Interim Chief Carmen Best Nominated to Be Seattle’s Next Police Chief

I want to thank Mayor Durkan for this opportunity. She and I share the same public safety vision for moving Seattle forward, and making this the best city it can be for everyone.

I’d also like to take this moment to especially thank the men and women, both sworn and civilian, of the Seattle Police Department who serve this city everyday with service, pride and dedication. Trust me when I say, the Seattle Police Department is one of the premier agencies in the country, and that I look forward to being your Chief. Thank you.

I’d also like to thank the community for their unwavering support — many of whom I’ve worked with for more than two and a half decades.

Every day our officers show up and are committed to making Seattle a safer, better city. With our rapid growth comes new challenges for public safety and new demands on policing. Our department needs to reflect our growing city, and the community we serve. This means increasing the number of officers who are working in our communities.

Here in Seattle, and across the country, our officers are being asked to do more, especially at the complicated intersection of public health and public safety. We must continue to provide support and access to resources to members of our community who are struggling with mental health crisis, addiction, and homelessness.

Since 2012, Seattle has been under a Court ordered Consent Decree for unconstitutional policing. The reforms created a foundation for an accountable police department that serves the public and enhances public safety in a way that is consistent with our community values and the Constitution.

We enacted significant reforms: new use of force policies and training that emphasizes de-escalation, a new approach to how officers interact with people experiencing mental crisis, new supervision and oversight with community involvement were created and implemented. These changes are showing results, saving lives and enhancing trust. There has been a decrease in uses of force overall – including a 60 percent reduction of the most serious uses of force – and a significant decline in force used against people in crisis.

Eight months ago, in January, The Honorable James Robart ruled that the City of Seattle in “full and effective compliance,” but the work is not done – not in Seattle and not across our country. As the new police Chief, I’ll continue to help lead our Department through reform. As we enter the next phase of the consent decree, we will move ahead with a culture of continuous improvement and innovation at the Seattle Police Department. This is what I expect, and what our community deserves. I know great things are ahead.

As part of the Police Chief search process, we heard from thousands of community members. One of the most important qualifications that people wanted was a candidate who demonstrated an ability to build trust and confidence with people across widely diverse communities in a large city.

Community trust is fragile. One interaction can break the foundation we’ve worked so hard to build.

Often times when I’m meeting with the community, I’ve come to find we have more in common than we realize. We agree that we have serious problems in policing. We agree that people are not treated equally this country. We agree that community trust in the police has been shaken. We agree that our department must increase diversity and ensure our officers reflect the communities we serve. But most importantly, we agree that we all need to do something about it. The support from the community has been inspiring. We must take the energy the community has I’d like to harness this energy demonstrated over the past few weeks and channel that into ways we can all work together, moving the department forward for a safer Seattle, with equitable police services for all.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chief of Police in this great city—a city that I love, with a department that I love. I am committed to the safety, equity, unity and diversity of our city, and fair and just treatment for all.

Police Reviewing Explicit Messages Sent to Medical Providers

The Seattle Police Sexual Assault Unit has received information about a man sending explicit social media and electronic messages to local health care providers. At this time, the department has evaluated the communications which, while clearly upsetting to the recipients, do not appear to be criminal in nature.

If you or anyone else have further information related to this case, please contact the SPD Sexual Assault Unit at 206 684-5575.

Please Plan Ahead for Traffic Impacts on #MayDaySea 2018

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is May Day, which means you’ll see a large crowd winding its way through the Central District and downtown Seattle throughout the day as police escort demonstrators from the El Comité May Day March for Worker and Immigrant Rights through the city.

On Tuesday, May 1, travelers can expect *at least* the following permitted demonstrations:

Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights: Rally at Judkins Park at 2:30 p.m. followed by a march from Judkins Park to 2nd Ave and Spring St at 3:30 p.m. Marchers will leave Judkins Park located at 20th Ave S and S Dearborn St and travel north on 20th Ave to S Jackson St; west on S Jackson St to 4th Ave; north on 4th Ave to Madison St; west on Madison St to 2nd Ave; north on 2nd Ave ending at Spring St. Seattle Police will use rolling closures around the routes as they proceed.

Considerable congestion will likely occur and impact traffic throughout Downtown. Please allow for extra time in traveling throughout the city on Monday.

There is also the possibility several other un-permitted demonstrations may be held during the day and evening. As the organizers of these events have not filed for permits with the city, there is no official route map for these rallies.

The @SeattleDOT and @SeattlePD Twitter feeds and Alert Seattle will provide updates throughout the day on any traffic impacts or other significant incidents. A large number of uniformed officers will be present at the day’s rallies to direct traffic, ensure everyone is able to freely and safely exercise their First Amendment rights, and prevent or respond to any unlawful behavior. As always, please contact an officer or call 911 if you have any concerns or need to report an emergency.

National Drug Take Back Day is This Saturday, April 28th

This Saturday the Seattle Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are hosting the 14th semi-annual event to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by disposing of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted drugs.

This Saturday, April 28th, the city’s five precincts will serve as drop-off locations between 10 AM and 2 PM for any unwanted prescription drugs.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last October, Americans turned in 456 tons (over 900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds- more than 4,050 tons-of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Rate of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.  In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines-flushing then down the toilet or throwing them in the trash-both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs of about the April 28th Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website.

Use of Force Remained Extraordinarily Low in 2017

The Seattle Police Department continues to provide use of force data to highlight transparency around our policy, process, and training with regards to use of force and how it is investigated.  This report builds on the previous publication and outlines use of force incidents occurring between January 1 and December 31, 2017.

The key findings are consistent with last year’s report, which is use of force overall remains extraordinarily low.

  • Officers reported using force of any level at a rate of less than one fifth of one percent (0.18%) of all dispatches to nearly 400,000 unique events.
  • Overwhelming majority (approximately 77%) involved no greater than the lowest level of reportable force.
  • Serious levels of force – force that causes or may be reasonably expected to cause substantial bodily injury – was used in only 16 (0.004%) of these nearly 400,000 events.

While each application of force is separately investigated and reviewed, overall the use of force by Seattle Police officers continues to be a rare occurrence. This report shows that officers implement, in practice every day, the de-escalation training and tactics that have earned Seattle national acclaim, while maintaining a high level of proactive law enforcement activity. 



Download the 2018 Use of Force Report.

Download the 2017 Use of Force Report.

Access the dashboards: Use of Force | Officer Involved Shootings

For more information on our use of force policy and investigations visit: