Mayor Murray nominates two to Community Police Commission

Mayor Ed Murray nominated Colleen Echohawk and Emma Catague to serve on the Community Police Commission (CPC), the City’s panel of community members and stakeholders monitoring reform and accountability of the Seattle Police Department.

 “The Community Police Commission has and will continue to play a vital role in the oversight of the Seattle Police Department,” said Mayor Murray. “We now have landmark police accountability legislation that establishes unprecedented, independent civilian oversight and a permanent community seat at the table. We must ensure constitutional policing is a reality for all residents. Colleen and Emma are proven community leaders that will carry on this mission and help continue to improve the relationship between communities of color and the police.” 

 Colleen Echohawk is the executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Ahtna Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake. She serves on the boards of several local organizations, including KUOW, All Home, Metropolitan Improvement District and the Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre. Echohawk’s career has focused on meeting the needs of homeless and low-income urban Native people living in Seattle.

 “I am honored to serve on the Community Police Commission,” said Echohawk. “I deeply believe in the goodness of our City and hope to assist in moving the conversation and policies forward in a good way; remembering our commitment to lead with a race and equity lens. I have had the privilege of working with the Seattle Police Department to solve safety issues in Pioneer Square and am excited to continue this partnership as a member of the Community Police Commission.”

 Emma Catague co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Women and Family Safety Center (now known as API Chaya) and is the former executive director of the International District Housing Alliance (now part of InterImCDA). Catague currently works for the Filipino Community of Seattle. During her career, she has worked closely with the Seattle Police Department to diversify hiring of personnel to better reflect the Asian Pacific Islander communities in Seattle. Catague is long-time advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.

 “I am excited to be a part of the Community Police Commission,” said Catague. “I look forward to representing the diverse voices of American Pacific Islanders and play a role in helping the Seattle Police Department understand the needs of the community.”

 Beginning in March of 2013, the CPC has been providing community input into the effort to reform the Seattle Police Department under the Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. The CPC continues to make recommendations to improve the department’s accountability system to better support constitutional policing and promote public confidence. In May of this year, City Council passed Mayor Murray’s police accountability legislation, which is now pending before the U.S. District Court overseeing the Consent Decree. The legislation includes a provision making the CPC a permanent body.

 

The post Mayor Murray nominates two to Community Police Commission appeared first on Mayor Murray.

Mayor Murray statement on Consent Decree status conference

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after a status conference on the Consent Decree, held by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart:

“Judge Robart made it clear today that ensuring constitutional policing needs to be Seattle’s top priority. Five years ago, when the previous administration was dragging its feet on meaningful reform, the relationship between police and Seattle’s communities of color was fractured. While we still have work to do, we have made significant progress since 2010, which the Court confirmed today.

“We have comprehensive, landmark police accountability legislation that establishes unprecedented independent civilian oversight through subpoena power and a permanent community seat at the table. And we can do more.

“Earlier this week, I ordered patrol officers and sergeants to wear body cameras so we can have a critical resource to resolve facts in police shootings, a standard tool that would have been invaluable in the Charleena Lyles investigation. We have heard Judge Robart’s frustration with the delays in the current collective bargaining process. His support for body-worn cameras and my executive order yesterday are reminders that we are moving in the right direction.”

The post Mayor Murray statement on Consent Decree status conference appeared first on Mayor Murray.

Mayor Murray signs Executive Order requiring body cameras on patrol officers

Today, Mayor Ed Murray, working with City Attorney Pete Holmes, signed an Executive Order requiring all Seattle Police patrol officers to wear body-worn video cameras (body cameras). The order requires the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to equip West Precinct bike patrol officers with cameras by July 22 and all West Precinct officers by September 30, putting the department on track to fully implement a program that has undergone multiple pilot programs. All other officers will get body cameras on a monthly precinct by precinct basis. Mayor Murray is directing prompt implementation of the program to ensure no further significant uses of force by police officers go undocumented by a video record.

“Body cameras improve behavior and de-escalation on both sides of the camera,” said Mayor Murray. “We have taken far too long to fully implement the body camera program due to legislative gridlock—it is past time to move forward. This order will get cameras on officers on the street, so we know what happens during interactions with the public. This level of accountability is good for both officers and the public, and will help build trust in a time where the community, particularly the African American community, is hurting.”

“Body-worn cameras are known to be an effective police accountability tool,” said City Attorney Holmes. “They will not only improve community trust of our police department, they will also provide a measure of protection for our officers as well. This action today by Mayor Murray will help to ensure that SPD deploys the cameras as soon as possible while continuing to bargain with our police unions in good faith.”

Mayor Murray first proposed funding for body cameras in his 2016 budget, months after the City was awarded a $600,000 federal grant. The City then began a stakeholder and community engagement process as part of a 2016 pilot. A March 2016 survey conducted by the Community Police Commission and SPD, as a part of its 2016 body-worn camera pilot program, found that 86 percent of community members would want officers to be wearing body cameras when they responded to a call for service. Additionally, a study commissioned by the Federal Monitor overseeing the City’s compliance with the federally mandated Consent Decree, found that 92 percent of Seattleites want to see body cameras on officers.

Major cities such as Oakland, Denver, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and Detroit, and localities like Spokane currently have cameras on officers. Today’s announcement adds Seattle to that list and helps move the City closer to achieving the principles behind police reform: increased accountability and improved relationships with the community.

The post Mayor Murray signs Executive Order requiring body cameras on patrol officers appeared first on Mayor Murray.

Mayor Murray, Councilmember González announce selection process for OPA Director, Inspector General

Today, Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide) announced the selection process and search committee for the director of the Office of Police Accountability and the civilian Inspector General, the first under newly-passed police accountability legislation. The search committee and its two subcommittees have been formed with representatives from the Office of the Mayor, City Council, the Community Police Commission (CPC) and the Seattle Police Department (SPD), with multiple members serving on both committees. The City has posted a website (www.seattle.gov/civilian-oversight) to receive public comment during the search period. Police accountability legislation, proposed by Mayor Murray in February and passed by Council in May, created the most civilian oversight of the department in city history.

“Building trust with the community requires independent oversight of the police department and we are seeking leaders who will help us continue our path toward becoming a model of 21st century policing,” said Mayor Murray. “Each step we take to implement these historic reforms gets us closer to that goal and helps fulfill our promise to make lasting, institutional change. Seattle has led the nation in building the model for constitutional policing, but we know we have work to do and bringing in leaders for these independent and civilian-led offices will be a major step.”

REVIEW JOB DESCRIPTIONS AND OFFER FEEDBACK

“My vision for Seattle’s police accountability system – and for reforming SPD – has had at its center restoring trust between the police and communities most impacted by policing,” said Councilmember González. “Establishing a new Office of Inspector General will require a trusted leader who understands the operational complexities of a major city police department and the need to ensure that Seattle’s system of police accountability is constantly reforming even after the federal police monitor is long gone.”

“Now that Seattle has passed landmark police accountability reforms, it’s time to continue the work to make sure the reforms are successful. Success or failure will rest in large part on the shoulders of the people chosen to lead the OPA and new OIG,” said Isaac Ruiz of the CPC. “It is essential that Seattle pick leaders who understand how police practices can negatively affect communities of color and who will be respectful and responsive to community concerns.”

Throughout the search process, the public is encouraged to comment on their desired qualifications for candidates for each job, through the website, by contacting Mayor Murray, Councilmember González or the CPC, or by attending a public meeting co-hosted by the three offices on August 2. Additional details for the joint hearing will be released in the coming weeks.

The search committee is comprised of 10 members, with two subcommittees having seven each. The OPA subcommittee is co-chaired by the Office of the Mayor and the CPC, and the Inspector General subcommittee is co-chaired by Councilmember González and a member of the CPC. The search committee will meet once as a whole to review requirements of the legislation, receive a briefing on human resources and legal issues, and develop recruitment strategies. The coordinated effort reflects the accountability system created by the legislation, while maintaining the integrity of each appointing authority’s independence to appoint OPA director and the Inspector General.

Committee members are:

 

OPA Subcommittee (OPA Interview Team) IG Subcommittee (IG Interview Team)
CPC: Isaac Ruiz CPC: Isaac Ruiz
CPC : Lisa Daugaard CPC: Enrique González
Mayor: Bernard Melekian Mayor: Bernard Melekian
Mayor: Beth Takekawa Council: CM Gonzalez
Mayor: Monisha Harrell Council: CM Burgess
Council: CM Lorena González Council: CP Harrell
SPD : Assistant Chief Lesley Cordner SPD: Assistant Chief Lesley Cordner

 

More information, including the public comment page, can be found at the website. The search will begin immediately and last several months.

The post Mayor Murray, Councilmember González announce selection process for OPA Director, Inspector General appeared first on Mayor Murray.

Mayor Ed Murray statement on today’s officer involved shooting

Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement about the officer involved shooting that occurred this morning near Magnuson Park:

“Today’s incident is a tragedy for all involved. My thoughts are with the many people impacted, including three children and the responding officers.

“Our historic police reforms, from de-escalation training to civilian-monitored force review, are in place to address such crises. This will be fully investigated. The quality and integrity of the investigation will be reviewed by the federal monitoring team supervising our consent decree. We will work collectively with our consent decree partners and the Community Police Commission to ensure transparency throughout this process and offer support where needed.”

The post Mayor Ed Murray statement on today’s officer involved shooting appeared first on Mayor Murray.