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About Us

The 2010 shooting death by Seattle police of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams, and a series of other serious incidents involving police and people of color, ignited public concern about bias and the use of excessive force in the Seattle Police Department (SPD). 

After a federal investigation, the City of Seattle signed a settlement agreement and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to reform SPD practices. Those two documents are referred to as the Consent Decree. The Consent Decree is overseen by a federal judge and appointed police monitor who are charged with ensuring SPD's unconstitutional policing practices are corrected.

The Community Police Commission (CPC) was mandated under the Consent Decree to provide community input on needed reforms. The City of Seattle established the CPC by ordinance and it began work in 2013. Under landmark Accountability Legislation adopted in 2017, the CPC was made permanent, its scope of responsibilities and authority broadened, and the number of Commissioners increased. While it continues to be responsible for its obligations related to the Consent Decree, it now is mandated to also provide ongoing, community-based oversight of SPD and the police accountability system.

Vision
We envision our communities and Seattle's police aligned in shared goals of safety, respect, and accountability.

Mission
The Community Police Commission listens to, amplifies, and builds common ground among communities affected by policing in Seattle. We champion policing practices centered in justice and equity.

The CPC has 21 Commissioners, with the Mayor, the City Council, and the CPC each appointing seven. Commissioners represent the diversity of Seattle and include individuals from communities of color, ethnic and faith communities, immigrant communities, the urban Indian community, the LGBTQ community, and the business community. Commissioners also include youth representatives, civil rights advocates, and individuals familiar with the challenges faced by homeless people and those with mental illness or substance abuse issues. Two positions are designated for public defense and civil liberties lawyers, one position is designated for a member of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, and one position is designated for a member of the Seattle Police Management Association. Commissioners live or work in Seattle. 

Suzette Dickerson

Commissioner
Staff Representative at WSCCCE AFSCME Council 2
Appointed by: Mayor Jenny Durkan
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Mary Ruffin

Commissioner
Real Estate Law Clerk at Foster Garvey PC
Appointed by: Seattle City Council
Term: January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2024

Bio + -

Mary is a community member who understands the long reaching impacts of police relations with communities of color. As both an undergraduate student and law student at the University of Washington, Mary held several leadership positions focused on advocating for her community. Currently, she serves as the Vice Chair for the Solid Ground Board of Directors and works as a Real Estate Law Clerk.

 

Rev. Patricia Hunter

Rev. Patricia Hunter, Co-Chair

Seattle First Baptist Church, Mount Zion Baptist Church
Appointed by: Seattle City Council
Tascha Johnson

Tascha Johnson

Commissioner
Choose 180
Appointed by: Seattle City Council
Joel Merkel

Joel Merkel, Co-Chair

Commissioner
Assistant Attorney General, Washington Attorney General's Office
Appointed by: Seattle City Council
Term: January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2024

Bio + -

Joel Merkel, Co-Chair, is an Assistant Attorney General in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Washington Attorney General’s Office. Previously, Joel served for nearly a decade as a Deputy Prosecutor at the King County Prosecutor’s Office. Joel tried dozens of domestic violence and sexual assault cases while working closely with victims thrust into the criminal legal system, many of whom are from diverse and marginalized communities. Joel served on an office-wide Equity Action Work group to develop internal recommendations on criminal justice reform and racial equity. Joel also spent nearly six years as Legislative Counsel for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell in Washington D.C. and Seattle, carrying out oversight over multiple federal agencies, including complex investigations and legislative responses following the 2008 financial market crisis. Joel was appointed to the Commission by the City Council in 2022 to a term ending December 31, 2024. 

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Asha Mohamed

Somali Youth and Family Club
Appointed by: Mayor Jenny Durkan

Mark Mullens

Commissioner
Seattle Police Officer
Appointed by: Seattle CPC
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Erica Newman

Commissioner
King County Council Legislative Policy Staff
Appointed by: Community Police Commission
Alina Santillan

Alina Santillan

Commissioner
Seattle Center Cohort
Appointed by: Seattle City Council
Joseph Seia

Joseph Seia

Commissioner
Appointed by: Seattle CPC
Harriett Walden

Rev. Harriett Walden, Co-Chair

Commissioner
Reverend
Appointed by: Mayor Mike McGinn

Bio + -

Rev. Harriett Walden has been a vocal advocate for better police-community relations in Seattle since she co-founded Mothers for Police Accountability in 1990. She has been appointed to and served on numerous task forces and commissions that involve efforts to improve and heal community-police relations and to achieve greater transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system.

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Le'Jayah Washington

Commissioner
King County Equity Now
Appointed by: Seattle City Council

Jeremy Wood

Commissioner
Environmental and Indian Law Attorney at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt
Appointed by: Community Police Commission
Term: January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2022

Bio + -

As a former Seattle Assistant City Attorney, former chair of the Seattle Human Rights Commission, and most of all the cousin of a formerly-incarcerated person, I bring a passion and experience that I am confident would serve the Commission’s crucial work. City Council appointed me to the Seattle Human Rights Commission and the members of that body later elected me its chair. In that role, I led the successful effort to end Seattle’s longtime practice of conscripting prison labor to clean homeless encampments. Outside my day-job as a labor and employment attorney, I served as pro bono counsel for the caucus of state legislators of color in New York, prevailing in litigation to open police disciplinary records to public disclosure against challenge from New York police unions.

Although the Community Police Commission (CPC) is independent, it works closely with others to engage with the community to advance measures that support effective and respectful policing.

The CPC partners with many community organizations. In 2013 it directly contracted with 13 organizations (through which 100 other organizations were also involved) to obtain insights about Seattle Police Department (SPD). All of these organizations are identified in the CPC's January 2014 Community Outreach Report. The CPC continues to partner with these and other groups to ensure that a wide variety of community perspectives about the police are heard.

Other key partners include SPD, the Office of Police Accountability, the Mayor's Office, and other City agencies and departments. The OPA Auditor is a very important partner and the CPC looks forward to partnering with the Inspector General for Public Safety (IG) when this position is filled. (The IG will take on the OPA Auditor's duties under legislation adopted in 2017.) The CPC also partners with the Seattle Police Monitor who oversees the settlement agreement and with the United States Department of Justice.

Brandy Grant
Executive Director
Brandy.Grant@seattle.gov

Cali Ellis, PhD
Policy Director
Cali.Ellis@seattle.gov

Felicia Cross
Community Engagement Director
Felicia.Cross@seattle.gov

Mergitu Argo
Community Engagement Specialist
Mergitu.Argo@seattle.gov

Megan Clark
Communications Strategic Advisor
Megan.Clark@seattle.gov

Logan Rysemus
Data and Policy Strategic Advisor
Logan.Rysemus@seattle.gov