Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
COUNCIL COMMITTEE NOMINATES NEW
OPA REVIEW BOARD MEMBERS
Public Safety Chair says, “The OPA Review Board is in good hands.”
SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council’s Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee today released the names of seven individuals it will nominate to the newly expanded Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Review Board.
The OPA Review Board is one part of Seattle’s three-part system of police oversight that also includes the civilian-led Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), which receives and investigates complaints of misconduct, and the independent civilian auditor, who oversees internal investigations. The Board evaluates the misconduct complaint handling process, monitors local and national trends in police practices and oversight, and conducts regular community-listening and outreach efforts.
The expansion of the Review Board to seven members is one of several changes in police oversight brought about by the Council’s recent ratification of a new labor contract with the city’s police officers. Other changes include an expanded role for the civilian auditor, including additional authority to order investigations, and greater collaboration between the Review Board, auditor, and OPA on developing annual work plans, the focus of periodic audits, and community outreach efforts.
The nominated Board members, who must undergo full Council confirmation in the coming weeks, include Tina Bueche, a small business owner in Pioneer Square; George Davenport, a lawyer and Chief Operating Officer at First African Methodist Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill; Sharon Dear, a litigation defense lawyer and former deputy prosecuting attorney; Steven Freng, a clinical psychologist specializing in drug prevention and treatment; Martha Nordberg, a CPA and former sworn law enforcement officer; Patrick Sainsbury, designated as chair of the Board who led the fraud division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for 26 years; and, David Wilma, a free-lance writer and former sworn law enforcement officer.
“This group brings a diversity of experiences to the Review Board,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess, chair of the Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee. “These individuals have the disposition, skills, and competence to serve every citizen and every neighborhood. The Board is in good hands. Police accountability and oversight is strengthened by these highly qualified individuals.”
“Fairness and transparency in the police accountability system are important to the public and to police officers,” said incoming Board Chair Patrick Sainsbury. “Police officers have great power and discretion, and it is good public policy that they be accountable for their use of their power and discretion. The City Council members and their staff who interviewed me share these values. I’m honored to be selected to serve and look forward to working with my fellow Board members to make the system work fairly and transparently.”
Councilmember Bruce Harrell said, “After personally interviewing the candidates to fill this board, I can say with all certainty that the individuals we have selected are the highest qualified and will do the City proud.”
Added Councilmember Nick Licata, “The outgoing board has made a tremendous contribution towards the goal of greater transparency in Seattle’s police accountability practices. The members of the new Board will best benefit from that contribution as they take on this challenging work by striving to listen to as many voices as possible.”
The Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee will consider the Board nominations on Tuesday, August 5, 2008, at 2:00 pm. Full Council action will likely occur the following Monday, August 11, at 2:00 pm.
Biographies of the nominees to the OPA Review Board