Chief O’Toole Statement on Bias Crimes Reporting | Ongoing Effort Between Community & SPD

Chief O’Toole issued the following statement regarding the City Auditor’s Report: Review of Hate Crime Prevention, Response, and Reporting in Seattle Phase 1:

The Department welcomes and thanks the City Auditor for their feedback as we routinely examine our procedures to make sure they align with best business practices.  We are proud of the incredible work of this team to investigate and analyze bias crimes and are pleased that our efforts have been recognized by national experts.  We are also grateful for the opportunity to present our work to City Council, as we did last week.

“The Department has made numerous efforts toward improving both the data collection and reporting of bias crimes incidents. This data is not only collected, but analyzed monthly, a rarity in law enforcement.” 

– Dr. Jack McDevitt, Director of Institute on Race and Justice, Northeastern University 

In keeping with the Department’s commitment to remaining at the leading edge of best practices as they evolve, I asked Dr. Jack McDevitt, Director of Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University, an internationally-acclaimed expert in bias crimes research, to review the auditor’s report and provide feedback and any additional recommendations founded on evidence-based practices around the country.  I have linked Dr. McDevitt’s review here.

As we continue to receive increasing numbers of reports of bias incidents, we are committed to leveraging our  community outreach and our data driven approach to ensure we are doing all we can to address bias crimes in our community.  We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the community to remain a national model in preventing, responding to, and analyzing bias-based incidents.

Chief O’Toole Responds to Reports of an FBI/OPA Investigation Into Secondary Employement

I’m writing to address recent media reports of an FBI/OPA investigation.

Last April, I was made aware of serious allegations against a small number of Seattle Police officers relating to management of secondary employment.   Given the nature of the allegations, I immediately contacted the OPA Director and the Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI Seattle Field Office. We met shortly thereafter and agreed that an investigation would be launched.

Although it would be entirely inappropriate for me to share facts specific to an ongoing inquiry, I want to emphasize, as I have consistently, that we take all allegations against SPD personnel very seriously.  On those fortunately few occasions where criminal activity is alleged, we routinely work with our law enforcement partners to ensure investigations are conducted thoroughly and fairly. When investigations are completed we are transparent with results and hold personnel accountable when charges are sustained.  We owe that to both our community and also to members of our department whose reputations and integrity should not be impugned by the actions of others.

Apart from and prior to receiving these allegations, SPD managers have long identified secondary employment as a significant risk when reviewing department business practices. While acknowledging that the business needs of our community often require the engagement of SPD officers off-duty, current practice limits SPD’s visibility into the management, assignment, and performance of this work.  The Department is renewing its request to City partners to assist in developing systems and legislation to allow the Department to address and mitigate identified concerns.


Chief O’Toole Announces New Assistant Chiefs, Captain Promotions and Assignments

Appointment of Assistant Chiefs

I am pleased to announce the promotion of three members of the department to the SPD command staff. These are critical appointments for the future of the department.

Assistant Chief Marc Garth Green

Marc Garth Green will assume the role of Chief of the Investigations Bureau. Marc consistently has demonstrated strong work ethic and principled leadership. He is universally respected by his peers.  He has worked hard to establish partnerships with community stakeholders and our state and federal partners.

Assistant Chief Eric Greening

Eric Greening will act as Assistant Chief for Night Operations. He will be responsible for the coordination of all SPD operations in the evening and overnight hours. Eric has demonstrated exceptional leadership and management in the South Precinct, where his team has lowered crime by 15% in the past two years. He will maintain a satellite office in the South Precinct to ensure continuity.

Assistant Chief Chris Fowler

Chris Fowler will assume the role of Assistant Chief of the Seattle Police Operations Center (SPOC).  Chris has successfully managed countless planned and unplanned events across the city, and he will elevate the role that SPOC plays in ensuring the appropriate balance of public safety and civil liberties.


Congratulations to each of these exceptional leaders.


Captain Promotions and New Assignments

Please join me in congratulating the following personnel on their promotions to Captain, effective September 21st, 2017:

Captain Kevin Grossman – South Precinct Commander

Captain Thomas Mahaffey – West Precinct Commander

Captain Stephen Hirjack – Force Investigations Section

Captain Keith Swank – VICE and High Risk Victims Section

Captain Randal Woolery – Force Review Section


Additionally, please join me in congratulating the following Captains on their new assignments, effective September 21st, 2017.

Captain Deanna Nollette – Violent Crimes Section

Captain James Dermody – Special Victims Crimes Section

Captain Michael Teeter – Audit, Policy and Research Section

Captain Ronald Rasmussen – Night Captain

SPD Rejects Irresponsible Undermining of Community Relations

Seattle’s police officers have embraced reform and have worked incredibly hard to build community trust.  We do not intend to go backwards.  It is truly unfortunate that in today’s toxic environment, politicians at both ends of the spectrum have sought to inflame passions by politicizing what we do.  We remain committed to our principles and reject irresponsible statements that threaten to undermine our relationship with the community. 

Successes of Hardworking Women and Men of SPD Speak for Themselves

As the Chief of Police, I will not participate in political theater occurring days before an election. My commitment to this job and this city have been obvious to anyone taking part in our efforts to make SPD a national leader and to keep Seattle one of the safest cities in the country. The successes of the hardworking women and men of the SPD speak for themselves:

  • Achieving compliance with respect to all of SPD’s obligations under the Consent Decree, as evidenced by the Monitor’s outcome assessments.
  • Increasing transparency by sharing numerous new data streams and information with the public.
  • Successfully managing thousands of demonstrations across the city with minimum arrests, uses of force, or damage to property.
  • Decreasing response times for high priority 911 calls from the highs of 2013-2014 by almost 2 minutes.
  • Reducing incidents involving use of force by 60% since 2011.
  • Lowering overall crime, year-to-date, in Seattle by 5% compared to 2016.
  • Accounting for population, there were fewer major crimes per capita in 2016 than in 2013.

SPD is not focused on the past. Every member of this Department is committed to achieving new successes with innovative strategies:

  • The City and SPD participate in numerous county and regional programs designed to address violence, particularly involving young people. Current efforts such as the Seattle LINC (Comprehensive Gang Model), Rainier Beach – A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth, and the Puget Sound Regional Crime Gun Task Force, unlike many prior efforts, are evidence-based programs.
  • SPD continues to increase its use of data to ensure we deploy our resources in an effective and efficient manner, and is even sharing much of this data publicly. We have enhanced precinct resources by establishing robust bike squads to handle street-level issues, proactive patrols to intercede with problems before they become extensive, and we continue to devote significant resources to support emphasis patrols in all precincts to address both emerging and persistent problems.
  • We developed and deployed the Micro Community Policing Plan program to ensure that our priorities and strategies are guided both by objective data and the concerns and input of everyone we serve.
  • Working with our City partners, we launched the Navigation Team, with a lieutenant, sergeant, and officers, and they are achieving engagement results beyond anything this city has seen.