SPD's proposed policy changes

Make your voice heard, submit comment on SPD's proposed policy changes

What changes is the Seattle Police Department is proposing to police policy?

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) is proposing large-scale changes to its use of force and crowd control policies. SPD's proposal would change eight sections of SPD's policy manual, covering more than 100 pages of policy in areas critical to holding police accountable. 

In brief, SPD's proposed policy changes would allow the department to: largely continue to use force as they have been, reverse Seattle's crowd control weapons ban, enable SPD to use new chemical crowd control weapons, make changes to SPD policies concerning the use of police dogs, implement some new standards for how SPD polices protests, and continue to avoid publicly justifying police reasoning for breaking up First Amendment demonstrations. 

The Community Police Commission wants to make sure everyone's voice is heard during this critical process. However, despite CPC objections, SPD has set a short deadline for us to gather public comment. As of right now, we need you to try and get your comments to us by Tuesday, January 26.

To help community members during this process, the CPC has created the summaries of each policy change. Click the links below to access them:

You can also view the full text of SPD's proposed policy changes here.

Do these policy changes align with CPC recommendations?

No. The proposed policy changes continue to not substantively adopt CPC recommendations made in 2016, 2017, and 2020. Here is how some of those CPC recommendations compare to SPD's proposed policies. 

  • The City initiate a community-centered review of SPD's use of force policies
    Despite repeated requests by the CPC to do otherwise, SPD has created an arbitrary deadline of January 31 to get community feedback on these more than 100-pages of policy changes. A true community-centered review of these policies would set deadlines based on how long it would take to fully engage the community and ensure everyone's voice is heard. 
  • SPD should be banned from using crowd control weapons against protesters
    Under this policy, SPD would continue to be able to use its full arsenal of crowd control weapons against protesters, including tear gas and blast balls. In fact, SPD would be able to officially use a new chemical crowd control weapons -- paint balls filled with pepper spray. 
  • The City set clear, high, and transparent standards for when SPD or the Mayor can legally order protests to end
    There would continue to be low standards for when SPD can order protests to disperse. For example, if there are four or more people protesting and an officer believes they pose "an imminent threat" to property, they can order a First Amendment protected event to disperse. Furthermore, SPD's proposed policies do not incorporate the CPC's recommendation that SPD's reasons for ordering dispersal be made publicly available and reviewed by an outside agency.

How do you give public comment on these changes? 

We want to know what you think. Whether or not you agree with the CPC's assessment, you can submit your thoughts on SPD's proposed policies by using the form below, emailing us at OCPC@Seattle.gov, or contacting us any other way. Due to SPD's current deadlines, we ask that you do your best to submit your thoughts by Friday, January 29th at 10 am. 

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