Seattle Police Monitor Releases Fifth Semiannual Report


Seattle Police Monitor, and PARC Executive Director, Merrick Bobb and his Monitoring Team today filed their Fifth Semiannual Report with the Honorable James Robart of the Western District of Washington. 

The Report finds that the Seattle Police Department "has moved closer in the last six months to where it needs to be."  Although "significant work" on the Consent Decree remains, "the SPD is positioned to be a leader in the national reform effort."  

The Monitor calls specifically for body cameras to be "rolled out to all SPD officers on a permanent basis as rapidly as possible."  Citing SPD's cutting-edge work in the area, the report notes that, after "[m]ore than four years of discussion, public engagement, and collaboration on body cameras in Seattle," "Seattle's diverse communities, SPD, and its officers" should not be "deprive[d]" of "the demonstrated benefits of body cameras with respect to accountability and transparency."

The report also offers praise for SPD's ongoing use of force and bias-free policing training; efforts to construct a high-quality technological system for tracking officer performance; and crisis intervention program that is appearing to have an impact on how SPD interacts with individuals experiencing mental health, substance abuse, and other behavioral issues.  Likewise, the report notes that "[n]ew approaches to law enforcement service delivery and reports of decreased crime are encouraging signs that SPD activity reflects a commitment to proactive policing" as critical work continues on the Consent Decree.

The Monitoring Team notes ongoing challenges in the areas of supervision; the Department's Force Review Board (which reviews all serious officer uses of force); and SPD's fledgling Early Intervention System, a "critical new way for SPD supervisors to do their jobs on a daily basis" which entails "evaluat[ing] officer performance and construct[ing] high-quality, non-disciplinary intervention plans for officers" in the hopes of changing behavior before more serious problems arise.

The Monitor's semiannual reports, mandated by the Consent Decree, inform the Seattle community and the Court about the progress of the Seattle Police Department and City of Seattle in implementing the provisions of the Court-ordered Consent Decree between the United States Department of Justice and City of Seattle.   

Read the full report here.