SEATTLE – The City of Seattle and Mayor Ed Murray filed draft legislation for SPD accountability reform for review by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart on Friday.
The proposal creates an independent office of Inspector General, transforms the Community Police Commission (CPC) into a permanent body, and increases the scope and independence of SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), according to a release from the Mayor’s office.
“We’ve been engaged for many months on the critical work of getting police reform right and today we agreed upon the strongest and most transparent police accountability structure in our city’s history,” said Mayor Murray.
The package sent to Judge Robart includes the following key accountability measures:
- Creation of the Office of Inspector General, empowered to review and report on any aspect of SPD’s policies and practices.
- Increases the independence of our Office of Professional Accountability, replacing sworn SPD officers with civilian staff tasked with overseeing all investigations and complaints against officers.
- Makes the CPC a permanent body, ensuring community input is institutionalized into Seattle’s police services.
Judge Robart issued an order back in August that any reform package must first be reviewed by the court before being sent to the Seattle City Council for review, which could take up to 90 days.
A spokesperson from the Department of Justice released a statement about the city's reform package reading in part:
The disciplinary system addressed in the proposed legislation is a critical accountability safeguard. It focuses on what should occur after disciplinary issues arise. It does not replace the work being done under the consent decree on the front end to avoid the need for discipline at the back end, including implementing policies, training, and supervision systems necessary for effective and Constitutional policing. We continue to see real progress on those fronts with improved force reporting and investigations, an emphasis on de-escalation, increasing use of community resources rather than arrest and incarceration to address individuals in crisis, and a reduction in the use of force by SPD officers.