Monitor chosen to help reform Seattle police says 'job can be done'

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 11 at 5:43 PM

Despite weeks of haggling between Seattle's elected officials, the man chosen to help reform Seattle police says the job can be done. 

Independent monitor Merrick Bobb presented his reform plan to the Seattle City Council on Monday.  He says there is agreement and a clear plan to move forward.
 
Bobb told the council Seattle's situation is not dire and reforms here will succeed.
 
"I think given the city is one that emphasizes collaboration, I think the job can be done here," said Bobb.
 
His plan suggests the heart of police reform surrounds the following:
  • use of force - how it's defined, investigated and reviewed
  • stops and detentions - new policies for every officer-civilian contact with crisis intervention training
  • supervision - the hiring of more sergeants
"The most important relationship in the Police Department is between the officer and the sergeant. The sergeant is the one that gives direction," said Bobb.
 
The monitor’s plan led to a bitter feud between the mayor and the city attorney. Attorney Pete Holmes supported the plan. Mayor Mike McGinn rejected it, until late Friday, when he signed off on the deal.
 
The two are still at odds over who speaks for the city on the issue.
 
The woman who helped iron out the feud, civil rights attorney Connie Rice, was active in reforming the L.A. Police Department before becoming a consultant to Mayor McGinn.
 
"This is a five ring circus and there are many ringmasters and they all have to get along,” said Rice. “If we can do it in L.A., I know Seattle can do it too."
 
The monitor and the city will update a federal judge on Tuesday on the plan to improve Seattle's Police Department.
 

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