Mayor Ed Murray and the City of Seattle today filed draft legislation for Seattle Police Department (SPD) accountability reform with U.S. District Court Judge James Robart for review. The legislation is a collaborative product of months-long discussions with the Community Police Commission, Federal Monitor Merrick Bobb, the City and many other stakeholders. The proposal creates an independent office of Inspector General, transforms the Community Police Commission (CPC) into a permanent body, and increases the scope and independence of SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA).
“Today marks a historic and critical juncture for the people of Seattle and their police department,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We’ve been engaged for many months on the critical work of getting police reform right and today we agreed upon the strongest and most transparent police accountability structure in our city’s history. Change does not occur overnight, but thanks to the collaborative effort of the many stakeholders, the CPC and the City, this package can begin to make lasting institutional change that can ultimately build trust between the police and the communities they serve.”
The package sent to Judge Robart includes the following key accountability measures:
- Creation of the Office of Inspector General, empowered to review and report on any aspect of SPD’s policies and practices.
- Increases the independence of our Office of Professional Accountability, replacing sworn SPD officers with civilian staff tasked with overseeing all investigations and complaints against officers.
- Makes the CPC a permanent body, ensuring community input is institutionalized into Seattle’s police services.
In August of this year, Judge Robart issued an order ruling that any SPD reform package must be reviewed by the Court before being sent to City Council to ensure the package meets the accountability and transparency requirements agreed to under the 2012 Consent Decree settlement with the Department of Justice. After the Department of Justice reviews and sends comments to Judge Robart, the Court begins its 90-day review period.
At the conclusion of the review period, Mayor Murray will finalize and transmit legislation to the Council.
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