by Jack Russillo
With less than a week to go before the deadline for which it was asked to provide feedback to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), the Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC) hosted a virtual town hall event on January 26 to address some of the policy changes that SPD has been considering.
The CPC is a commission created by the City of Seattle to amplify its community voices during police accountability processes. The SPD is currently proposing more than 100 pages of policy changes — concerning issues like officers’ use of force and how they can police protests. SPD originally set a deadline for comment at January 8, but the CPC pushed SPD to extend that deadline until January 31 — in order to give the CPC more time to host the online forum and engage the community and encourage people to submit recommendations about the policy changes. Members of the community have until January 31 to submit their feedback directly online.
In an online summary of the proposed changes SPD describes changes to its use of force core principles, which only state that officers “will” engage in an action, instead of “should” or “shall” (e.g. “officers will use de-escalation tactics”). In its analysis of the changes, the CPC said that “although SPD committed to re-envisioning public safety together with community, leaving this section effectively unchanged signals that it does not intend to meaningfully alter the way and frequency it uses force on community members.”
Continue reading Seattle Community Police Commission Provides Analyses of Proposed SPD Policies for Crowd Control and Use of Force
by Sarah Stuteville
A month ago, I woke up to a man with a broken jaw and a story about being a secret CIA operative sleeping on my porch. Last week a woman amid a mental-health crisis followed me and my four-year-old to our car screaming. Over the weekend my husband was punched in the head by someone who appeared to be having a psychotic episode. A few nights ago, gunfire echoed through the hot, exhausted streets of my neighborhood.
In all these cases, people desperately needed help, and in none of these cases did I call the police.
Continue reading OPINION: Who You Gonna Call? Not the Cops.
by Dr. Daniel H. Low, Dr. Amish J. Dave, and Dr. Rajneet S. Lamba
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, a broad array of activists and public figures have called for defunding the police in towns and cities across the nation. For many Americans, police officers are often the first responders to small and large crises. While surveys suggest much of the public wants police reform, there is concern that defunding efforts could erode the safety of our communities. Other voices argue that mere police reform is insufficient. Research has shown that measures such as implicit bias training, body cam usage, and firing problem officers with a history of misconduct have not led to meaningful change. In the interest of public safety, we are all vested in understanding how acute crises would be addressed if we were to defund police departments.
Continue reading OPINION: Crisis Management Is What Doctors Do Every Day. The Police Can and Must Do Better.
by Carolyn Bick
The Emerald and other media organizations received a letter signed by more than 20 different local representatives calling on both Chief Carmen Best and Mayor Jenny Durkan to “take urgent and sustained action to de-escalate the police tactics used in daily protests.”
The Emerald was able to verify the authenticity of this letter, as it came from Rep. Nicole Macri (D-43rd). The letter is reprinted in its entirety below.
Continue reading More Than 20 Local Reps Sign Letter Urging Mayor Durkan, Chief Best to Take Action to De-Escalate Police