Selection Process for OPA Director and Inspector General

Public safety is the foremost responsibility of city government. Our promise to our community is to effectively deliver policing services to protect the public, and ensure the police also uphold civil and constitutional rights, are courteous and treat all people with dignity. The officers of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) are granted extraordinary power to maintain the public peace, including the power of arrest and statutory authority to use deadly force in the performance of their duties under specific circumstances. Public trust in the appropriate use of those powers is bolstered by having a police oversight system that reflects our community's input and values. The City of Seattle is now implementing a comprehensive, three-part oversight system that will enhance community trust and confidence, support constitutional policing and police professionalism, and strengthen the police department's effectiveness.

In 2010, many community leaders came together to ask the Department of Justice to investigate SPD after a series of incidents of alleged unconstitutional use of force and biased policing, including the death of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams. This action led to DOJ's investigation and findings of unconstitutional policing. In July 2012 the City entered into a settlement with DOJ (also known as the Consent Decree). Since then, the Consent Decree has guided police reform efforts in Seattle Over the last few years, the Mayor's Office, the City Council, the City Attorney's Office and the CPC drafted legislation to put accountability system reforms in place. The legislation was adopted by Council and signed by the Mayor in May 2017.

 Police Civilian Oversight Structure
download graphic (.pdf)

Seeking Public Input

Search committees will be filling leadership positions for the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG). These searches - and the postions themselves - will be informed through public engagement, and we would like your input regarding desired qualifications and other considerations. Ways to register your feedback:

Job Descriptions

The OPA Director manages, and is accountable for, all functions and responsibilities of the Office of Police Accountability (OPA). OPA helps ensure the actions of SPD employees are constitutional and in compliance with federal, state, local laws, and with City and SPD policies, and promotes respectful and effective policing, by initiating, receiving, classifying, investigating, and appropriately and timely resolving all complaints of misconduct. The OPA Director partners collaboratively with the Inspector General for Public Safety and the Community Police Commission. The OPA Director is appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the full City Council and is accountable to the Mayor, City Council, and the Community Police Commission. OPA is operationally independent from the SPD but is organized within SPD in order to ensure complete and immediate access to all SPD-controlled data, evidence, and personnel necessary for thorough and timely investigations and complaint handling. The OPA Director may be appointed and reappointed for up to three four-year terms for a total of 12 years.

Job responsibilities:

  • Manage all functions and responsibilities of OPA as set forth in Chapter 3.29 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
  • Hire, supervise, and discharge OPA civilian staff, and supervise and transfer out of OPA any sworn staff assigned to OPA to ensure professional and appropriate performance of duties consistent with City of Seattle human resources polices and Chapter 3.29 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
  • Manage complaint processes so that all complaints of police misconduct or policy violations are initiated, received, referred, classified, investigated and appropriately and timely resolved.
  • Oversee and strengthen the effectiveness of OPA investigations, Supervisor Action referrals, mediation, Rapid Adjudication, and other alternative resolution processes, as well as Management Actions and Training Referrals.
  • Ensure OPA policies and practices are detailed in, and in compliance with, the OPA Manual. Ensure investigators and investigative supervisors receive orientation and training when they begin working at OPA and ensure investigations are in compliance with policies in the OPA Manual.
  • Classify complaints; direct OPA investigative processes; address any additional investigative work requested or directed by OIG; certify in writing the completion and recommended findings of all OPA investigations and convey these recommendations to the Chief; participate in meetings related to recommended findings and discipline and in due process hearings; testify as needed in disciplinary appeals; and where requested, advise the Chief as to discipline and the Chief and City Attorney with regard to disciplinary appeals.
  • Collaborate with the Chief, other SPD leadership, and OIG to strengthen the involvement of supervisory personnel in the accountability system to enhance a culture of accountability throughout SPD.
  • In all SPD officer-involved shootings and other serious use of force incidents, assess at the scene and in associated SPD administrative unit interviews and meetings whether policy violations may have occurred.
  • In the course of OPA's investigation of possible misconduct or policy violations, or in the course of OPA's other obligations Identify systemic problems and recommend changes in SPD policies, training, supervision, and management, and in laws and collective bargaining agreements. Ensure OPA employs effective tools to support access to and understanding of the complaint-handling system, regularly updates complainants and named employees.

The Inspector General manages, and is accountable for all functions and responsibilities of the Office of the Inspector General for Public Safety (OIG). OIG helps ensure the fairness and integrity of the police system as a whole in its delivery of law enforcement services by providing civilian auditing of the management, practices and policies of SPD and the Office of Police Accountability (OPA), and oversees ongoing fidelity to organizational reforms implemented under the City's Consent Decree with the federal government. The Inspector General partners collaboratively with the OPA Director and the Community Police Commission. The Inspector General is appointed by the full City Council and is accountable to the Mayor, City Council, and the Community Police Commission. OIG is an independent City office. The Inspector General may be appointed and reappointed for up to two six-year terms for a total of 12 years.

Job responsibilities:

  • Manage all functions and responsibilities of OIG as set forth in Chapter 3.29 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
  • Hire, supervise, and discharge OIG staff to ensure professional and appropriate performance of duties consistent with City of Seattle human resources polices and Chapter 3.29 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
  • Manage the conduct of OIG risk management reviews, and performance and other audits of SPD, OPA, and other City entities involved in criminal justice operations.
  • Oversee OPA and SPD handling of allegations of misconduct, including directing OIG audits and reviews of OPA classifications and investigations, directing any additional OPA investigations, making certification determinations on OPA investigations, and assessing the substantive and timely follow-through on cases referred to supervisors or for training, mediation, or that were concluded through alternative resolution.
  • Review SPD handling of incidents involving death, serious injury, serious use of force, mass demonstrations, serious property or vehicle damage, or other issues as determined by OIG. This may include review of SPD's administrative investigations or reviews of incidents to assess the caliber of the investigations; assessing the integrity of specific investigation findings; and reviewing after-action reports. The Inspector General or designees have access to any incident scene and may attend and participate in SPD administrative investigation unit interviews and meetings.
  • Review of evidence-based research and successful police practices in other jurisdictions.
  • In collaboration with CPC, monitor, review quarterly, and report on the implementation of recommendations made by the Inspector General, the OPA Director, and CPC.
  • Identify systemic problems and opportunities and recommend changes to policies and practices, laws, and collective bargaining agreements.
  • Collaborate with the Chief, other SPD leadership, and the OPA Director to strengthen the involvement of supervisory personnel in the accountability system to enhance a culture of accountability throughout SPD.
  • Obtain information about community perspectives germane to OIG's oversight responsibilities directly and by consulting with CPC about community needs and concerns.
  • Engage collaboratively with OPA, CPC, and SPD to effectuate coordinated oversight.

Search Committees

The City has empaneled a 10-person search committee divided into two sub-committees for OPA Director and Inspector General candidate interviews. The search committee will review the requirements of the legislation, process and timeline, be briefed on human resources and legal issues and develop recruitment strategies. The OPA and IG sub-committees will review community input on candidate qualities and selection criteria, review resumes, conduct interviews, and recommend finalist candidates. The OPA sub-committee will be chaired by a Community Police Commission and Mayor's Office appointee, while the IG sub-committee will be chaired by a CPC and City Council appointee. This structure maintains the integrity of each appointing authority's independence to appoint the OPA Director and Inspector General.

These committees are comprised of the following members:

OPA Sub-Committee 

IG Sub-Committee 

Isaac Ruiz, Community Police Commission Isaac Ruiz, Community Police Commission
Lisa Daugaard, Community Police Commission Enrique Gonzalez, Community Police Commission
Bernard Melekian, Mayor's Office Bernard Melekian, Mayor's Office
Beth Takekawa, Mayor's Office Councilmember Lorena González
Monisha Harrell, Mayor's Office Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Lorena González Council President Bruce Harrell
Asst. Chief Lesley Cordner, Seattle Police Department Asst. Chief Lesley Cordner, Seattle Police Department

Background: