FAQs

After a federal investigation, the City of Seattle signed a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to reform Seattle Police Department (SPD) practices, as well as a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the DOJ that established the work to be done and overseen by a federal court. The Community Police Commission (CPC) was mandated under the settlement agreement to provide community input on needed reforms, with specific areas for its activities outlined in the MOU. The City of Seattle established the CPC by ordinance.

Under 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 settlement agreement, the CPC is now mandated to also provide ongoing, community-based oversight of SPD and the police accountability system.

The Community Police Commission (CPC) represents a broad range of community perspectives and reaches out to engage communities directly to get critical feedback, and then recommends changes to Seattle Police Department (SPD) and police accountability system policies and practices. The CPC provides community-based oversight of SPD and the police accountability system and fosters ongoing dialogue about police practices with community members, which helps build trust and strengthens community-police relations. The CPC also gives community members a voice and stake in the reform efforts under the settlement agreement.

Originally, the Community Police Commission (CPC) had 15 volunteer Commissioners appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. Under legislation adopted in 2017, the CPC has 21 Commissioners, with the Mayor, the City Council, and the CPC each appointing seven. Commissioners should represent the diversity of Seattle and include individuals from communities of color, ethnic and faith communities, immigrant communities, the urban Indian community, the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer/intersexual/asexual community, and the business community. Commissioners also should 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. Due to the recent increase in commissioners, there are nine vacancies at this time.

The Community Police Commission (CPC) is not part of the Seattle Police Department (SPD). Although independent, the CPC works closely with SPD, as well as with the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA). The OPA Auditor is a very important partner and the CPC looks forward to working with the Inspector General when this position is filled. (The Inspector General will take on the OPA Auditor's duties under legislation adopted in 2017.)

The Community Police Commission (CPC) engages with community and City partners, as well as technical advisors, to identify issues and develop recommendations for revising Seattle Police Department (SPD) and Office of Professional Accountability policies and practices. (See the Key Recommendations and Reports section of our website.) It also monitors the implementation of recommendations for changes in management and policy issued by the offices responsible for overseeing SPD.

The Community Police Commission (CPC) meets regularly from 9:00 am to noon on the first and third Wednesdays of every month and the public is welcome to attend these meetings. Background information, including meeting agenda and location, meeting minutes, CPC reports and recommendations, and Commissioner biographies are available on the CPC website.

Community Police Commission (CPC) workgroups discuss issues, develop positions, and prepare draft reports and recommendations for review and adoption by the full CPC. Votes by the full CPC are taken when there is a quorum, and approval requires a majority of those present. The CPC is led by three co-chairs and supported by five staff members. The CPC is self-governing and has adopted bylaws which outline its rules for conducting business.

The Community Police Commission (CPC) does not handle individual cases or complaints. These complaints are investigated by the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA). The CPC focuses more broadly on addressing systemic issues through changes to policies and practices that improve performance and support a culture of accountability in the Seattle Police Department and OPA.

Individuals with deep ties to the community who also have relevant experience are appointed to the Community Police Commission (CPC) by the Mayor, the City Council, and the CPC.

The Community Police Commission (CPC) posts on its website and Facebook and sends out press releases to community partners, mainstream and ethnic media outlets, and others whenever there are important developments concerning the police and police accountability, which may include release and posting on its website of reports and recommendations. Commissioners and/or staff attend community meetings to connect directly with individuals across the city and convene meetings to hear from community members on specific topics.

The Community Police Commission (CPC) welcomes your thoughts on how to create a stronger, safer and more connected community. Contact us to provide suggestions for topics that the CPC should explore, including ideas for how to better reach community members. In addition, contact us if you would like a CPC representative to meet with your group.

Mailing Address: PO Box 94765, Seattle, WA 98124-7065
Phone: 206-233-2664
Fax: 206-684-5360
Email: OCPC@seattle.gov