Community Police Commission
The Community Police Commission is made up of a experts and activists who've long been involved in criminal justice work, including representatives of each of Seattle's two police unions. Check them out here. Seattle.gov

On Monday afternoon, Seattle's Community Police Commission stuck to its word. It chose not to keep waiting around for the mayor to meet his own deadlines and sent the city council a comprehensive police reform package.

In an e-mail to council members, CPC executive director Fé Lopez said the commissioners incorporated feedback from the SPD itself and the department's accountability arm, the Office of Professional Accountability, into the proposals. But she said the commission hadn't received any feedback from Mayor Murray, which suggests that the mayor still plans to submit his own long-delayed, competing version of a reform package to the council separately. A mayoral spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The package proposed by the CPC represents an effort to institutionalize a robust accountability process at the local level—beyond the scope of the Justice Department consent decree, which allows the CPC's existence to expire when a federal judge and the Justice Department are satisfied that the SPD is reformed. The CPC's proposals include making the CPC permanent, strengthening auditing requirements for the department, and directing the mayor and the SPD to implement the CPC's outstanding, common sense recommendations (listed below). A draft resolution submitted by the commission to the council offers a good overview of what's at stake. (The resolution is in addition to a 25-page draft of the legislation itself.) Let's take a look at what the resolution says:

NOW, THEREFORE, it is the City Council's intent to:

1) Update the accountability system ordinance to strengthen independence, sustainability and transparency, reflect operational improvements now in effect for the accountability system, and codify other needed improvements.

2) Replace the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board with the Community Police Commission, make the Commission permanent and provide it authority and capacity to review policies, practices and training of significance to the public; to gather and report on community input related to policing; and to help enhance the independence, accessibility and transparency of the accountability system.

3) Provide the City Auditor's Office staff capacity dedicated to public safety for the purpose of independent review of Seattle Police Department business processes, systems, programs and operations, including those identified by the Police Auditor and/or the CPC as priorities for review, to identify opportunities for improvement and utilization of best practices. Such staff would be jointly available to the Police Auditor and the CPC, and their work would be prioritized to conduct reviews requested and directed collaboratively by the City Auditor, Police Auditor and the CPC.

4) Direct the Mayor and the Seattle Police Department to work with the Community Police Commission to implement the CPC’s 2014 recommended reforms that have not yet been implemented in full or in part, are outside the scope of this ordinance, and do not need to await the conclusion of collective bargaining. These CPC recommendations are set out in Section x below.

5) Direct the Mayor to consult with the Community Police Commission and then to return to the City Council by the end of 2015, or within 60 days after the conclusion of collective bargaining, whichever is later, to address those CPC recommendations regarding accountability that are not yet included in this ordinance pending conclusion of the Seattle Police Officers Guild and the Seattle Police Management Association negotiations. These CPC recommendations are set out in Section xx below.

Section x
CPC recommendations that shouldn’t need to await collective bargaining:

1. The Department should discontinue "extended authority commissions."
2. The Department should create an internal, civilian office for management and oversight of secondary employment work.
3. The Department should adopt preference points in hiring for candidates who are multi-lingual or have work experience or educational background providing important skills needed in policing today, such as experience working with diverse communities, and social work, mental health or domestic violence counseling, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or other similar work or community service backgrounds.
4. The Department should revise its In-Car Video review policy to allow for its use in training and coaching.
5. OPA should develop a precinct liaison program, using civilian staff.
6. The City should work with the state legislature to amend state law to broaden the grounds for revocation of officer certification and allow the Washington State Criminal Justice Commission to initiate revocation after a final finding.
7. The City should work with the state legislature to make needed changes to state law for use of body-worn cameras that best balance public disclosure and appropriate privacy protections.

Section xx
CPC recommendations that have been on hold by the City awaiting collective bargaining:

1. OPA involvement should be strengthened in cases involving possible criminal misconduct and tolling of the contractually-required 180-day time limit in these cases should be allowed to maximize the quality of both the criminal and administrative investigations.
2. OPA should use civilians for intake, as investigators and supervisors, in addition to use of sworn personnel.
3. There should be one avenue for disciplinary appeals, with a decision-maker who has the necessary expertise and objectivity and is selected through a process that encourages timeliness in appeals and allows for issuance of decisions without concern for future selection.
4. The grievance process should only address allegations of contract violations that are not challenges to disciplinary decisions.
5. Hearings regarding appeals of discipline should be open to the public.
6. To help ensure a predictable, consistent and uniform approach to imposing discipline, and provide employees and the public with a sense of fairness in management’s disciplinary decisions, the Department should use a discipline matrix for the imposition of discipline.
7. To help ensure timeliness, there should be enforceable time limits on those steps that follow the completion of an OPA investigation.
8. The role of SPOG representatives in the investigative processes should be only to ensure that an officer’s contractual and due process rights are not violated.
9. OPA should have a rapid adjudication process for certain types of alleged misconduct. This will help strengthen SPD’s internal accountability culture by allowing policy violations to be quickly acknowledged, to focus investigative resources most efficiently, and to minimize the time for which an employee has a misconduct allegation pending.
10. OPA should establish an informal problem-solving process for certain “customer-service” types of complaints.

How to handle the the CPC's proposals, versus whatever competing ordinance may be forthcoming from Mayor Murray, is "going to be up to me and the council to figure out," public safety chair Bruce Harrell has said. "And I accept. This is extremely time-sensitive, and because of that, we'll act accordingly."