The department thanks the Office of Professional Accountability director for his Management Recommendations concerning May Day 2015.
The Seattle Police Department is committed to continuous improvement of its crowd management policies and practices – even when things go well, there are lessons that can be learned. National events over the past year have created changing dynamics at demonstrations and SPD will continue to strive to facilitate these events respectfully and safely.
OPA Director Pierce Murphy’s recommendations match what the department is already doing, through its own review and in collaboration with a team of nationally recognized experts, to create a model of best practices in crowd management that will further guide us in making sure that events such as these do not come at the expense of community and officer safety.
The department is working closely with a panel of national crowd management experts, including the Center for Policing Equity, to examine all demonstrations since last fall. These experts have concluded their document review and interviews of officers, and will be returning to Seattle to hold meetings capturing the viewpoints of community stakeholders.
The SPD Force Review Board has reviewed every demonstration in 2015, including May Day. Many of the recommendations of that board are reflected in the OPA Management Recommendations received today, and many of those recommendations are well on their way to resolution. The federally-appointed court monitor recently described the Force Review Board’s work as “a major step forward” in SPD’s efforts toward reform under a Department of Justice consent decree.
We applaud our officers for their extraordinary performance under difficult circumstances, and although the vast majority of the hundreds of demonstrations that our officers staff each year are peaceful, SPD is committed to ensuring that Seattle’s officers are provided the best tools and training possible to safely manage those events that unfortunately devolve into violence and property destruction.