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General Policy Information


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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

5.140 – Bias-Free Policing

Effective Date:  01/01/2015


The Seattle Police Department is committed to providing services and enforcing laws in a professional, nondiscriminatory, fair, and equitable manner.

Our objective is to provide equitable police services based upon the needs of the people we encounter.

The intent of this policy is to increase the Department’s effectiveness as a law enforcement agency and to build mutual trust and respect with Seattle’s diverse groups and communities.

Bias-based policing is the different treatment of any person by officers motivated by any characteristic of protected classes under state, federal, and local laws as well other discernible personal characteristics of an individual. Such “discernible personal characteristics” include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Age
  • Disability status
  • Economic status
  • Familial status
  • Gender
  • Gender Identity
  • Homelessness
  • Mental illness
  • National origin
  • Political ideology
  • Race, ethnicity, or color
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Use of a motorcycle or motorcycle‐related paraphernalia – RCW 43.101.419
  • Veteran status

1. Every Employee is Responsible for Knowing and Complying With This Policy

The Chief of Police will reinforce that bias‐based policing is unacceptable through specific yearly training, regular updates, and such other means as may be appropriate.

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring all personnel in their command are operating in compliance with this policy.

2. Officers Will Not Engage in Bias-Based Policing

Employees shall not make decisions or take actions that are influenced by bias, prejudice, or discriminatory intent.  Law enforcement and investigative decisions must be based upon observable behavior or specific intelligence.

Officers may not use discernible personal characteristics in determining reasonable suspicion or probable cause, except as part of a suspect description.

Employees shall not express—verbally, in writing, or by other gesture—any prejudice or derogatory comments concerning discernible personal characteristics.

No employee shall retaliate against any person who initiates or provides information or testimony related to an investigation, prosecution, OPA complaint, litigation or hearings related to the Department or Departmental employees, regardless of the context in which the allegation is made, or because of such person's participation in the complaint process as a victim, witness, investigator, decision‐maker or reviewer.

Employees who engage in, ignore, or condone bias-based policing will be subject to discipline.

Supervisors and commanders who fail to respond to, document and review allegations of bias‐based policing will be subject to discipline.

3. The Characteristics of an Individual May Be Appropriately Considered in Limited Circumstances

Officers may take into account the discernible personal characteristics of an individual in establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause only when the characteristic is part of a specific suspect description based on trustworthy and relevant information that links a specific person to a particular unlawful incident.

Officers must articulate specific facts and circumstances that support their use of such characteristics in establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

Officers are expected to consider relevant personal characteristics of an individual when determining whether to provide services designed for individuals with those characteristics (e.g., behavioral crisis, homelessness, addictions, etc.).

4. All Employees Share Responsibility for Preventing Bias-Based Policing

Employees who have observed or are aware of others who have engaged in bias‐based policing shall specifically report such incidents to a supervisor, providing all information known to them, before the end of the shift during which they make the observation or become aware of the incident.

Supervisors, commanders and civilian managers have an individual obligation to ensure the timely and complete review and documentation of all allegations of violation of this policy that are referred to them or of which they should reasonably be aware.

5. Employees Will Call a Supervisor in Response to Allegations of Bias-Based Policing

If a person alleges bias‐based policing, the employee shall call a supervisor to the scene to review the circumstances and determine an appropriate course of action.  For purposes of this policy, an allegation of bias-based policing occurs whenever, from the perspective of a reasonable officer, a subject complains that he or she has received different treatment from an officer because of any discernible personal characteristic listed above.

If the person declines to speak with a supervisor or wishes to leave before the supervisor arrives, the employee will attempt to offer the person the supervisor’s contact information and information on how to file a complaint with the Office of Professional Accountability.

Officers may not extend a detention solely to await the arrival of a supervisor.

If officers have completed their business with the person making the allegation, and the supervisor has not yet arrived, the officer will wait at the location for the supervisor to arrive.

6. Employees Will Document All Allegations of Bias-Based Policing

Where there has been an allegation of bias‐based policing, the investigating supervisor will complete a Bias Review Blue Team entry to document the circumstances of the allegation and steps that were taken to resolve it. This review must include the following information, if the person is willing to provide it:

  • The person’s name,
  • Address,
  • Phone number, or email address, and
  • Contact information for witnesses who observed the events.

The investigating supervisor must submit all documentation of an allegation of bias-based policing by the end of his or her shift.

If the supervisor believes the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the person making the allegation, and that no misconduct was involved, the supervisor will complete a Bias Review Blue Team entry.  The supervisor will then forward the Blue Team entry, via the chain of command, to the bureau chief.

7. Supervisors Conduct Preliminary Inquiry into Bias-Based Policing

If the person wishes to speak with the supervisor about the biased‐policing concerns, the supervisor will discuss the incident with the complainant. If the complainant has left the scene the supervisor shall make efforts to contact the complainant by phone or letter.

The reviewing supervisor shall explain to the person making the allegation the option to refer the complaint to OPA.  If the person making the allegation asks that the matter be referred to OPA then the reviewing supervisor shall refer it using the Complaint Blue Team entry, instead of the Bias Review Blue Team entry.

If the reviewing or approving supervisor determines that there may have been misconduct, that supervisor shall refer the matter to OPA using the Complaint Blue Team entry for further investigation.

When a supervisor sends a complaint to OPA, a Bias Review Blue Team entry will not be used.  Bias Review Blue Team entries are only used when the supervisor believes that no misconduct occurred and that the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant.

8. An Annual Report Will be Prepared for the Chief of Police and the Public

This report shall describe and analyze the year’s bias‐based policing allegations and the status of the Department’s effort to prevent bias‐based policing.

After review by the SPD command staff, and after names of individual officers have been removed, this report will be made available to the community.

9. Disparate Impacts

The Seattle Police Department is committed to eliminating policies and practices that have an unwarranted disparate impact on certain protected classes. It is possible that the long term impacts of historical inequality and institutional bias could result in disproportionate enforcement, even in the absence of intentional bias. The Department’s policy is to identify ways to protect public safety and public order without engaging in unwarranted or unnecessary disproportionate enforcement.

This policy requires periodic analysis of data which will assist in identification of SPD practices – including stops, citations and arrests – that may have a disparate impact on particular protected classes relative to the general population. 

When disparate impacts are identified, the Department will consult as appropriate with neighborhood, business and community groups, including the Community Police Commission, to explore equally effective alternative practices that would result in less disproportionate impact. Alternative enforcement practices may include addressing the targeted behavior in a different way, de‐emphasizing the practice in question or other measures. Initially, disparate impact analysis will focus on race, color, and national origin. The Department will consult with the Community Police Commission about whether to examine disparity with respect to other classifications.

The Disparate Impacts section of the policy is not a basis to impose discipline upon any employee of the Department, nor is it intended to create a private right of action to enforce its terms.

a. The Chief of Police or Designee Will Enforce Policy

The Chief or designee will ensure that this policy is in effect and carried out.

b. Officers Document Enforcement Activity

See Seattle Police Manual Section 6.220 – Voluntary Contacts, Terry Stops & Detentions.

c. The Department Analyzes Officer-Initiated Activity

The analysis focuses on enforcement practices (stops, citations, and arrests) that are not primarily driven by reports from crime victims. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Prostitution
  • Obstructing
  • Resisting arrest
  • Driving crimes/infractions
  • Pedestrian interference
  • Illegal camping
  • Pedestrian violations (e.g., “Jaywalking”)
  • Drinking in public
  • Public consumption of marijuana
  • Public urination/defecation

d. An Annual Report will be prepared for the Chief of Police and the Public

This report shall describe the year’s data collection and analysis and efforts to address disparate impact of policing.

After review by the SPD command staff, and after names of individual officers have been removed, this report will be made available to the community.



5.140–PRO-1 Handling a Bias-Based Policing Allegation


1. Receives an allegation of bias-based policing

2. Calls a supervisor to the scene

2a. If the officer’s sergeant is not available, the officer notifies a sergeant from the officer’s precinct.

2b. If no sergeant is available, the officer notifies a lieutenant who may assign a specific sergeant or who will personally respond to conduct the same review as would have been required of a sergeant had one been available.

Next-Level Supervisor

3. Responds to the scene

4. Gathers all relevant information from the person making the allegation and any witnesses, if they are willing to provide it

Relevant information is defined as any information that may tend to explain, prove, or disprove the allegations being made.

5. Provides specific information to the person on how to file a complaint or, if warranted, refers the matter to OPA for further investigation

See Seattle Police Manual Section 5.002 - Responsibilities of Employees Concerning Complaints of Possible Misconduct.


    6. Completes a Blue Team entry

6a. Uses the Complaint Blue   Team entry for cases that are being referred to OPA for further investigation


6b. Uses the Bias Review Blue Team entry for cases that are not being referred to OPA for further investigation

7. Forwards the Blue Team entry to the bureau chief via the chain of command

Bureau Chief

    8. Reviews and forwards the Blue 

    Team entry to OPA