6.060 - Collection of Information for Law Enforcement Purposes

Effective Date: 5/19/2004


Information will be gathered and recorded in a manner that does not unreasonably infringe upon: individual rights, liberties, and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the State of Washington, including freedom of speech, press, association, and assembly; liberty of conscience; the exercise of religion; the right to petition government for redress of grievances; and the right to privacy. Consistent with this policy, Department personnel shall comply with the dictates of the Investigations Ordinances and with the requirements of Department rules and regulations.

The Department will cooperate fully with the Investigations Ordinance auditor. The Auditor will be given total access to any and all files maintained by the Seattle Police Department except in the case of files or investigations which are specifically exempted from inspection by the Investigations Ordinances.

The Investigations Ordinance requires all Department personnel to safeguard the rights of persons involved in lawful political or religious activities and places restrictions on the documenting of certain types of information. While much of the ordinances pertain to the activities of the Investigations Support Unit, the ordinances are directed at the activities of the Department as a whole. Officers must keep the ordinances in mind when writing reports. Any documentation of information concerning a person’s sexual preferences or practices, or their political or religious activities must be for a relevant reason and serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose. Officers should also be aware of the ordinances when photographing demonstrations or other lawful political activities. If demonstrators are not acting unlawfully, police can’t photograph them. Periodic review of the ordinances is worthwhile, as violations of the ordinances could result in civil liability or disciplinary action, including discharge.

See SMC Chapter 14.12.