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Code of Ethics for Appointed OPARB Members

Preamble

As members of the OPA Review Board we have a unique role as public servants overseeing law enforcement in Seattle. The citizens, elected officials, and police have entrusted us to conduct our work in a professional, fair and impartial manner. We earn this trust through a firm commitment to the public good, adhering to the mission of our office, and to the ethical and professional standards herein.

Integrity

Demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity, commitment, truthfulness, and fortitude in order to inspire trust among our stakeholders. Conduct ourselves in a fair and impartial manner. Avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest. Do not participate in decisions or investigations where it is likely you will be perceived as having a conflict of interests. Do not accept gifts, gratuities or favors that could compromise your impartiality and independence. Conduct all oversight activities with diligence, integrity, objectivity and fairness, and with an open and questioning mind. At all times, place our obligation to the public and our obligation to uphold the law above our own personal self-interest.

Independence

Seek to determine true facts with thoroughness, rigorously testing the accuracy and reliability of information from all sources. Present the truth as we find it, without regard to our personal beliefs or concern for personal, professional, or political consequences. Render decisions, findings, reports and recommendations independently, without allowing personal bias to interfere, and without being swayed by outside pressure, public clamor, fear of criticism, or self-interest. Base all decisions, findings, reports and recommendations on truth and fact that are evaluated using the appropriate standard of evidence, and incorporate best practices designed to improve the Seattle Police Department and its relationship with the community.  

Outreach and Transparency

Strive to operate as openly and transparently as possible, especially with the public, by conducting open meetings, providing regular reports, explanations of our goals, procedures, and practices to as wide an audience as possible. Actively pursue open, candid, and non-defensive dialogue with stakeholders. Strive to both educate and learn from the community, while at the same time always seek to maintain the confidentiality of information that cannot be disclosed and protect the integrity, safety, and security of confidential records in our care. All members shall treat individuals with professionalism, dignity and respect, and without preference or discrimination based on age, ethnicity, culture, race, abilities, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or political beliefs.

Commitment to Excellence

Maintain professional competence and seek continuing education to ensure the highest level of competence. Acquire the necessary knowledge and understanding of the policies, procedures, and practices of the oversight system and law enforcement in order to effectively evaluate them. Establish personal contact with officers and command staff through ride-alongs, visits to precincts, or by attendance at trainings and briefings. Proactively seek knowledge and understanding of local as well as broader emerging law enforcement issues, procedures, and practices. Seek new and effective approaches by networking with other civilian review professionals and organizations. Gauge our effectiveness through meaningful feedback and thorough evaluation and analysis of our work product with an eye towards continuous improvement and the advancement of police accountability in Seattle.

Adapted from the 2006 NACOLE Code of Ethics for Civilian Oversight Practitioners

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