Working for a safe, affordable, vibrant, innovative, and interconnected city.
Learn More Home Page This Department
Seattle Police Department - Home Page

General Policy Information


About and Contact

Audit, Policy & Research Unit Manual

Code of Ethics

Mission Statement and Priorities

Recently Updated

Cross Reference

Latest Revision Date: 12/1/2014

Title 1 - Department Administration

1.010 - Authority and Jurisdiction

1.020 - Chain of Command

1.030 - Department Span of Control Chart

1.040 - Budget

1.050 - Grants

1.060 - Consultant Contract Administration

1.070 - Training

1.080 - Inspection and Audits

1.090 - Ticket Chain of Custody

1.100 - Ticket Audits

1.110 - Media Relations

Title 2 - Department Employment

2.020 - Appointments and Probation

2.030 - Retirements and Separations

2.050 - Collective Bargaining and Contract Management

2.060 - Grievances

2.070 - Performance Evaluations

Title 3 - Employee Welfare

3.035 - Reasonable Accommodation (ADA)

3.040 – Airborne Pathogens Control

3.045 - Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control

3.050 - Coordinating Officer Fatalities

3.070 - Performance Mentoring Program

3.080 - Travel Training System

3.090 - Employee Recognition Awards Program

3.170 - Honoring Those Killed in the Line of Duty

3.270 - Police Charity Committee

3.290 - Pre-Service/In-Service and Specialized Training

3.330 - Workplace Safety

3.340 - Employee Involvement Committees_JLMC

Title 4 - Human Resources

4.000 - Employee Move Tracking System (EMT)

4.005 - Police Employee Data System (PEDS)

4.010 - Employee Time Off

4.015 - Restricted Time Off for a Pre-Planned Event

4.020 - Reporting and Recording Overtime/Out of Classification Pay

4.030 - Jury Duty

4.040 - Sick Leave

4.050 - On-Duty Illness or Injury

4.060 - Long Term Disability Benefits

4.070 - Limited Duty Assignments

4.080 - Pregnancy

4.090 - Leave of Absence Without Pay

4.100 – Family and Medical Leave

4.110 - Sick Leave Donation

4.120 - Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Leave

4.130 - Military Leave

4.140 - Military Spouse/Domestic Partner Leave

4.150 - Funeral Leave

Title 5 - Employee Conduct

5.001 - Standards and Duties

5.002 - Responsibilities of Employees Concerning Complaints of Possible Misconduct

5.010 - Civil Actions

5.020 - Gifts and Gratuities

5.030 - Preparing for Criminal Case Interviews

5.040 - EEO Complaints and Investigations

5.060 - Employee Political Activity

5.090 - Operations Bureau General Personnel Matters

5.100 - Operations Bureau Individual Responsibilities

5.120 - Secondary Employment

5.130 - Supervisor/Employee Relationships

5.140 - Bias-Free Policing

Bias-Free Policing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

5.150 - Use of Private Vehicles for City Business

5.160 - Citizen Observation of Officers

5.170 - Alcohol and Substance Use

5.175 - Critical Incident Stress Management Communications

5.190 - Court Appearances and Legal Proceedings

5.200 - Americans With Disabilities Act

Title 6 - Arrests, Search and Seizure

6.010 - Reporting Arrests and Detentions

6.020 - Arrests and Detentions of Foreign Nationals

6.030 - Body Cavity Searches

6.060 - Collection of Information for Law Enforcement Purposes

6.120 - Impounding Vehicles

6.130 - Informant Management

6.135 - Cooperating Witnesses

6.140 - Locating a Cell Phone during an Emergency

6.150 - Advising Persons of Miranda

6.180 - Searches-General

6.181 - Performing Inventory Searches

6.185 - Search Warrants

6.210 - Strip Searches

6.220 - Voluntary Contacts, Terry Stops & Detentions

6.250 - Use of Non-SPD Canines

6.280 - Warrant Arrests

6.290 - Juvenile Investigations and Arrests

Title 7 - Evidence and Property

7.010 - Submitting Evidence

7.020 - Found Property

7.030 - Firearms & Shell Casings

7.040 - Dangerous or Hazardous Evidence

7.050 - Checking Out Evidence for Court

7.060 - Releasing Evidence

7.070 - Converting Evidence for Department Use

7.080 - Money Evidence

7.090 - Photographic Evidence

7.100 - Fingerprint Evidence

7.110 - Recorded Statements

7.120 - Narcotics Evidence

7.130 – Narcotics Training Aid and Investigative Use Drug Property Release

7.140 – Firearm Training Aid and Investigative Use

7.150 - Non-Detainee Property for Safekeeping

Title 8 - Use of Force

8.000 - Use of Force Core Principles

8.050 - Use of Force Definitions

8.100 - Using Force

8.200 - Use of Force Tools

8.210 - OC Chain of Custody

8.300 - Use of Force Reporting and Investigation

Use of Force Public Safety Statement Card

Investigating Supervisor Scene Guide

Investigating Supervisor Precinct Guide

Investigating Supervisor Documentation Guide

Involved Officer Statement Guide

Witness Officer Statement Guide

8.400 - Reviewing Use of Force

Reviewing Lieutenant Guide

Reviewing Captain Guide

8.500 - Firearms Discharge Investigations

Officer Involved Shooting-Public Safety Statement Card

8.600 - Review of Firearms Discharges

Use-of-Force Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Title 9 - Equipment and Uniforms

9.010 - Employee Dress Standards

9.020 - Uniform

9.030 - Equipment

Equipment Reference Catalog

9.040 - Uniform and Equipment Committee

9.050 - Clothing Allowance and Reimbursement for Personal Property

9.060 - Firearms

9.065 - Firearms Training and Qualification

9.100 - Department Firearms Management

Title 10 - Police Facilities & Security

10.010 - Parking at Department Facilities

10.020 - Physical Security of Police Facilities

10.060 - Holding Cell Camera System

Title 11 - Detainee Management

11.010 - Detainee Management in Department Facilities

11.020 - Transportation of Detainees

11.030 - Guarding Detainees at a Hospital

11.040 - Booking Adult Detainees

11.050 - Detainee Property

Title 12 - Department Information Systems

12.010 - Communications

12.030 - Computer Hardware & Devices

12.040 - Computer Software

12.045 - Booking Photo Comparison Software

12.050 - Criminal Records

12.055 - Criminal Justice Research

12.060 - Department Forms Control

12.070 - Department Publications

12.080 - Department Records Access, Inspection & Dissemination

12.090 - Departmental Correspondence

12.091 - Mobile Reporting Entity (MRE) Laptops

12.110 - Use of Department E-mail & Internet Systems

12.111 - Use of Cloud Storage Services

12.120 - Telephone and Facsimile Machine Use

Title 13 - Vehicle Operations

13.010 - Collisions Involving Department Vehicles

13.015 - Collision Review Board

13.030 - Emergency Vehicle Operations

13.031 - Vehicle Eluding/Pursuits

13.040 - Patrol Operations Equipment, Police Vehicles and Facilities

13.050 - Policing by Mountain Bike

13.060 - Specialty Vehicles & Equipment

13.080 - Use of Department Vehicles

Title 14 - Emergency Operations

14.010 - After-Action Reports

14.040 - Hazardous Conditions

14.060 - Serious Incident Plan

14.070 - Serious Injury or Fatality to a Police Officer

14.080 - Task Force Mobilization

14.090 - Demonstration Management

ICS Debrief Form

14.100 - Special Event Planning

Title 15 - Primary Investigation

15.010 - Arson Investigations

15.015 – Bomb Threats and Explosive Devices

15.020 - Charge by Officer

15.055 - Death Investigations

15.080 - Follow-up Unit Notification and Follow-up Investigation

15.090 - Graffiti Incidents

15.100 - Kidnapping

15.120 - Malicious Harassment

15.130 - Missing Persons

15.140 - Narcotics Activity Report

15.150 - Narcotics

15.160 - Marijuana Enforcement

15.180 - Primary Investigations

15.185 - Vulnerable Adults-Elder Abuse and Neglect

15.190 - Theft and Recovery of Vehicle, License Plates, or License Tabs

15.200 - Retail Theft Program

15.210 - Investigating Property Held by a Pawnshop or Used-Goods Store

15.215 - Domestic Violence Firearms Surrender

15.220 - Child Welfare

15.230 - Animal Control

15.240 - Boating Accidents

15.250 - Interpreters/Translators

15.260 - Collision Investigations

15.270 - Trespass Warning Program

15.275 - Enforcing Trespass in Parks

15.280 - DUI Investigations

15.290 - Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution (SOAP)

15.300 - Stay Out of Drug Areas (SODA)-Define Boundaries

15.310 - Foreign Nationals Seeking Asylum

15.320 - Police Action on Military Reservations

15.330 - Responding to Threats and Assaults on Officers

15.340 - Robbery Response

15.350 - Significant Incident Report

15.360 - Mobile Identification Devices

15.370 - Sexual Assault Investigation

Title 16 - Patrol Operations

16.010 - Adult Entertainment

16.020 - Alley Closure

16.030 - Citizen Rider Program

16.040 - Community Police Teams

16.050 - Death Notifications

16.070 - Responding to Monitored Alarms

16.080 - Fireworks Disposal and Disposition

16.090 - In Car Video System

16.091 - Body-Worn Video Pilot Program

16.100 - Patrol Training and Publications

16.110 - Crisis Intervention

16.130 - Sick and Injured Persons

16.135 - Excited Delirium

16.140 - Traffic Direction and Control

16.150 - Snow and Ice Plan

16.160 - Ticket Vendors

16.170 - Automatic License Plate Readers

16.180 - Patrol Operations Order

16.190 - Labor Management Disputes

16.230 - Issuing Tickets and Traffic Contact Reports

16.231 - Cancelling and Voiding Tickets

16.240 - Mutual Assistance

16.250 - Interaction with the University of Washington Police Department

5.001 – Standards and Duties

Effective Date:  July 16, 2014


This policy is intended to provide the philosophy for employee conduct and professionalism.  It is not the Department’s intent to interfere with or constrain the freedoms, privacy, and liberties of employees; discipline will only be imposed where there is a connection between the conduct and the duties, rank, assignment, or responsibilities of the employee.

The Department encourages all employees to treat all people with dignity; remember that community care-taking is at times the focus, not always command and control; and that the guiding principle is to treat everyone with respect and courtesy, guarding against employing an officious or overbearing attitude and refraining from language, demeanor, and actions that may result in the individual feeling belittled, ridiculed, or intimidated.

This section applies to all Department employees.  The content is not all-inclusive.  Employees must also comply with conduct expectations set forth in other manual sections pertaining to them.

 1.     The Chief of Police Determines Employee Duty Status

The Chief of Police has final authority through the Charter of the City of Seattle to determine the on-duty status of any employee, and whether their actions are within the course and scope of their duties.

Completion of overtime or other Department forms by an employee does not establish the employee’s duty status.

2.     Employees Must Adhere to Laws and Department Policy

Employees are responsible for adhering to the following:

  • Federal laws
  • State laws
  • Laws of the City of Seattle
  • The Seattle Police Manual
  • Published Directives and Special Orders
  • Department Training
  • Applicable collective bargaining agreements and relevant labor laws

3.     Employees Must Attend All Mandatory Training

Employees will attend mandatory training and follow the current curriculum during the course of their duties.

Employees who have missed any mandatory training as a result of excused absences, such as a sick day or court appearance, shall make arrangements through their immediate supervisor to complete that training within a reasonable time frame.

Employees who are on approved limited or light duty and cannot participate in a mandatory training program shall request a waiver using SPD Memorandum (form 1.11), and an Insurer Activity Prescription Form (APF) through their chain of command.

4.     Employees Complete Work in a Timely Manner

Absent exigent circumstances or supervisory approval, employees shall complete all required duties and official reports before going off duty.

5.     Employees May Use Discretion

Employees are authorized and expected to use discretion in a reasonable manner consistent with the mission of the Department and duties of their office and assignment.

The scope of discretion is proportional to the severity of the crime or public safety issue being addressed.

6.     Employees Engaged in Department-Related Activities Identify Themselves When Requested

Employees shall provide their name and Department serial number verbally, or in writing if requested.

Employees may use a Department-issued business card that contains their name and serial number to satisfy the request for the information.

Employees shall also show their department identification card and badge (sworn) when specifically requested to do so.

Exception: Employees are not required to immediately identify themselves if:

  • An investigation is jeopardized
  • A police function is hindered
  • There is a safety consideration

7.     On-Duty Officers in Civilian Attire Identify Themselves When Contacting Citizens

Officers will accomplish this verbally and/or by displaying their badge or Department-issued identification.

Exception: Employees are not required to immediately identify themselves if:

  • An investigation is jeopardized
  • A police function is hindered
  • There is a safety consideration

8.     Uniformed Employees Will Not Initiate Contact With Officers Dressed In Civilian Clothing

When any uniformed employee meets an officer dressed in civilian attire, that uniformed employee shall not openly recognize the plain-clothes officer unless greeted first.

9.     Employees Shall Strive to be Professional at all Times

Regardless of duty status, employees may not engage in behavior that undermines public trust in the Department, the officer, or other officers. Employees will avoid unnecessary escalation of events even if those events do not end in reportable uses of force.

Any time employees represent the Department or identify themselves as police officers or Department employees, they shall not use profanity directed as an insult or any language that is derogatory, contemptuous, or disrespectful toward any person.

Employees on duty or in uniform shall not publicly ridicule:

  • The Department or its policies
  • Other Department employees
  • Other law enforcement agencies
  • The criminal justice system or police profession in general

This applies where such expression is defamatory, obscene, undermines the effectiveness of the Department, interferes with the maintenance of discipline, or is made with reckless disregard for truth.

10.   Employees Shall Be Truthful and Complete In All Communication

Exception: Employees may use deception for a specific and lawful purpose for the following:

  • Exigent circumstances that threaten safety
  • If it is necessary due to the nature of the employee’s assignment
  • To acquire information for criminal investigation or public safety

11.   Employees Must Promptly Report Exonerating Information

Employees must report any information they discover that may exonerate a person who is under investigation, or has been charged with or convicted of a crime.

12.   Employees Shall Not Use Their Position or Authority for Personal Gain

13.   Retaliation is prohibited

No employee shall retaliate against any person who:

  • Exercises a constitutional right
  • Records an incident
  • Makes a public disclosure request
  • Publicly criticizes an SPD employee or the Department
  • Initiates litigation
  • Opposes any practice that is reasonably believed to be unlawful or in a violation of Department policy
  • Files a complaint or provides testimony or information related to a complaint of misconduct
  • Provides testimony or information for any other administrative criminal or civil proceeding involving the Department or an officer
  • Communicates intent to engage in the above-described activities
  • Otherwise engages in lawful behavior

Retaliation includes discouragement, intimidation, coercion, or adverse action against any person. This prohibition will include any interference with the conduct of an administrative, civil, or criminal investigation.

Such retaliation may be a criminal act, may give rise to personal civil liability, or constitute independent grounds for discipline, up to and including termination.

14.   Employees Obey any Lawful Order Issued by a Superior Officer

Failure to obey lawful orders from a superior officer constitutes insubordination.  Orders may be issued directly, relayed through a subordinate employee or current Department training, published in notices, and other forms of communication.

15.   Supervisors Clarify Conflicts in Orders

Should any orders conflict with a previous order, or published regulation, employees may respectfully bring this to the supervisor’s attention.

The supervisor who issued the conflicting order shall take reasonable steps to correct the conflict in orders.

16.   Employees May Object to Orders Under Certain Conditions

An employee may object to a supervisor’s orders under the following conditions:

  • When such orders represent unjustified, substantial and/or reckless disregard for life or safety
  • When such orders are illegal or unethical
  • When the supervisor has been relieved of duty by an employee of higher rank
  • When other circumstances are present that establish the supervisor’s inability to discharge the duties of the assignment

Employees in this situation shall, if practical, state the basis for objecting to the order to the supervisor.

If the situation remains unresolved, the employee shall immediately contact the next higher ranking supervisor in the chain of command.

17.   Employees Must Avoid Conflicts Of Interest

Employees shall not associate with persons or organizations where such association reasonably gives the appearance of conflict of interest.

Employees shall not engage in enforcement, investigative, or administrative functions that create or give the appearance of conflicts of interest.

Employees shall not investigate events where they are involved.  This also applies where any person with whom the employee has a personal relationship is involved in the event.

Except in cases of emergency, officers shall not arrest family members, business associates, or social acquaintances.

Employees shall not show preference by recommending or suggesting the employment of any attorney, bondsman, or other business during the course of, or as a result of, their official business as employees of the Department.

See also SMC 4.16-City Code of Ethics and 5.120 – Secondary Employment.

18. Employees Must Disclose Conflicts

Employees shall immediately disclose to the Chief of Police, via their supervisor, any activities or relationships that may present an actual, potential, or apparent conflict of interest for themselves or other Department employees.

19.   Employees Shall Not Use a Department Mailing Address for Personal Reasons

This provision includes using a Department address for a driver license, vehicle registration, telephone service, etc.

20.   Employees Shall Not Imply to Another Agency the Department’s Approval or Disapproval of That Agency’s Actions

21. Employees Shall Not Recommend Case Dispositions to Courts

No employee below Assistant Chief shall make any recommendations to any court or other judicial agency regarding the disposition of any pending court case investigated by the Department.

Exception: This does not apply to agencies conducting pre-sentence investigations.

22.   Employees Notify the Department Before Initiating any Claim for Damages Related to Their Official Position

Employees must report their intention to initiate a claim for damages sustained while working in a law enforcement capacity or by virtue of employment with the Department.  This notification is to the Chief of Police via the employee’s chain of command.

23.   Officers Report any Off-Duty Assault on Themselves Related to Department Employment

If an employee is assaulted while working off-duty in a law enforcement capacity, that employee must report the assault.  The employee must then notify the Department before seeking a No Contact or Restraining Order related to the assault.  This notification is to the Chief of Police via the employee’s chain of command.

24.   Employees Report Their Intent to Initiate Lawsuits or Seek Court Orders

Employees must report to the Chief of Police their intention to initiate a lawsuit for damages sustained while working in a law enforcement capacity or by virtue of employment with the Department.

Sworn employees shall notify their supervisor prior to applying for a No Contact or Restraining Order stemming from an assault on the employee that occurred while the employee was working in a law enforcement capacity.