General Policy Information
Latest Revision Date: 5/15/2013
Title 1 - Department Structure and Function
Title 2 - Department Employment
Title 3 - Employee Welfare
Title 4 - Timekeeping
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: 4/18/2012
A. General Provisions
1. This policy shall apply to all commissioned Police Officers, Reserve Police Officers, extended authority Retired Police Officer Commission holders, and individuals with Special Police Officer Commission who are authorized by the Chief of Police to carry a firearm. A firearm for purposes of this policy is any authorized handgun (revolver or semi-automatic pistol), shotgun or rifle.
2. Fully Loaded: A magazine for a semi automatic pistol or rifle that contains one round less than maximum capacity shall be considered a fully loaded magazine. All on duty officers, in uniform or plain clothes, will be armed with a fully loaded Department approved firearm.
3. Officers will not be required to work without a firearm except as provided by Guild Contract. Exceptions to this policy are detailed within this document.
4. When armed, sworn personnel must carry Department issued identification and badge while off duty, whether in uniform or plainclothes. Officers working undercover are exempt from this requirement.
5. Off-duty sworn personnel may choose whether or not to be armed.
6. Any firearm approved for the individual officer for on-duty use may be used by that officer for off-duty use.
7. The firearms policy for on-duty personnel shall apply to off-duty personnel when working at any employment where police authority is required.
8. Primary Duty Firearm: Handgun authorized for carry while in uniform (not a concealed back-up, or authorized plain clothes/undercover handgun).
9. Reload: A speed loader or speedstrip for revolvers, or a magazine for pistols or rifles.
10. Uniformed personnel shall carry at least two reloads for their primary duty firearm. On-duty plainclothes personnel shall carry at least one reload for their primary duty firearm. Reloads will conform to the authorized ammunition standards prescribed in this manual section.
11. While on-duty, sworn personnel shall carry no more than two handguns, one authorized primary and one authorized secondary (back-up).
12. While in uniform, personnel shall have no more than one handgun visible. Any handgun carried as a second handgun, in uniform or plainclothes, shall conform to the specifications and approval procedure directed this policy.
13. If an officer wants to carry a personally owned handgun, other than an approved Glock, they must get approval from the Deputy Chief of Administration or their designee. The personally owned handgun must be inspected by the Firearms Training Squad and the officer must successfully qualify with the handgun.
14. Officers carrying a handgun under the authority of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) must carry a firearm that the officer has qualified with through their department.
15. When clearing a firearm for any reason, at a Department facility, a clearing (sand) barrel or other authorized device specifically designed for clearing firearms will be utilized.
B. Specialty Firearms
1. Bureau Chiefs may authorize the use of special firearms for selected specialty assignments.
a. The unit requesting the use of a specialty firearm will coordinate with the Firearms Training Squad to ensure proper documentation and authorization.
b. All specialty weapons must be inspected, approved and recorded by Firearms Training Squad staff prior to deployment.
c. The officer carrying the specialty firearm must be trained in the use of the firearm and meet department and unit qualification requirements.
d. Approval to carry a specialty firearm is not transferable to another officer.
e. The officer will return the specialty firearm(s) to the unit of assignment when the firearm is no longer needed or the officer transfers out of the unit.
C. Personally Owned Firearms
1. If an officer wants to use a personally owned firearm for on-duty or off-duty use they must present the firearm to the Firearms Training Squad for testing, approval and documentation before attempting to qualify the firearm for use.
D. Firearm Alterations
1. All on-duty, off-duty or back up firearms and magazines, Department issued or privately owned, shall be maintained in factory stock condition unless modified by the Range Staff at the direction of the Captain of the Education & Training Section.
E. Authorized Pistols
Smith and Wesson
Caliber .380 cal. (for off duty or secondary handgun only)
.40 S & W
Appearance Frame, barrel and cylinder will be a dark or stainless steel color with non-reflective finish. Stocks will be of wood or synthetic material with a dark color.
(The Glock shall have a consistent trigger pull of at least 5.5 or more pounds. Officers assigned to the SWAT Team are authorized to have a consistent trigger pull of 5.5 or more pounds.)
F. Authorized Revolvers
Smith and Wesson
Caliber .38 Special
.45 ACP (Smith and Wesson only)
Barrel length 2 inch - special assignment use only
Appearance Frame, barrel and cylinder will be a dark or stainless steel color with non-reflective finish. Stocks will be of wood or synthetic material with a dark color.
* Officers electing to carry .357 ammunition must receive authorization from the Deputy Chief of Administration or designee and qualify the .357 revolver with a minimum of 85% of the maximum score and must maintain this score during subsequent qualifications to continue carrying .357 ammunition. Officers are required to purchase their own Department specified .357 Magnum duty and qualification ammunition.
G. Primary On-duty Authorized Pistol/Revolver
1. All officers hired after January 1, 1995, will carry one of the following as their primary on-duty handgun:
a. Glock, Model 22 or Model 23-(.40 caliber)
b. Glock Model 17 or 19-(9MM)
c. Glock Model 21SF or 30SF-(.45 caliber)
2. Officers hired prior to January 1, 1995 who did not transition to the Department approved Glock may continue to carry their Department-approved, personally-owned pistol or Department-issued/personally owned revolver as their primary on-duty firearm. Officers may transition to the Department approved Glock at any time.
a. Once an officer has transitioned to the Department approved Glock, they will not be allowed to go back to their previously authorized pistol or revolver without written permission from the Deputy Chief of Administration or their designee
H. Plain Clothes Assignments
1. Officers assigned to plainclothes duty may carry as their primary on-duty firearm the:
a. .40 caliber Glock Model 27,
b. 9MM Glock 26,
c. 45 caliber Glock 30SF,
d. Department authorized 2 inch revolver.
2. Officers who carry any of the above models must qualify with these firearms on the on-duty qualification course during Department qualifications. To carry the smaller Glock models, the officer must qualify to carry one of the larger Glock models. The approval of the officer’s Bureau Chiefis required to carry the two- inch revolver.
3. Seattle Police Department Special Duty Handgun Authorization (form 13.15) must be presented to the Quartermaster who will issue the Department-approved special duty handgun.
4. Ammunition authorized for special handguns will be unaltered factory manufactured ammunition as approved by the Bureau Chiefauthorizing the use of the handgun.
5. Officers will cease carrying a two-inch revolver or Glock 26/27as their primary on-duty firearm upon completion of the authorized assignment or when the specific need no longer exists.
a. Exceptions may be made for specialty assignments with prior written permission of the individual’s Bureau Chief. Special exemptions end when the assignment requiring the exception is completed.
b. The Department issued two inch revolver or Glock 26/27shall be cleaned, lubricated, and returned to the Quartermaster immediately upon being transferred to another assignment.
I. Secondary On-Duty / Off-Duty Handguns - General Specifications
1. Only the listed revolvers are approved and must meet the following specifications. Approved revolvers will:
a. Have a minimum five shot capacity.
b. Have an eight to 12 pound double action trigger pull.
c. Contain/have a hammer block safety.
d. Be capable of being loaded or unloaded without detaching the cylinder from the frame.
e. Have a minimum barrel length of 1 7/8 inch to a maximum 6 inch barrel length.
f. Pass the inspection/approval of the Firearms Training Squad Sergeant(s) or his or her designee.
2. Only the listed semi-automatic pistols are approved and must meet the following specifications. Approved pistols:
a. Must be capable of locking the slide to the rear for visual and physical inspections of the chamber. A firearm is deemed to have satisfied this requirement if the slide locks to the rear with an empty magazine inserted into the firearm.
b. Must have a greater than four pound first shot trigger pull using calibrated trigger pull weights.
c. Can be field stripped with minimal use of tools.
d. Cannot be altered from the factory specifications.
e. Must be designed to prevent the firing pin from striking a chambered round due to inertia without the trigger being pulled. A firearm is deemed to have satisfied this requirement if, as manufactured and at factory specifications, the firearm passes the NIJ or California drop test standards.
f. All semi-automatic pistols carried while on duty as a backup firearm or in plainclothes are required to have at least one extra magazine.
g. Pass the inspection/approval of the Firearms Training Squad Sergeant(s) or his or her designee.
J. Authorized Ammunition
1. Only the following is authorized:
a. .380 Auto Speer 90gr. GDHP*
b. .38 Special +P Speer 125gr. GDHP*
c. .357 Magnum Speer 125gr. GDHP*
d. 9mm Speer124gr.+P GDHP*
e. .40 S & W Speer 180gr. GDHP*
f. .45 ACP Speer 230gr. GDHP*
*Note- Federal HST may be used for duty ammunition in lieu of Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point (GDHP).
2. Officers shall be provided with duty ammunition appropriate for their firearm and consistent with Department policy
3. Officers shall use all the practice ammunition at the Range and return the expended casings to the Range office or deposit them in the appropriate containers.
4. Officers covered by a collective bargaining agreement shall be provided with fifty (50) rounds of practice ammunition each month. The Captain of the Education & Training Section or the Firearms Training Squad Sergeant has the discretion to issue officers additional practice ammunition.
5. Only unaltered factory manufactured ammunition that conforms to the specifications listed shall be authorized for firearms carried within the City of Seattle. This applies to all officers on-duty, off-duty, or engaged in secondary employment.
6. The Firearms Training Squad shall issue ammunition for firearms carried on-duty, except for .357 Magnum ammunition.
7. Officers carrying a 9mm Glock will be issued 9MM 124grain +P ammunition.
8. The Firearms Training Squad shall not issue reloaded ammunition. Reloaded ammunition will not be used in Department owned firearms.
9. Only authorized duty ammunition will be used by officers while qualifying their primary duty firearm. The Firearms Training Squad will issue replacement duty ammunition at the completion of the qualification.
10. Practice ammunition shall be factory loaded clean fire ammunition. Where availability of clean fire practice ammunition is in short supply due to market conditions the use of non-clean fire ammunition may be temporarily substituted. The department will make every effort to maintain parity of practice ammunition bullet weight specifications as that of duty ammunition.
11. Notice of changes to ammunition specifications will be made within 60 days of implementation.
K. Qualification Requirements
1. Officers are required to qualify annually with their primary duty firearm at the police range as a condition of employment. Reserve Officers are required to qualify with their primary duty firearm at the police range as a condition of their police commission. Retired officers granted Retired Police Officer Commissions (Extended Authority) and Special Police Officer Commission holders authorized to carry a firearm are required to qualify with their primary duty firearm at the police range as a condition of maintaining their commission.
2. All officers are required to qualify with their on-duty, back-up/off-duty firearms as directed by the Education & Training Section Captain .
3. The qualification standards and proficiency training curriculum shall be established by the Captain of the Education & Training Section.
a. Qualifications standards are minimum scores established by the Captain of the Education & Training Section, and are published prior to a scheduled qualification shoot.
4. All handguns will be inspected and maintained by a qualified member of the Firearms Training Squad staff prior to qualification. Any handgun deemed unserviceable will be left with the Firearms Training Squad staff and the officer will be issued a replacement handgun from the Quartermaster Unit.
5. Following the handgun portion of the qualification course, officers are required to initial next to their score on the sign-in sheet. This is to ensure that officers know, and agree with, their score as documented.
L. Qualification Waivers
1. Any officer who is unable to participate in a qualification due to a current medical condition shall submit a written request and justification for a waiver.
a. The request shall be forwarded to their immediate sergeant and then through the officer’s chain of command to their Bureau Chief.
b. Only the Bureau Chiefshall approve qualification waiver requests.
c. The waiver request shall contain medically verifiable information justifying the waiver request.
d. When an officer is unable to initiate a request due to injury or absence, the waiver request will be initiated by the officer’s sergeant.
2. Once approval of the waiver has been granted:
a. The original waiver request shall be forwarded to the Captain of the Education & Training Section.
b. Copies of the approved waiver request shall be sent to the officer and to the Firearms Training Squad.
3. An approved waiver request is only valid for the current year’s qualification. Additional waiver request(s) must be submitted for each year as necessary. The waiver request must be submitted within the first 30 days of the new year.
4. If an officer does not attend qualifications within a year’s time and the absence is unexcused or the officer fails to appear for remedial training after a failed qualification attempt, the Education & Training Section Captain will send a memorandum to the officer’s Bureau Chieffor further action.
5. Vacations, furloughs, sick days, work schedules, court time, and other conflicting routines are not grounds for requesting waivers.
M. Failure to Qualify (Full-Time Sworn Officers)
1. If an officer fails to qualify with their on-duty primary handgun:
a. They will be given one more chance to qualify that day.
b. Those who fail a second time must sign up for remedial firearms training.
c. The officer will contact the Firearms Training Squad staff to arrange for individualized remedial training.
d. The remedial training must take place between the failed qualification and the next two special qualifications which is approximately 60 days.
2. It is the officer’s responsibility to meet with their assigned instructor as often as needed during the remedial training period to acquire the skills required to successfully qualify with their firearm.
a. The officer will be provided with a reasonable amount of additional target ammunition to assist the officer in attaining minimum firearms proficiency.
b. Officers hired prior to January 1, 1995, will be allowed to use a Department-issued revolver to attempt to qualify. If the officer does qualify with the revolver, it shall thereafter be the officer’s primary firearm until the officer is re-certified with the semi-automatic pistol.
c. The officer shall demonstrate their ability to qualify during one of the next two scheduled “special qualifications.” The officer’s first attempt to qualify will conclude the remedial training period.
3. If an officer attempts to qualify and fails after individualized remedial training, the officer shall be reassigned to an administrative position. The City shall notify the appropriate collective bargaining unit when an officer fails to qualify after remedial training.
a. The officer may appeal the reassignment to the Firearms Qualification Review Board (FQRB). See Seattle Police Manual Section 9.080 - Firearms Qualification Review Board.
4. Officers who fail to qualify following the remedial training period, and reassignment to an administrative position, shall be allowed an additional sixty 60 days to demonstrate their ability to qualify. If at the conclusion of this 60 day period the officer still has not qualified, the Department will initiate further appropriate measures.
a. Should the officer be disabled or on sick leave during any portion of the 60 day period, the 60 day period shall be lengthened by the amount of time the officer was disabled or on sick leave.
5. The Department may not institute disciplinary measures against the officer for at least 10 days following the expiration of the second sixty 60 day period. If at any time when disciplinary action is pending the officer qualifies, the disciplinary action regarding failure to qualify shall immediately be terminated. The officer shall then be returned to the assignment held prior to the failure to qualify after the remedial training re-assignment.
N. Failure to Qualify (Reserve Officers, Retired Police Officers and Special Police Officer Commissions)
1. If a Reserve Officer fails to qualify the Department shall provide remedial firearms training to the Reserve Officer. If a Retired Police Officer or Special Police Officer fails to qualify they may request remedial firearms training from the Firearms Training Squad.
a. Retired Police Officers shall provide their own ammunition for remedial training.
b. Reserve and Special Police Officers will be given a reasonable amount of additional ammunition to practice with.
2. If the officer still fails to qualify during the remedial training, the officer shall be allowed 60 days from the conclusion of remedial training to demonstrate their ability to qualify.
a. Officers who transitioned to the semi-automatic pistol prior to January 1, 1995 will be allowed to use the Department issued revolver to attempt to qualify.
3. During the 60 day period the officer is not permitted to perform any duties associate with their commission.
a. Officers who transitioned to the semi-automatic pistol prior to January 1, 1995 will be allowed to use the Department issued revolver to attempt to qualify. If the officer does qualify with the revolver, it shall thereafter be the officer’s primary firearm until the officer is re-certified with the semi-automatic pistol.
4. If at the conclusion of the 60 day period the officer still has not qualified, the Department will initiate appropriate measures.
O. Off-Duty/Secondary On-Duty Handguns Qualifications
1. The off-duty/Secondary on-duty handguns authorization consists of two phases that must be successfully completed once a calendar year. The authorization is to be completed at scheduled “special qualification” day or as directed by the Firearms Training Squad Sergeant(s) or their designee.
a. Phase one: Inspection of firearm.
(1) Report to the handgun inspection station with each off-duty/secondary on-duty handgun intended for authorization (limit of two handguns per year).
(2) Demonstrate that you can safely clear, field-strip, and reassemble the pistol(s).
(3) If this field-stripping requires minor tools it shall be the responsibility of the officer to provide the required tools.
(4) Handguns will be checked to insure they meet the authorization criteria. This check will include the measuring of trigger pull by means of calibrated trigger pull weights. If the trigger breaks while holding four pounds it will be deemed to have failed the inspection.
b. Phase two: Handgun qualification course.
(1) All off-duty/Secondary On-Duty Handgun qualifications will be performed with approved duty ammunition. The Firearms Training Squad will provide the practice/duty ammunition for the first qualification attempt for each handgun. Officers will supply their own duty ammunition for any subsequent attempts to qualify.
(2) Officers must obtain a minimum passing score as determined by Firearms Training Squad Sergeant(s) or his or her designee.
(3) All officers reporting for off duty/Secondary On-Duty Handgun qualification will have a belt style strong side holster to safely transport the firearm on the range and in between stages of fire.
P. Cleaning and Care of Firearms
1. Sworn officers shall maintain their primary (and secondary firearm if applicable), in a fully operational condition. Firearms will be clean and lubricated as required by the Firearms Training Squad.
a. When on duty or when using Department facilities, firearms shall only be cleaned at an approved firearm cleaning station. Approved cleaning stations are located at each of the precincts, the police range, Headquarters and the Police Support Facility at Airport Way Center
b. Prior to cleaning firearms, all firearms shall be cleared and rendered safe at a clearing barrel or clearing device if available.