Chief O’Toole recently announced that she would assemble a group of independent, national experts to review the Seattle Police Department’s performance in crowd management. The goal of this project will be to gather knowledge that will inform the development of future SPD policies, training and tactics. This effort will not duplicate or conflict with the important work of the Force Investigation Team, Force Review Board, Office of Professional Accountability, Department of Justice or Federal Monitoring Team. Rather, this group will benchmark the SPD against best practices in crowd management and make recommendations for improvement.
The SPD has been at the forefront of knowledge in crowd management for over a decade, facilitating hundreds of peaceful demonstrations each year. Recently, however, police officers and community members have expressed concerns about the changing dynamics of demonstrations. This important and constructive review is timely. Hopefully, it will produce valuable knowledge in Seattle that can also be shared with communities throughout the country.
The independent panel will include representatives from the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA and police experts in crowd management and use of force. The group will commence its work immediately with desktop research. It will review existing demonstration management policies and will have access to all available data related to recent Seattle demonstrations, post-Ferguson through May Day. The group will consider information gathered by the Community Police Commission and will meet with SPD use of force experts and officers regularly assigned to crowd management. It will complete its work and produce findings during calendar year 2015.
The Center for Policing Equity
The Center for Policing Equity (CPE) (http://cpe.psych.ucla.edu) is a research consortium that promotes police transparency and accountability by facilitating innovative research collaborations between law enforcement agencies and empirical social scientists. Through these facilitated collaborations, the Center seeks to improve issues of equity–particularly racial and gender equity–in policing both within law enforcement agencies and between agencies and the communities they serve. The Center aims to effect cultural transformations within both law enforcement and the academy by creating opportunities that simultaneously preserve the dignity of law enforcement and advance the application of social science to the real world.
The CPE is committed to research transparency and, as such, does not charge participating law enforcement agencies for access to our expert researchers. To that end, CPE researchers are never funded by participating law enforcement agencies and are able to render both expert consultations (for law enforcement) and scholarly publications (for the academic and general public) absent any hint of coercion or incentive. Consequently, the structure of the CPE is, itself, an innovation designed to further the interests of transparency and accountability in equity matters.
Steve Ijames has served as a police officer for more than thirty years, most of that time in Springfield, MO. He is a graduate of the 186th FBI National Academy, holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Public Administration.
Steve created the less lethal force instructor/trainer programs for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA). He authored the IACP National Policy Center position paper on Special Weapons and Tactics, as well as their model policies on TASER, impact rounds, chemical agents, noise/flash diversionary devices, hostage rescue, and barricaded subjects.
Steve has provided special operations training on behalf of the IACP and the U.S. Department of State across the United States, Canada, and in 33 other countries. He has also served as an instructor for the IACP and California Association of Tactical Officers in their SWAT commander and team leader programs. He has reviewed more than 2,000 police use of force cases for agencies across the U.S., Canada and abroad.
David Pearson is a Lieutenant with Fort Collins (CO) Police Services. He has been a police officer since 1990, starting with the Prince George’s County (MD) Police Department and transferring to Fort Collins in 1995. He currently oversees the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force.
David previously managed the FCPS Professional Standards Unit and the Criminal Investigations Unit. He was also a supervisor in the Traffic Unit, the Patrol Division, and Internal Affairs. He held a collateral duty assignment as a team leader on the FCPS SWAT Team.
David is an instructor in Mobile Field Force, Incident Command, Active Shooter and High-Risk Patrol Tactics. He has been an instructor with the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) since 2005 and instructs the following classes: Less-Lethal technology, including FSDDs and chemical agents; Basic/Advanced SWAT tactics; Civil Disturbance, Active Shooter; and SWAT Team Leader Development.
He holds a bachelor degree in Police Science and is pursuing a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.