Tag Archives: Seattle Police Department

Court Approves City Attorney’s Motion To Clear Outstanding Prostitution Warrants

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


On the morning of Thursday, Sept. 18, a Seattle Municipal Court judge approved a motion by Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes to quash all outstanding warrants for misdemeanor prostitution, including some issued well over a decade ago.

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Seattle’s Newest Department Aims to Change the City’s Response to Crisis Calls

by Paul Kiefer


(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

The last time the City of Seattle launched a new department — Seattle Information Technology, which brought IT staff from across the city under one roof — the consolidation took years. “In contrast, we had about eight months,” said Chris Lombard, who leads the City’s newest department: the Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC), which began work at the beginning of June.

In some ways, creating the CSCC involved fewer moving parts than the infamously messy set-up of the massive citywide IT department. When plans to move the parking enforcement unit to the CSCC fell through this spring, Lombard was left overseeing a single, crucial service: Seattle’s 911 call center. The center, historically a civilian unit inside the Seattle Police Department, will play a key role in the City’s efforts to shift away from a police-centric approach to public safety, and the City’s decision to house the 911 call center in the new department was one of the first concrete steps in that effort.

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Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


The Seattle City Council voted on Monday, Sept. 13, to shore up several of its own priorities for rethinking public safety using $15 million in savings from salaries left unspent by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) after another year of abnormally high attrition.

The council left almost two-thirds of the $15 million in the department’s budget, allowing SPD to cover the costs of downsizing — updates to timekeeping software to help deploy a smaller number of officers more efficiently, for example. Additionally, the council lifted a trio of provisos on the department’s budget, releasing roughly $8 million for the department to use as it wants.

Of the $5.2 million the council shifted out of SPD’s budget, $3 million will go to the Human Services Department (HSD) to fund grants to nonprofits specializing in alternatives to policing. The council set aside another $700,000 to stand up a new civilian crisis-response unit tentatively called Triage One.

Continue reading Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan refused to sign the City Council’s recent ordinance restricting the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) use of crowd-control weapons, allowing the bill to become law while the City awaits a federal district court’s go-ahead to implement changes to SPD’s tactics and arsenal.

In a letter to the council during their August recess, Durkan heaped criticism on the bill and the yearlong process that produced it, calling it a “knee-jerk reaction” to last year’s protests that overstepped the council’s authority, undercut SPD policy change procedures enshrined in the City’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and made promises that the City can’t keep.

Durkan has routinely allowed legislation to take effect without her signature, though not always because of a difference of opinion: Certain land use ordinances, for instance, don’t necessarily go to the mayor for a signature before becoming law. The mayor can also return legislation to the council unsigned when she has concerns about a bill’s impact or legality but believes that the council would vote to override a veto.

Continue reading Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge

OPINION: It’s Time to Put an End to Racially Disparate Police Stops and Searches

by Angélica Cházaro and Anita Khandelwal


Once again, a report has revealed alarming racial disparities in the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) treatment of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC). The Center for Policing Equity, in a study completed earlier this year, found that Black pedestrians are five times — and Native pedestrians nine times — more likely to be stopped by SPD than white pedestrians. Moreover, BIPOC pedestrians are significantly more likely to be searched than their white counterparts, despite being statistically less likely to carry weapons. While SPD’s data did not allow for analysis of traffic stops, given the pervasiveness of such racial disparities it seems likely that similar ratios would hold for those as well.

Fortunately, the Seattle City Council and King County Council have the power to immediately reduce these harms by adopting two simple pieces of legislation — one that would deprioritize any traffic stops where the driver does not pose an imminent danger of physical harm to others and another that would ban consent searches.

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Advocates Push for Systemic Change in Face of Rising Hate Crimes in Seattle

by Ashley Archibald


The first time Brianna Auffray’s client went to the police about a potential arson, they took down a report, but they did not classify it as a hate crime — despite a derogatory note left near the damage. The second time a fire was set at the same family’s home, law enforcement acknowledged that there appeared to be a pattern of arson but still didn’t change the classification. The message from the police was “who’s to know what their motives were?” said Auffray, who is the legal and policy manager for the Council on American Islamic Relations Washington (CAIR-WA). 

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OIG Auditor Resigns, Claims OIG Puts OPA ‘Allegiances’ Over Police Accountability

by Carolyn Bick

The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.


Author’s Note: The Emerald has redacted the name of the former auditor at the heart of this story, as well as all email addresses, a suspect’s face, and an email included in the ethics complaint (due to concerns about job security in the latter case).

A senior-level Office of Inspector General (OIG) auditor has resigned from their position as investigations supervisor over their concerns that Inspector General Lisa Judge and Deputy Inspector General Amy Tsai have quashed any pushback against the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) — among other duties, the office the OIG is supposed to audit and oversee as part of Seattle’s police accountability system — rendering the OIG’s staff little more than rubber stampers for OPA investigations. The former auditor alleges in a formal ethics complaint to the City that this systematic pushback is based in part on a personal relationship between Deputy IG Amy Tsai and the OPA director and is focused on “appeasing the OPA.”

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SPD Chief Fires Two Officers Who Trespassed on Capitol Grounds During Jan. 6 Attack

by Paul Kiefer 

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.) 


Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz announced in a blog post on Friday that he has fired officers Alexander Everett and Caitlin Rochelle for violating department policy and federal law by trespassing on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2020, while insurrectionists stormed the legislative chambers inside.

Using video evidence provided by the FBI, investigators from Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) were able to place Everett and Rochelle at the steps of the Capitol as rioters clashed with police nearby. Though Everett and Rochelle told investigators they didn’t know they were trespassing in a restricted area, neither the OPA nor Diaz were convinced; in his letter on Friday, Diaz wrote that “it is beyond absurd to suggest that they did not know they were in an area where they should not be, amidst what was already a violent, criminal riot.”

Continue reading SPD Chief Fires Two Officers Who Trespassed on Capitol Grounds During Jan. 6 Attack

SPD May Have Violated HIPAA Laws — and May Have Lied While Doing It

by Carolyn Bick

The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.


Kel Murphy spent most of his time in the days following his arrest last November trying to get ahold of the insulin he needs to survive. Even though he was in the hospital for one of those days — he had fallen into a coma following his arrest — and there was, in theory, insulin available for him, he had no way of proving that he needed it. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers who had arrested him had confiscated all of his items, including his insulin, his insulin delivery pen, his continuous blood glucose monitor receiver, his insurance card, his medical card, his two main payment cards, his driver’s license, his glasses, and several other items, including additional medical equipment. They were sitting somewhere in the SPD’s Evidence Unit while Murphy was sitting in a hospital bed trying desperately to coordinate proper medical care.

“Figuring out how to get fast-acting insulin was both costly and a time-intensive task without having access to my property. … Enforcement delivered me to the hospital without my medical explanation card or my insulin pens,” Murphy said, reading an official statement to the Emerald in an interview on July 26, 2021. “Those items were deliberately stowed [by me] in the pockets of my pants I was wearing when I was accosted and were taken off my person before transporting me.”

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As National Night Out Approaches Neighborhoods Prepare to Gather

by Elizabeth Turnbull


This Tuesday, Aug. 3, residents and neighbors throughout Seattle will participate in National Night Out, an event organized by the Seattle Police Department (SPD), and police departments across the country, to encourage community safety collaboration and communication with law enforcement.

Residents can use the opportunity to meet with neighbors who might collect mail when they’re gone and keep an eye on their home when absent. Law enforcement hopes that these types of connections will also help residents identify, and report, crime trends in their neighborhood. 

According to Jennifer Danner, a crime prevention coordinator with SPD, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept this year’s registration to about half of what it was in 2019, when roughly 1,400 parties registered for the event in Seattle. However, the layout of the event will remain largely the same — various neighborhood block parties, barbeques, and social gatherings where residents also have an excuse to combat the Seattle Freeze.

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