Saying the labor union representing Seattle's 1,350 sworn police officers needs to shape up, saying that too many cops reside outside the city limits, and saying the union leaders are in a "state of denial," Mayor Mike McGinn slammed the Seattle Police Officers Guild this afternoon. Cienna will have a complete write up on the State of the City speech, but while we wait, check out an excerpt of these prepared remarks (in full here):
The officers of the Seattle Police Department have work to do as well. There is no place in the Seattle Police Department for those who do not share our values. That includes our commitment to racial and social justice. That includes our commitment to treating every member of the public with respect. That includes our commitment to working with the public as partners, instead of treating them as people to be commanded.
Improving our police department requires more than holding our current officers accountable for their actions. It requires us to think differently about how we recruit and build a police force that serves the public well.
Right now, just 18% of our police officers live in Seattle. 82% don't. It's hard to have a good local police force if the police aren't local. State law prevents us from requiring officers to live in this city. But we have over 300 officers who are eligible for retirement. That gives us an opportunity to recruit officers from the community and who understand our community and its values.
And we will do that. We will expand the targeting pool for new officers, to seek those who have the life experience and maturity to meet the high standards we have for the Seattle Police Department. We want a police force that looks like Seattle. It's going to take more. DOJ may force changes. Some of those changes will force the union to come to the table and work around solutions that will help us hold officers
Frankly, statements from the union suggest they are in a state of denial about the nature and severity of this problem. They need to face facts. The union has a responsibility to step up and be part of the solution. They owe it to their members.
Serving as a cop in a city that doesn't trust cops is an awful position to place their members.
Right on, Mr. Mayor.