SEATTLE - A federal judge has approved an independent monitor's plan for reforming the Seattle Police Department, following a finding by the Justice Department that officers engaged in a "pattern or practice" of using excessive force.
U.S. District Judge James Robart accepted the plan by monitor Merrick Bobb on Tuesday. It sets deadlines and tasks on topics ranging from use of force to crisis intervention.
The reforms call for hiring more sergeants, providing more training, and setting up clear measurements for success.
Initially, Mayor Mike McGinn was concerned the plan was too slow and costly, but last week he met with Bobb and he is now on board with this monitoring plan for the first year.
But the police unions are not satisfied and they've filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court. They don't oppose police reforms but they have concerns about protecting their collective bargaining rights.
“I think we have really good working relationships with the unions on this,” Chief John Diaz said. “I have talked with both unions and they have no issue of ongoing and additional training and they are not going to have any ongoing issues with increasing the number of hard stripe sergeants, so once again I believe we are going to be able to work through this.”
“My hope is we will be talking with SPMA and SPOG and addressing their concerns litigation is always the last resort it is not the way to get work done,” said City Attorney Pete Holmes