The 20 Initiatives
Protecting Constitutional Rights
Seattle will always be a city that hosts and encourages public demonstrations. Our goal is to protect. Recent events have made it clear that reforms are needed to the way we manage demonstrations. We will:
- Develop a new written protocol for Demonstration Management that focuses on peacekeeping, conflict avoidance, segregation and arrest of disruptors, enhanced communications, and rapid intervention when necessary and appropriate.
- Experiment with new protest management tactics to be a national leader in crowd management, crowd psychology, disruption of illegal behavior, and public relations
- Revise and narrow Department policy to clarify that OC (“pepper spray”) should only be used as a self-defense tool, or as a last resort option when all other legal, effective force options have been exhausted.
- Train officers in alternatives to OC
- Develop and provide training on new tactics and refine outdated tactics for bicycle officers.
- Develop a cadre of world class crowd management leaders
- Develop a template for early meetings involving police, other city departments and protest groups when large scale or ongoing protests are expected, to encourage police and protesters to find common ground and to assist in deterring illegal activity and supporting free speech expression.
- Introduce legislation that allows police to proactively film demonstrations, while addressing privacy and free speech concerns and that requires destruction of video unless criminal activity is captured.
Problems associated with low-level offenses and general "street disorder" pose a challenge to many major cities, including Seattle. In many cases, minor offenses and disturbances involve individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues – the same individuals
who often bear the brunt of police uses of force when situations escalate. In the case of other low-level offenses, such as jay-walking, some question the wisdom and legitimacy of any enforcement activity. Police need clear guidance in responding to these issues.
- Develop protocols to guide officers in responding to various types of low level encounters.
- Develop a department-wide policy and protocol for how to deal with street disorder that is publicly supported by the community, executive, and council.
- Expand the Center City Initiative to include a street disorder pilot project, where we can explore innovative approaches and partnerships that can be exported to other parts of the city
We are committed to ensuring that every single Seattle Police officer understands the
prohibition against biased policing. The Department will renew efforts to build strong
relations throughout the city’s diverse communities, and also will collect and analyze data
to better understand the role of race in policing in Seattle. We will:
- Include biased policing in our new Department Code of Ethics
- Streamline race data collection related to traffic stops
- Collect data for pedestrian violation encounters
- Clarify and reconfirm “street check” reporting requirements
- Fully participate in RSJI
- Incorporate best practices for cultural competency training
- Work with a consortium of major city departments and academics to encourage study of biased policing and reach recommendations as to best practices
- Engage the University of Washington’s Department of African American studies in a review of SPD practices as they relate to biased policing
Training for Seattle's Values
We want police officers to use appropriate force, when necessary to apprehend criminals,
and to protect themselves and the public. We also need to ensure that police are judicious
in the use of force, and understand that a badge is never a license to abuse or mistreat
anyone. We are committed to implementing a state-of-the art response to resistance
curriculum, while creating a training cadre and culture that supports "getting it right" every
time. We will:
- Revising the Department’s definition of force to reflect community expectations and best practices
- Expanded Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) so that all front line officers are CIT trained
- Implementing the best de-escalation training that is available, and ensuring that all officers receive this training on an annual basis.
- Develop updated, clear policies and annual training as to the use of all available lethal, less-lethal and non-lethal tools available to officers
- Develop team tactics to improve responses involving multiple officers
- Provide updated, annual training on use of force reporting and documentation for each officer
- Provide updated, annual training on use of force investigation and documentation training for all sergeants and commanders overseeing patrol.
Seattle police need to recognize distinctions between social contacts and custodial stops, and receive clear guidance and training in all issues related to search and seizure law. We will:
- Provide monthly on line training sessions that will guarantee each officer has verified understanding of current case law and principles related to social contacts, non-custodial interviews, Terry stops, pat downs, search/frisks, and the differences between reasonable suspicion and probable cause.
- Provide routine training and discussion with Sergeants reinforcing skills taught in SPD Sergeant’s school on search and seizure standards and principles.
- Provide a Round Table forum for SPD Commanders and Sergeants to discuss case law and search and seizure principles with the City Law Department as well as King County Prosecutor’s office at least once per year or as case law alters standards.
First-line supervisors are important to creating a culture of excellence in the patrol force, and ensuring that City and Department priorities are fully carried out. To address this, we will create a new "Sergeant's Academy," which will provide a minimum of two weeks of training for all existing and incoming sergeants.
The curriculum will include:
- An emphasis on the responsibility of supervisors for employee performance
- Ways to improve employee performance
- Effective use of technology in supervision and policing
- Effective communication
- Dealing with difficult people
- Training on how to provide feedback to employees
- Budgeting and supervisory fiscal responsibility
- RRA’s (Roles, Responsibilities, and Accountability)
- (RRA guides for every rank and position should be developed that include critical competencies, capabilities, and job tasks to insure every rank is aware of and understands each element of their job, and the requisite training, education, and experience necessary to be a master of that rank/job)
- The key organizational messages to enhance performance and how to deliver them
- How to monitor, recognize and address biased policing, including what areas to monitor, understanding how actions are perceived and clarifying policies for employees.
- Supervisory Ethics
- Leadership best practices from both public and private sector research and experience.
- Key elements of the Department’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) Workplan and their relevance to supervisory roles and responsibilities.
Creating a world class police department also requires principled, effective, and innovative leadership. We will create a new Commander Academy, which will provide a minimum of one week of training for all existing and incoming lieutenants, captains, and chiefs.
The curriculum will include:
- Leadership principles (advanced study of Leadership and Management)
- Command expectations
- Best practice in accounting and budgeting
- Public Speaking
- Department Messaging (understanding, mastering, and teaching top ten messages that are keys to improving performance and meeting expectations)
- Political engagement from a public sector perspective
- History of Seattle
- Racial, social, and economic makeup of Seattle (history)
- RSJI Advanced
Primary training for new Seattle Police officers is provided by the State’s Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA), administered by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Institute. As many have pointed out, the challenges and community expectations of policing in Seattle are different than in many other parts of the State. SPD provides postacademy training to address some of these issues, but there is more to be done to tailor the training to understand Seattle’s needs and prepare officers for the policing challenges they will face. We will:
- Engage diverse community groups and solicit suggestions to be considered in developing our post-academy training
- Allow community review and involvement to ensure training topics are relevant to the community
- Collaborate with tribal officers and other community representatives to provide different components of SPD training
- Expand the program to place new officers in human service programs (e.g. emergency shelters, sobering centers, mental health provider facilities) to observe and interact with staff and clients
- Integrate Crisis Intervention Training (40 hour certification course) as a standard post-academy training requirement
- Include appropriate cultural competency training
- Incorporate RSJI training as a standard post-academy training requirement
Earning Public Trust
Community confidence demands that we ensure that all use of force is consistently reported and monitored to identify any inappropriate conduct, improve officer performance, and create a culture of reflection and learning regarding officer conduct. We will:
- Continue the Force Review Board (FRB), which was established in the wake of the DOJ investigation to review use of force reports, identify any problems or patterns, and recommend changes in training and tactics;
- Formalize the role of the FRB in Department policy
- Continue to expand participation in the FRB to include peer review
- Find ways to provide for civilian review of FRB work
- Formalize operations of the Force Investigation Team (FIT), which investigates serious uses of force and assaults on officers
- Provide periodic reports on use of force rates, trends and patterns
The Seattle Police Department will have a clearly defined, written, and binding Code of Ethics. Simple guidelines, with periodic reinforcement, will help officers to remember and appreciate ethical guidelines in their daily interactions. We will:
- Develop a written Code of Ethics
- Require each SPD employee to review, understand, and sign as a condition of employment
- Provide annual, on-line ethics training
- Use roll call training to discuss actual examples of ethical violations by Police in other organizations around the country as an opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes
We project that in the next 5 years, more than 300 police officers will likely retire. This gives us an unprecedented opportunity to remake the department and ensure that our officers embrace and reflect Seattle’s values and diversity. This opportunity comes with significant challenges, as the turnover of experienced officers to be replaced with young recruits must be met with the highest quality supervision and training. We will recruit and hire a Seattle police force that is well educated, strong in character and integrity, and who not only represent but ideally come from the community they serve. We will:
- Ensure that our recruitment standards and practices emphasize the diversity of Seattle, and identify the commitment of every new officer to understand and protect the ethical, cultural and ethnic values of this city and its residents
- Work to recruit skilled communicators, people of color, people who are knowledgeable and – to the greatest practical extent - come from Seattle and its environs.
- Consult with a cross-section of the community to identify recruitment goals and objectives, and determine the qualities and characteristics we value in a Seattle Police Officer.
- Engage and provide a stipend for community members to participate in the Department’s Oral Board, as advisors to the Human Resource Director and SPD command.
- Include private sector/community appointments to the Assessment Center/Oral Interview process for promotions to the rank of Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain.
- Monitor recruitment as it relates to diversity and adjust hiring strategies, targets and focus to maximize the commitment to hire a police force that reflects and is a part of the Seattle community.
A Professional Standards Section was established by Chief Diaz in November 2011 in order to nurture an organizational culture of excellence. Chief Diaz recognized that the Seattle Police Department needs to be built on a foundation of strong and effective policies. The Professional Standards Section is charged with identifying these policies, and evaluating their effectiveness and efficiency in practice through a robust audit function. We will:
- Standards, procedures, policies and expectations must be based upon the five foundational principles of:
- Best Practices of the Policing Profession
- Legal and Constitutional Standards
- Research and Evidence-Based Practices
- Department and Community Values
- Collaboration Internally and Externally
Moving forward, Professional Standards will ensure all existing policies are based upon the five pillars or they will be rewritten. The Professional Standards will work with the OPA Auditor, OPA Director, and City Auditor’s Office to ensure that policies are in place to adequately address concerns in their respective arenas.
Small issues can sometimes lead to big problems. By improving our monitoring, intervention and support systems we can prevent or address police officer mistakes that could lead to misconduct. We know identifying early indicators of risk is not enough. We need to give supervisors the tools to proactively address areas of opportunity for growth. This will help prevent officers from slipping below the standards we set for them and assist good police officers in becoming great.
- Design a supervisor’s intervention tool kit
- Design and provide intervention strategy templates
- Enhance our Early Intervention System (EIS)
- Adopt state-of-the art software for EIS monitoring
- Notify supervisors of each early warning indicator to support proactive monitoring and intervention strategies
- Support positive interventions based on a holistic approach to employee development
- Focus on proactive interventions to improve performance as “inoculation” against the need for negative or disciplinary intervention
- Support supervisory understanding of employee educational needs and commit to meeting them
Using Data-Driven Practices
We are committed to cutting edge strategies for crime fighting and crime control. As we undertake our review of the Neighborhood Policing Plan and review the recent Audit of SPD’s Crime Analysis Function we have an opportunity to develop a data-driven approach to deployment. This initiative puts SPD on the cutting edge of modern policing. SPD has established relationships with The University of Washington, Seattle University, and George Mason University to get this work started. We will:
- Develop a world class scientifically driven approach to deployment and crime fighting.
- Purchase necessary real time mapping software and automated reporting tools
- Fully train the Crime Analysis Unit (CAU) in up to date analytical tools including enhanced mapping capacity
- Focus CAU on emerging hot spots and trends and clearly communicating these to front line officers
- Review and repair/upgrade CAU staffing based on audit recommendations and best practices
- Implement appropriate audit recommendations
- Update the Neighborhood Policing Plan
- Drive deployment via improved CAU capability
Hot Spot policing and Intelligence-led policing requires more than better CAU or Commander training. It requires front line training in data mining, data use, problem-oriented policing, customer driven partnerships and solutions, and customized deployment strategies. Supervisors and Commanders must understand RRA’s in this arena.
Seattle is not the only city facing the need to reform its police department. Rather than working independently to solve them, sharing information and best practices can help major American cities can build better police departments. The Seattle Police Department will convene a multi-city consortium to develop a common research agenda for policing and to identify best practices. The Consortium will use scientific inquiry, informed practice, and community involvement to advance the policing profession, to improve its effectiveness, legitimacy and fairness and to provide a laboratory and proving ground that can generate models for use by law enforcement agencies across the nation. We will:
- The Seattle Police Department will convene a multi-city consortium to develop a common research agenda for policing.
- The City will partner with George Mason University’s Center for Evidence Based Policing to convene the Consortium
- The Consortium will address immediate areas of concern to Seattle and our nation, including:
- Use of Force/response to resistance focused on de-escalation
- Bias-free policing, and
- Accountability and early intervention.
- The Consortium will address these issues with a focus on:
- Police Science (Use of science and partnerships with research institutions)
- Best practice (Identify best practice in policing via key professional organizations)
- Community Involvement (Collaborate with city leadership and community organizations)
- The Consortium will establish a series of police practices to be studied utilizing rigorous scientific evaluation
- The Consortium will leverage scarce resources by creating multi-city collaboration to replace completion for research dollars and agendas
- Participating cities will share data and information regarding the various areas of study
Partnering with the public
To protect public safety, police must have the public's trust. How people are treated by police matters as much as the actions police take. We are committed to improving interactions between the police and the public. In the fall of 2011, Seattle Police, in cooperation with the King County Sheriff and Washington State Criminal Justice Training Academy, received a grant to develop a training program known as "Listen and Explain with Equity and Dignity (L.E.E.D.)". The components of this approach are:
- Listen – Allow people to give their side of the story; give them voice, and let them vent.
- Explain –Explain what you’re doing, what they can do, and what’s going to happen.
- Equity – Tell them why you are taking action. The reason must be fair and free of bias, and show their input was taken into consideration.
- Dignity – Act with dignity and leave them with their dignity.
By addressing these four critical human needs on every call, officers elevate the quality of the interaction and people are more likely to see police as helping rather than controlling. The result is increased community trust.
SPD will embrace and implement the LEED model in annual training for officers.
Every officer will be expected to use this approach whenever reasonable in encounters with all community members.
In order to build trust between the police and the public, as well as to help the community fight crime and protect public safety, effective two-way communication is required. The Seattle Police Department is building an interactive response information network which will provide public safety information to the community in a way that is interesting, transparent and localized.
Develop and implement an integrated news channel to distribute a variety of content in multiple formats (print, video, audio, photo). We will:
- Redevelop precinct web pages to improve communication between precinct personnel and neighborhood residents.
- Develop/implement a ‘dashboard’ of key performance metrics that are tracked consistently and used to build expectations of achievement and improvement.
- Use social media including Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, to communicate with local communities and share relevant stories and information as often as possible.
- Develop and implement protocols for community commendation and recognition.
- Provide consistent data reporting, tracking and metrics at the department level.
- Provide more crime analysis and crime prevention information at the neighborhood level.
Effective law enforcement requires the trust and support of the community. If that trust is not rebuilt, policing itself can become less effective. The Department will take steps to improve transparency and accountability. While some of these efforts are directed at sharing more information to help the community understand and assess the work of Seattle police officers, other steps are directed at extending accountability expectations beyond the complaint review process in OPA. We will:
- Create and implement a transparency initiative to ensure release of information to the maximum extent allowed by law and public safety considerations
- Conduct a pilot program using police body cameras
- Convene a working group of stakeholders to consider and propose legislation in the next session to overcome obstacles to release of information, including body and dash cam video
- Schedule and hold regular public meetings to discuss policy, training, and other high level initiatives to insure that public input is received and considered
- Identify an OPA liaison at each precinct
- Formalize an OPA monitoring system to oversee complaints and misconduct handled on the precinct level
- Provide resources to OPA so it can tailor complaint analysis to the interests of a particular community or precinct commander, allowing for more timely and relevant reviews of complaint trends
- Un-silo the Department’s OPA complaint, Early Intervention System (EIS), Use of Force and Training systems – create a system that allows for information to be shared across units and provides access for both employees and supervisors
- Work to ensure that the OPA auditor has access to all data needed for policy review
- Ensure that the Chief responds to each OPA Auditor and Director recommendation, and that the Auditor’s and Chief’s statements are reviewed by the Mayor
Effective policing requires sustained community outreach that is focused on shared values, promoting equity and strengthening accountability and responsiveness to the communities we serve. It is a collaborative process that involves community organizations, members of the clergy, City and Academic leaders and others to help us address concerns about use of force, biased policing, training, hiring and use of force issues and the needs of the community. We will:
- Enlist community volunteers to attend and validate/provide feedback related to training classes taught to SPD employees
- Provide opportunities for community members to learn about policing from the police perspective and to share feedback
- Enhance and expand the SPD Citizen’s Academy
- Eliminate the “us/them” mentality from our department and seek to eliminate it from our community. We are all one community.
- Continue and increase the “donut dialogue/role reversal” programs with Seattle Area youth, to provide opportunities to interact with SPD in a non-confrontational environment
- Continue and significantly increase the Living Room Conversation Program, where community members and the Officers who patrol their neighborhoods meet and discuss issues in an informal environment
- Implement school based engagement programs, including reading to elementary school students, and coordinating with middle schools to form debate teams.
- Significantly increase both announced and unannounced neighborhood walks involving the Chief and command staff, with special emphasis on hot-spot neighborhoods and businesses
- Create tools and messages that foster and reinforce the “We” message
- Enhance communication and increase interaction by leveraging technology
- Provide survey feedback opportunities for everyone who encounters SPD
- Ensure that community members receive follow-up contact/business cards in every encounter with a Seattle police officer
The Seattle Police Department is here to serve and protect the public. Every interaction members of the public have with department should leave the lasting impression that SPD provides top-level service with unrivaled professionalism. As a department, we should strive to always go above and beyond the expectations of the city we serve.
We will provide the training and tools to ensure that every Department employee manages each public interaction effectively. We will:
- Provide annual, verified training for all police officers and civilian employees to ensure the same standards for interacting with the public are used department wide.
- Provide a written guide with testable knowledge of public relations and communication skills.
- All uniformed employees who work directly with the public are also stewards of this city. Every public facing employee should be expected to have a solid foundation of knowledge of the city, including history, cultural and entertainment venues and be able to provide directions and locations of major attractions.
- Define Department-wide expectations of officers and civilian employees that reflect how people are treated, both externally and internally.
- Recognize employees who continually achieve accolades and commendations for their service to the public, and ensure this skill is reflected meaningfully in their annual employee performance appraisals.