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Guide to the Archives of the City of Seattle

Record Group 6400
Police Department

The City's first charter established the Marshall as the local peace officer. An 1883 Charter amendment established the position of Chief of Police with authority to hire police officers. The Chief of Police was an elected position until 1890. The City Charter of 1890 created the Board of Police Commissioners which administered the Department and appointed officers. Following allegations of corruption, the Commission was abolished by the new Charter of 1896. The Chief of Police, appointed by the mayor, served as administrator of the Department. In 1962, the Department assumed authority for policing the harborfront, formerly a function of the Harbor Department.

Board of Police Commissioners Minutes

1 volume

Proceedings of Commission meetings. Includes reports of disciplinary actions and policy decisions concerning the Seattle Police Department. The Board was established by the Charter of 1890 to oversee and regulate the Police Department.

Finding Aid

Departmental Publications

0.4 cubic foot

Newsletters published by the Police Department as well as the Seattle Police Officers' Guild. Also includes brochures and several informational packets produced by the department.

Folder List

6402-00: Office of Emergency Management

In the late 1980s, the Mayor's Office began to emphasize the importance of emergency management, resulting in the establishment of the Office of Emergency Services. Created as part of the Seattle Fire Department, the renamed Office of Emergency Management (OEM) transferred to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) in 1991. When DAS was absorbed into other city departments, OEM moved to the Seattle Police Department, where it remains today. OEM’s purpose is "to establish a disaster preparedness program for the City; to coordinate all city agencies and other jurisdictions in response to catastrophic events; and to recover from and mitigate loss of properties and lives of citizens."

Emergency Operations Center Activation Records

1 cubic foot

The Emergency Operations Center Activation Records contain correspondence, newspaper articles, reports and proclamations relating to different situations in which the EOC took action. The files date from 1993-1996 and are organized by date. Subjects include: Denny Regrade vault fire and resulting power outage; the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, attended by many foreign heads of state, along with U.S. President Bill Clinton; major wind storms; the 1996 earthquake and the 1996 heavy snowstorm. Also included are notes and reports from a fact-finding trip to Los Angeles by EOC personnel after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

Folder List

Emergency Management Exercises Records

1 cubic foot

The Emergency Management Exercises Records contain evaluation reports, correspondence, administrative documents and 1.44 MB hard disks recording the exercises. The files date from 1991 to 2000. Subjects include Soundshake 95 (a county-wide earthquake drill), Seattle Disaster Aid and Response Teams neighborhood drills from 1996, and 1998 and 2000 Weapons of Mass Destruction response drills.

Folder List

Disaster Management Committee Records

1.2 cubic feet

The Disaster Management Committee was made up of representatives from multiple city departments, including Engineering, City Light, Parks, Law, Police, and Fire. The committee worked on various issues related to the city's disaster preparedness, including equipment, preparedness exercises, communications, supplies, and training. These records document the committee's discussions and recommendations.

Folder List

6405-00: Special Operations

Seattle Civilian Defense Training Manual

0.2 cubic foot

One binder with educational and reference materials for World War II air raid wardens. Includes training materials such as quizzes, glossaries, and explanations of methods for describing people. Reference pages include information on various types of fires and bombs, effects and identifying signs of chemical weapons, maps of warden districts, and procedure documentation. Manual includes handwritten notes and original tests with written answers.