Fighting for Statewide Reforms

Repair Washington's broken decertification system

The CPC is deeply committed to increasing the levels of police accountability and transparency regarding the decertification of individual officers and the reporting of such decertification at the state level.

The state's current decertification process leaves loopholes for a wide range of misconduct. As Judge Anne Levinson (ret.), Seattle's former OPA Auditor, has pointed out, this results in two situations that make our communities unsafe.

  1. Officers fired for misconduct at one police department are able to get jobs as police officers in other jurisdictions, moving bad police officers around the state rather than ensuring they are removed from service.
  2. If jurisdictions do not request that an officer be decertified, the state does not intervene. An example Levinson points to is a current officer in Auburn who was involved in three fatal shootings since 2011 and has a history of other misconduct, however, has not been decertified by the state.

The state's current decertification criteria undermine accountability in such a way that the police officer who killed John T. Williams in 2010, which sparked a federal investigation and the eventual enactment of a Consent Decree, could not be decertified by the state and remains in "good standing."

The City should work with community advocates, oversight experts, the Association of Washington Cities, and legislators to advocate for a complete overhaul of this system and create a public database with officer certification data. That should include mandating jurisdictions to report, and have that information displayed publicly, including officers who are on so-called "Brady Lists."

Other statewide reforms we need: