Today, OPA Director Pierce Murphy released 2016 Special Report: Pushing for Systemic Change documenting OPA's use of Management Action Recommendations ("MARs") to bring about systemic shifts in Seattle police accountability through investigation, research, and analysis. Through the use of MARs, OPA has been able to effectively address situations in which the public raised concerns regarding the actions of SPD officers but where the OPA found systemic issues that were not the fault of individual officers. This report details all 21 MARs issued by the OPA since the inception of the tool in 2014. Lasting systemic change takes time, resources and momentum. In anticipation of a new civilian police accountability and oversight system in the near future, this report highlights the benefit of civilian oversight and provides a window into areas potentially ripe for further analysis and review.
OPA is grateful for the support of the SPD and the Community Police Commission and their help in ensuring accuracy and thoroughness of this report.
The Office of Professional Accountability is an independent office within the Seattle Police Department (SPD) which investigates complaints of police misconduct made by members of the community and complaints made internally by members of the Seattle Police Department.
The mission of the OPA is to provide for civilian oversight of the complaint process; to promote public awareness of and full access to that process; and to advance accountability within the Seattle Police Department.
HOW IT WORKS
All public contacts are documented by OPA and evaluated to determine how best to respond. Every allegation of misconduct by an SPD employee goes through an extensive review process and is independently investigated.
Learn more about the complaint process
CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT IN SEATTLE
The structure of the OPA was designed to ensure objective, thorough and transparent investigations. All OPA investigations are reviewed by an independent Auditor. The Office of Professional Accountability Review Board furthers the mission of the OPA and assures public trust in the process.
The Auditor is appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. The role of the Auditor is to ensure the thoroughness, fairness and timeliness of the OPA investigations. The Auditor reviews all the OPA complaints and investigations, reviews and assesses Police Department policies and practices, and makes recommendations accordingly.
The Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB) consists of 7 members appointed by the City Council. The OPARB's mission is to provide community oversight and awareness of Seattle Police Department practices and its employee accountability system. The OPARB works with the OPA to implement its mission.