Category Archives: police

Here’s what the SPD disciplinary process looks like as a “subway map”

At her press conference yesterday, Council member Lorena Gonzalez showed a”subway map” diagram of the complex disciplinary process for SPD oficers and supervisors as defined under state law, local law, and its contracts with the two unions representing officers and supervisors.

Here are the diagrams — both high-level and drill-downs. Kudos to the Office of Inspector General for Public Safety for taking the time to make and publish them.


Overview

Full set of maps

Of particular interest are the grievance and arbitration processes, which are one of the reasons that Judge Robart recently found the city out of compliance with the Consent Decree. The arbitration process allows for “forum shopping” by officers between the Public Safety Civil Service Commission (PSCSC) and an outside arbitrator, and allows the arbitrator to overrule a disciplinary decision by the Chief of Police (something Robart found particularly problematic).  However, under state law public safety officers have the right to arbitration as a path for appealing disciplinary findings, in part to compensate for the fact that they are forbidden from participating in labor strikes. The 2017 Police Accountability Ordinance removed arbitration as an option, forcing all appeals to go through the PSCSC, but arbitration was reinstated as part of negotiating the SPOG contract (because the city can’t unilaterally take it away if the officers don’t want to give it up).

 

The war of words over police accountability heats up in City Hall

Last week, when it became known that Mayor Durkan had hired an outside consultant firm to develop a Court-ordered methodology for assessing the city’s police accountability regime, there was near-instant backlash from 24 community groups as well as the Community Police Commission. Today, three City Council members jumped on that bandwagon.

Council member Lorena Gonzalez, surrounded by community leaders, at a press conference this afternoon

Continue reading The war of words over police accountability heats up in City Hall

City asks Judge Robart to extend deadline for plan to fix compliance with Consent Decree (UPDATED)

This afternoon, the City of Seattle filed a motion in U.S. District Court asking for a one-month extension to its July 15th deadline to tell Judge James Robert how it intends to assess the police accountability regime and how it will come back into compliance with the Consent Decree after Robart found it out of compliance in May.

Continue reading City asks Judge Robart to extend deadline for plan to fix compliance with Consent Decree (UPDATED)

Latest SPD “stops and detentions” report shows jump in Terry stops, but gives little explanation

Last week the Seattle Police Department published its annual report on stops and detentions, with numbers for 2018. It begins by noting that Terry stops are up substantially over 2017 numbers — but then it provides another 25 pages of text, tables and charts that offer little help in understanding why. In fact, SPD itself admits in the report that they don’t know what the increase means:

SPD conducted 18.5% more Terry stops in 2018 than in 2017. However, statistical trend analysis shows that this increase appears to be an anomaly. Our analysis next year will indicate whether a pattern is developing or whether 2018’s data are a one-time increase.

But the data tells a clearer story than SPD is letting on. It took a few days of work to reverse-engineer and otherwise piece together the data that the department left out of its report and to follow the bread crumbs through it, but here’s the story that the data tells.

Continue reading Latest SPD “stops and detentions” report shows jump in Terry stops, but gives little explanation

What’s up with the city’s new “emphasis patrols”?

Last week, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that during the month of May the city would conduct “emphasis patrols” in seven neighborhoods across the city “to improve public safety and address community maintenance needs.” This left many people — including most of the City Council members — confused about what this program was about. Council member Lorena Gonzalez sent Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best a letter, asking over a page of detailed questions. After some back and forth, it was agreed that representatives from SPD and other participating city departments would present at Gonzalez’s committee hearing this morning to shed further light on the program.

Continue reading What’s up with the city’s new “emphasis patrols”?

Latest reports put best face on SPD’s efforts to sustain reforms under consent decree

If there’s one thing that the Seattle Police Department has become quite good at, it’s churning out reports on its reform efforts. In the run-up to a pivotal hearing on May 15th with U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, the city has filed several reports on it recent work to continue and sustain its police reforms under its consent decree with the Department of Justice.

Continue reading Latest reports put best face on SPD’s efforts to sustain reforms under consent decree

SPD and CPC file dueling briefs in legal fight over SPOG contract

As directed by Judge James Robart, who oversees the city’s 2012 consent decree over biased policing, the Community Police Commission and the City of Seattle have both filed their final briefs on the new contract with SPOG, the police officers’ union, and on the recent arbitrator’s reversal of the termination of Adley Shepherd for excessive use of force. And neither side is backing down.

Continue reading SPD and CPC file dueling briefs in legal fight over SPOG contract