learning and improving, willing and able to implement reforms.

That means we must listen to criticism from everyone with a stake in the success of the Seattle Police Department. We have heard from the public and now the federal government that more must be done. We agree. Let us be very clear: we are committed to reform.


This process of change cannot wait. This morning, I ordered Chief John Diaz to begin implementation of reforms outlined in the Department of Justice’s report. We will also convene a public review panel to oversee the implementation of these reforms.

Additionally, based on our ongoing collaboration with the Department of Justice, we have also adopted the following reforms:

• On January 4, we will implement a system of consistent supervision of patrol officers which, as the Department of Justice recognized, should improve accountability of our officers.
• We have created a new Professional Standards Section.
• We have implemented improvements to the way we investigate use of force incidents, including a new Force Review Board and a Force Investigative team.
• We are undertaking a top-to-bottom review and rewrite of the department’s Policies and Procedures.
• We are in the process of revising and simplifying the Office of Professional Accountability’s classification system.

Chief Diaz and I expect our police force to be a national model of professionalism and accountability – that earns the respect of the people as it protects our communities from crime. We stand ready to work with the community and the Department of Justice to ensure Seattle has that department.

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