The Seattle Police Monitor released its Fourth Systemic Assessment on Friday, January 22, 2016, which focused on the Classification and Investigation processes of OPA. According to the Monitor, the goal of the assessment was to provide the Court with data on how to "create a better framework of independent review of the various polices, organizations and systems that will monitor the performance of the Seattle Police Department."
Specifically in 86% of cases the Monitor found them to be adequate to superior because they were "thorough, well-documented, and complete," and additionally found final classifications appropriate in all instances. Some challenges acknowledged is the fact OPA investigators carry "significantly heavier caseloads than neighboring agencies," the cabined nature of OPA's charge, and Collective Bargaining Agreement restrictions (i.e., 180 days, written responses by command staff, etc.) may contribute to missed timelines and investigation issues.
Though with every assessment there are areas of high performance and areas for improvement, the overall tenor was complimentary and provides a realistic view of the internal workings of OPA and the challenges to continually provide accessible, trusted and transparent accountability of SPD.
The full report can be found here, and an article about its release here.
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.