Accountability System Legislation

On June 1, 2017, the Mayor signed legislation passed by the City Council to revamp Seattle's police accountability system. The comprehensive legislation establishes an Office of Inspector General for Public Safety (OIG) and makes the Community Police Commission (CPC) permanent. For the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), many of the legislation's provisions codify current practices, but some strengthen OPA, broaden its mandate, and improve its operations. The OIG has greatly broader authority than was given the previous OPA Auditor, but will also continue the OPA Auditor's duties in overseeing OPA. The CPC is also given broader authority than it had in the past, and a substantially greater oversight role than its predecessor, the OPA Review Board. The legislation also addresses the responsibilities of the Seattle Police Department in the accountability system, and reforms policies and practices involving post-OPA decisions (e.g., disciplinary, grievance, and appeals processes.). A companion resolution identifies a number of short-term projects to be undertaken by the OIG and/or the CPC to review and recommend additional changes in laws and policies.

Note: Under the new legislation, the Office of Professional Accountability will be renamed the Office of Police Accountability. Also, some provisions in the new ordinance will not go into effect immediately because they must be bargained and agreed to by the police unions.