General Policy Information
Latest Revision Date: 11/20/2013
Title 1 - Department Structure and Function
Title 2 - Department Employment
Title 3 - Employee Welfare
Title 4 - Human Resources
Title 5 - Employee Conduct
Title 6 - Arrests, Search and Seizure
Title 7 - Evidence and Property
Title 8 - Use of Force
Title 9 - Equipment and Uniforms
Title 10 - Police Facilities & Security
Title 11 - Detainee Management
Title 12 - Department Information Systems
Title 13 - Vehicle Operations
Title 14 - Emergency Operations
Title 15 - Primary Investigation
Title 16 - Patrol Operations
Effective Date: 3/1/2002
A. The Washington State Constitution provides for the incorporation of municipalities. Cities having a population of ten thousand or more inhabitants are designated as First Class Cities (RCW 35.22.010) and shall be governed and organized according to the law in accordance with the State Constitution (Article 11, Section 10, Amendment 40).The form of the organization and the manner and mode in which cities of the first class shall exercise the powers, functions and duties conferred upon them by law, with respect to their own government, shall be as provided in the charters thereof (RCW 35.22.020).
II. Mayor, Powers and Duties
A. The Mayor shall see that the laws of the City are enforced, and shall direct and control all subordinate officers of the City, except in so far as such enforcement, direction and control is by this charter reposed in some other officer or board, and shall maintain peace and order in the City.
B. The mayor shall be the judge in any emergency, and may assume command of all or any part of the police force of the City. Before assuming such control, the mayor shall issue a proclamation to that effect, and it shall be the duty of the Chief of Police to execute orders promulgated by the mayor during such emergency.
C. The mayor shall perform such other duties and exercise such other authority as may be prescribed by law (City Charter, Article V, Section 2).
III. Chief of Police and Police Officers, Powers and Duties
A. The Chief of Police shall manage the Police Department, and shall prescribe rules and regulations, consistent with law, for its government and control; provided, that the Chief of Police shall be responsible to the Mayor for the administration of the Police Department and the enforcement of law (City Charter, Article VI, Section 4).
B. The Chief of Police shall be the chief peace officer of the City. All process issued by the police judge of the City shall be directed to the Chief of Police for service, and may be served and returned by the Chief or any peace officer. The Chief of Police shall maintain the peace and quiet of the City. The Chief shall have like powers and responsibilities as the Sheriff of King County in similar cases, and shall perform such other duties as may be imposed by ordinance (City Charter, Article VI, Section 5, First).
C. The Chief of Police or any police officer may make arrests for any crime or violation of the laws of the State, or any ordinance of the City committed within the City. The Chief of Police shall keep a correct record of all arrests, showing the time and cause of complaint upon which each arrest was made, with a list and description of all property and money taken from each person (City Charter, Article VI, Section 5, Second).
D. The Chief of Police shall be responsible for all property and money taken from any person. The Chief shall be liable therefore on the official bond, and any person may recover for loss of any such property or money in an action brought for that purpose (City Charter, Article VI, Section 5, Third).
E. The Chief of Police and duly authorized deputies and assistants acting on the Chief’s behalf shall function as the Port Warden of the City and assume control and jurisdiction over all waters within the City limits, and shall maintain safety and enforce the ordinances and regulations of the Harbor Code as described in Chapters 16.04 and 16.12, of the Seattle Municipal Code.
IV. Police Department Organization
A. The Police Department shall consist of a Chief of Police and as many subordinate officers and employees as may by ordinance be prescribed. There shall be maintained adequate police protection in each district of the City (City Charter, Article VI, Section 1).
V. Appointment to Office
A. The Chief of Police shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation of all members of the City Council (City Charter, Article VI, Section 2).
B. All subordinate police officers shall be appointed by the Chief of Police under Civil Service Rules and Regulations (City Charter, Article VI, Section 2).