We Must Change the Culture of the Seattle Police Department

Comments

1

Beware of patronizing and condescending politicians trying to ingratiate themselves with meaningless feel-good terms like "change the culture".

They're not doing their homework, or going the extra mile. They're not talking specifics, just hoping to be swept into office on a tide of wokeness.

3

@2 - You beat to it yet again, PH. Yeah, purging the department of those who are known to be abusive, lazy and or corrupt. The department knows who those people are. An atmosphere of accountability is what "changes the culture."

4

I forgot to add that due to civil service restrictions and the strength of union meddling in disciplinary matters, I like the idea of terminating the entire department and making every last person reapply for their jobs.

Have WSP and neighboring agencies fill the gap briefly until a reliable and professional core of now-former Seattle PD personnel are hired back pretty much immediately. It would probably cut the size of the department by a 1/3 or so in the short term.

5

@4: "until a reliable and professional core of now-former Seattle PD personnel are hired back pretty much immediately"

until huh, meanwhile....

6

So, my takeaways are this:

We need to Defund SPD by 65% and reallocate the 65% to mental health and crisis intervention by non-armed non-police.
We need to train new officers to realize when they aren't needed and will almost certainly escalate problems.
We need to realize that police are doing what they think we want them to do, not what we need them to do. Right now, they think that means rounding up black and brown people. And sometimes killing them.

They may not realize that 3 is the critical point.

7

But nobody here is talking about morale, which is perhaps the biggest issue.

"Get out of here, but you can reapply."

8

Dear Stranger;

You are not required to provide Bruce Harrell with free, unpaid-for political advertising every time Nathalie or anyone else critcises Bruce Harrell. He is a Republican and will demand it, but you are not required to provide space in your paper for free. Let him buy an ad. You've been Trumped.

9

Bellevue Police are hiring. https://bellevuewa.gov/city-government/departments/police/about-police/police-jobs

10

Change the culture of the SPD by releasing the names of the six SPD officers at the Jan 6 Capitol insurrection (fun fact: it was largest contingent of officers there from one force) Wasn’t of isn’t the “next” hearing on that today?

11

"...failing, demoralized organizations need both external reformers and inside adopters".
SPD's does not believe it is failing and demoralized, just like an addict who cannot realize s/he is sick.

12

Policing can't be reformed. It's culture cannot be changed. It must be dismantled and destroyed entirely and replaced with something else.

13

7 - Don't give me bullshit about morale, for fuck's sake. "Morale" is largely controlled by one's self. "The biggest issue?" What a fucking joke; you just made yourself non-credible by asserting that. Here's a trade secret, police unions use "morale" as a cudgel to manipulate public opinion of people such as yourself and to browbeat political and department leaders. Dude, I've been in the room when that shit is discussed. Please.

Having a department of professionals who must adhere to professional standards and be held strictly accountable is what will curtail most all of the community blowback toward the police, thereby improving your precious "morale."

And if you had read my second post, you would have seen that I recommended WSP and a contingent of officers from neighboring departments pick provide police function in the city for the very brief period the city would be without, a few days at most.

All personnel would be told to make their resume complete with their IAD histories, attendance and activity reports and any other supporting documentation from the department. In that way, a commission could rehire a significant number right back right away, the obvious 30-50%. The 1/3 or so would take a bit more scrutiny.

6 - Throwing out arbitrary numbers like that is not helpful. You must first identify what functions the police must carry out, how they will carry out those functions and what resources they legitimately need to carry out those functions. The answer may mean a 10% cut or a 75% cut or something in between, but the above process needs to be completed to determine the correct figure.

It will also take time. There aren't enough civilian entities to respond to person in crisis cases as it is now. Imagine adding a ton of new responsibilities to the social service sector that used to be the purview of the police. They'll need time to recruit and fully train a lot more personnel to take over those police functions that they're able to take over.

14

@2 @3 Harrell's piece here is so mush-mouthed that I can't even figure out what his point is, but I don't like solutions rooted in the "bad apples" theory of police brutality. A big showy house-clearing isn't going to fix systemic rot. We have to take power away from the institution abusing it, and the way to do that is through reallocating that power elsewhere, via major policy and funding changes.

Go ahead and sack anyone who tries to get in the way, though, by all means.

17

@15 I knew chuds had a weakness for youtube evo-psych crackpottery, but fuck's sake lad, a "cop phenotype?"

18

I don't know about firing all of them, but I have one in mind.

20

@19 I dunno, I guess if it's guys like you doing the recruiting, then yeah, all we're likely to get are gym rats with short tempers and a seething contempt for the 92% of Americans who haven't served in the military.

Which, uh, seems like maybe a pretty good argument for overhauling hiring policy and putting someone in charge who doesn't share your loathing of anyone with a college degree in something other than counting money or blowing shit up.

21

@15 I didn't realize I am solely responsible for solving the problem of what will society be and look like when policing is dismantled and destroyed. Oh right, I'm not. There are plenty of people providing real world solutions but you and your ilk simply refuse to acknowledge there can be alternatives as you are far too invested in the status quo. Consider this. One TRILLION dollars is spent on police annually (and that's not counting all of the taxpayer money used to pay out civil lawsuits). Police do not prevent crime. Police do not solve crime (the national solve rate for violent crime is 2% - can you imagine any other job where you do only 2% of your job and you still have a fucking job)?

Oh and look at the world because there are plenty of examples of policing in the world that are far better than what we have going on in this country. Feel free to research that for yourself.

Here's some ways we can have a society without policing.

https://www.vox.com/2020/6/24/21296881/unbundle-defund-the-police-george-floyd-rayshard-brooks-violence-european-policing

https://www.mcgilldaily.com/PoliceIssue/Restorative-Justice.html

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/police-brutality-cop-free-world-protest-199465/

22

What the U.S. Can Learn From Countries Where Cops Don't Carry Guns
https://time.com/5854986/police-reform-defund-unarmed-guns/

23

@13, I really doubt you would have a department back in a few days, even half of it. You'd be handing each cop a payout for their vacation, sick leave, and possibly severance. The could then go on unemployment. Given this situation, I expect a lot of them wouldn't ben in too much of a hurry to reapply to the department which just fired them. It'd be a lot easier for them to hold out for a couple of months than the city and they have a union that would be aware of this.

The only place where I've heard of something like this was when Camden replaced their department of about 250 officers with the county police. This was done mostly because the city couldn't really afford their police. Crime did go down in Camden, just like other cities in New Jersey, but complaints about excessive use of force increased, I'm not sure this is the model Seattle is looking for.
https://www.inquirer.com/news/inq/complaints-rise-under-camden-police-20150425.html

How about something a bit simpler. Seattle, along with many other cities, lost control of the ability to get rid of officers who should be fired. In the next contract, change this to give the mayor's office (or someone else) the ability to fire officers who misbehave in a timely manner. This would of course be reform and not some grand reimagation, but then we had a 50% increase in Seattle's murder rate last year and crime victimizes far more people than the police. I'm not for giving the same city government which has failed to make progress in the homelessness crisis the task of reimagining how policing works.

24

More empty bullshit from Harrell that assiduously avoids the obvious foundation for ANY hope of a cultural change in US policing: 100% civilian control of investigating and sanctioning police abuse and for revising police policy.

Harrell: "I am offering as part of a larger package of comprehensive reforms to change not only the way Seattle Police
Department (SPD) officers do their jobs, but how they perform those jobs."
Go look at his current plans on his website: absolutely nothing on actual police accountability. Nothing.

Harrell: "it is both informed and essential to rebuilding an SPD that is accountable to community and effective in basic policing."
Again, words with absolutely nothing behind them, not even a definition as to what he means by "accountability."

Harrell: "Despite a decade of Department of Justice oversight, citizen police commission review, passage of statewide de-escalation mandates, and even the anti-bias laws I passed during my City Council tenure, the culture at SPD has not changed."
That is 100% on you Harrell for calling people liars and rumor mongers when you supported the SPOG contract in 2018 that undercut the MINIMAL police reform measures that you supported. You have done more to undercut accountability than anyone, save maybe Seattle's last two mayors, CM Gonzalez, and, of course, SPOG.

Doesn't Harrell understand that many people are attracted to policing because it offers unbridled power over those they consider lesser?

Harrell isn't an idiot, but he clearly believes we are proffering this transparent nonsense.

Harrell, as council president in 2018, went to the mat to fight for adopting the disastrous police union contract which has allowed cops to fully escape accountability. When he did that in 2018 he claimed his critics were liars and rumor mongers & that no one cared more for the Black community than him.

I am not sure who would be the worst choice for Seattle: Gonzalez, who developed our current police un-accountability system & also voted for the 2018 police contract, Echohawk, who has been on the Seattle Community Police Commission for over 3.5 years (joining 2 months after Charleena Lyles was murdered) & watched as 9 more people were killed by the SPD, or Harrell.

Harrell is not alone among ALL the current mayoral candidates in spewing anodyne mealy-mouthed generalizations while avoiding the obvious: we need 100% civilian control over police for investigation, discipline, & policy. None are willing to speak about this because it does offer real accountability and, after 150+ years, finally would curtail obscene police power & abuse.

25

Not just “a few bad apples”: U.S. police kill civilians at much higher rates than other countries
Police violence is a systemic problem in the U.S., not simply incidental, and it happens on a scale far greater than other wealthy nations.

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2020/06/05/policekillings/

26

Do nothing Harrell, a proverbial seat warmer, that couldn't help the homeless, the infrastructure,
stop police brutality or anything helpful to the ordinary person while he was in office except provide himself a comfy life at our expense. Go away!

Will and other commentators have offered great solutions with impact. Thank you.

27

And we are not paid to give solutions but are willing to do it better than Harrell.

29

22 - To be fair, those very few countries do not have 400-million guns and 2-million gun crimes a year, 2-million gun crimes we send cops to. Send unarmed cops, and the number of cops killed per year would multiply by many orders of magnitude...unless you just don't send them. Even 1/3 of cops in the unarmed police heaven of Great Britain are armed.

@16- Oh please, with your bullshit horror stories. I can more than match your violent cop stories; all but 7 of my 29 years with Dallas PD was on the street working mostly North Oak Cliff and West Dallas, home to the largest single-level complex of housing projects in the US. I spent a couple years in the Cedar Springs projects area and a couple in the rich enclave of North Dallas, but mostly in the first two areas I mentioned.

No one is suggesting unarmed social service personnel respond to situations you like to scare people with, but by far most calls for people in distress don't involve that kind of shit. Some of these responses may require a police back-up, but far and away, most will not.

My last Chief, David Brown, currently head of Chicago PD, has been saying for years that as social services have fallen by the wayside over the last several decades, cops have been tasked with picking up that slack. In other words, I, and most people, are simply suggesting a return to the days before cops picked up all that slack. Do you remember seeing him on the news saying that repeatedly in the days after the Dallas police ambush in 2016?

Unless you want to keep doing it for...I can't imagine what reason. Actually, I can; it's abject terror at the prospect of even the tiniest amount of change.

As to who is drawn to police work, well, maybe reducing the size of departments will allow them to be a little pickier about who they sign up. It's also about who and how they recruit. You're terrified of change...as most cops are...so you'll use any simplistic scare tactic you can possibly imagine to prevent it.

32

The police captain in Atlanta did not "describe" the shooter as having "a bad day". He relayed what the shooter claimed his motivation was in response to a direct question from the press. This could have been determined with literally seconds of reading and the slightest desire to learn the truth of a situation. We don't need anyone in a position of power over the police who only reads the headlines and the hype.

George Floyd's death was, of course, also not related to racism, but it takes a little more of a careful dive into the facts than I'd expect anyone invested in the narrative of a "racist police culture" to take.

33

I think the most effective way to cut the police budget is to better direct what crimes they enforce and more importantly stop enforcing.

Drop the extremely expensive bullshit sting operation lifestyle crimes and the enforcement of asset forfeiture focused crimes and it will remove over 80% of how cops currently spend their time and resources. They need to focus their energy and budget on arresting the rapists, murders and those who perpetuate property crime they currently give a free pass to.

If the only victim of a crime is a person who exists entirely in the imagination of a prosecutor or a cop, that's probably not the best place to spend the majority of your time and energy when you are literally ignoring actual victims screaming at you to do your fucking job and arrest the people who hurt them.

After several corruption inspired public embarrassment in Baltimore similar to what we have experienced in King County, they switched to a model that focuses on victim centric crimes and arrests are down about 87%, but the arrest and prosecution of actual criminals within that 13% is up.

The Baltimore police went from this:

"DEFUND THE BALTIMORE POLICE
A former Baltimore cop questions how a department with a nearly half-billion-dollar budget that is riven by rampant corruption and brutality, bloated overtime spending, and unaccounted for patrol officers can continue to justify its existence"
https://theappeal.org/defund-the-baltimore-police/

To this:
"City Refuses to Prosecute Victimless Crimes Like Drugs, Sex Work—Crime Rate Plummets"
https://thefreethoughtproject.com/baltimore-stops-enforcement-victimless-crimes-drug-war/

I see no way to shift their priorities without firing the police (and replacing the DA with a Gascon, Krasner, Boudin or Mike Schmidt willing to refocus the crime division away from expensive publicity stunts and towards real crimes with actual victims) then rehiring police willing to focus on actual crime over the endless parade of overtime intensive high asset forfeiture lifestyle crimes they currently spend the majority of their time enforcing.

That will wipe out 80% of their work, which would mean an 80% reduction in labor. That is why they will fight thing every inch of the way.

34

@32 Bullshit. When in the history of this country was a white man murdered for what George Floyd allegedly did? When in the history of this country was a white man, cuffed and in the back of cop car, taken out of the cop car, put on the ground, and murdered in front of 50 witnesses? When, in the history of this country did the police call the police on the police because they knew they had just witnessed a murder of a civilian by a cop?

Derek Chauvin is responsible for the deaths of 4 other people THAT WE KNOW OF. He knew George Floyd. He didn't like George Floyd. He sat on George's neck intentionally murdering him, calm, cool, and collected while people watched and begged him to stop.

George Floyd's death was 100% related to racism. There is no reason, no justification, nothing that justifies what Derek Chauvin and his colleagues did to George Floyd. Everyone who personally witnessed the murder knows it. The police who called the police on Chauvin know it. The 9 year old child who testified knows it. The EMT that begged to safe George Floyd's life knows it. Every single human being who is not a white supremacist piece of shit knows it.

Derek Chauvin is a serial killer in a cop suit. He is a government sanctioned, taxpayer funded white supremacist terrorist.

Fuck you and your bullshit. Dive into the facts. Your commentary is repugnant. The fact is that no one, NO ONE ON THE FACE OF THIS EARTH, could do anything, NOT EVEN CHOP UP A BUNCH OF PEOPLE OR COMMIT A MASS SHOOTING, and deserve to be murdered like George Floyd was murdered. The cops prove that fact every single time they take in a white mass murderer alive. Shit even the Boston bomber was taken alive and he bombed crowds of people that blew little children into tiny fucking pieces of flesh.

The denial of how white supremacy in this country denies Black people humanity from birth to death is a deep, deep, DEEP sickness. Your comment is an example of that sickness. Denial of reality does not make it cease to exist. Only in America are Black people murdered twice - once for existing and then again by being blamed for their own murder. White males who commit mass murder and rape and horrific crimes against humanity in all shapes and sizes are never vilified the way Black people are for existing. Not even the Green River killer who murdered god knows how many children and women, dug up their dead bodies and fucked them, and was a known entity to the police for decades before they finally stopped him. HE IS ALIVE. HE IS BREATHING. NO COP SAT ON HIS NECK FOR NEARLY 10 MINUTES.

I honestly wish there was a virus that would eliminate every white person off the face of this earth. And that would include me. I would gladly die if it meant the rest of the world could be rid of the white supremacists. Eliminating white people from the face of the earth would not solve the world's problems, but it would sure be a good fucking start.

35

@32: No, the mass killing in Atlanta was promoted by a religious sex negative John school almost identical to the one run by Peter Qualiotine in King County minus the god part.

If you teach young men that their sexual urges towards the opposite sex are both a mental illness and a crime, violence is the natural result. Often the people who run and support these conversion therapy schools are far more frightened of vaginas than guns and murder, so for them it's a worthwhile trade off.

36

@34 I don't especially feel like replying to every absurd point, but I would encourage you to check out the well-established refutations of the silly rumor that Floyd and Chauvin already knew each other (they had never met). From there, you could probably go down a rabbit hole that would hopefully end with you casting aside all the ideology that led you to believe an entire race needs to be eliminated from the earth.

39

Yeah facts certainly do get in the way of your bullshit statements so one would not expect you to have anything to say other than things about ME.

Chauvin knew Floyd. They worked together, This is proven FACT. 17 years. Chauvin knew Floyd for 17 years. He coldly and with calculation murdered him. Again, FACT. There is video of it. There is testimony by his PEERS, experts supposedly trained just like him who have testified under oath that he murdered George Floyd.

As always, the trolls flock to SLOG every weekend when the moderators aren't here to throw your asses in the trash.

41

@40 Someone at @19 once said "You attack the verbiage but can't come to terms with the fact"

And I think veterans with health problems get the bulk of their assistance from the VA, not SSI/SSID, but now I'm splitting hairs eh.

42

@xina, white supremacism won't end with a species extinction, but to be more practical it can be alleviated to a very large extent by growth and understanding among the populations. That understanding includes redemption, understanding the people can change their minds, being patient and respectful, and above all: optimistic.

Your hyperbolic approach, while full of sincere and commendable passion, does make you sound like you have a martyr complex.

44

@33 - I don't know where you're getting that 80% figure, but it's incorrect. By far, the vast majority of time in any police department is devoted to responding to calls for service, 911 and non-emergency calls.

45

@43: We need to move past tallying up atrocities and making comparisons (racial whataboutism).

47

IMHO this whole thing is about Union Busting.
I can not remember in history a Union that so badly needed busting than SPOG.
It may seem to be putting the cart before the horse, but, this whole issue beggars the imagination, and one issue often ends up depending upon something "else". The power far too often residing somewhere other than where the voting public thinks.
Sorry Bruce, but I hope you get to be Mayor, and I hope you bust that Union and re-form a better and more perfect Seattle Police Officer's Guild that understands the Citizens are not the enemy, and should be presumed innocent absent probable cause, or a thumping Officer having a bad life.

48

@44: The 80% was hyperbole. Not only that, staffing and crime are not a one to ratio, so even if crime did drop 80% it would not translate to an 80% drop in policing. Hyperbole aside, this is what defunding looks like to many of us. If we make more things legal we have less crime and need fewer police. For one you will not longer need vice units.

https://archive.is/rMOqF

"After crime plummeted in 2020, Baltimore will stop drug, sex prosecutions
State’s Attorney Mosby stopped non-violent prosecutions for the coronavirus, but then violent crime dropped 20 percent."

"And then crime went down in Baltimore. A lot. While violent crime and homicides skyrocketed in most other big American cities last year, violent crime in Baltimore dropped 20 percent from last March to this month, property crime decreased 36 percent, and there were 13 fewer homicides compared with the previous year. This happened while 39 percent fewer people entered the city’s criminal justice system in the one-year period, and 20 percent fewer people landed in jail after Mosby’s office dismissed more than 1,400 pending cases and tossed out more than 1,400 warrants for nonviolent crimes."

What I find most fascinating is that at a time when violent crime is generally up around the country it has dropped in Baltimore along with this change in policing that was originally instituted to keep people out of jail during COVID-19.

It's interesting that you point out the cost of 911 calls since Baltimore has worked with healthcare workers to outsource many of these to civilian groups, apparently with real success.

49

@44: I also found this from the article very interesting:

They also found that of 1,431 people who had charges or warrants dismissed at the outset, only five were rearrested. Though studies of recidivism typically look at three years to review reoffender data, the fact that only five reentered the system in eight months is “pretty unbelievable,” said Susan G. Sherman, a behavioral health professor at Hopkins who specializes in helping marginalized populations. “In a world where drug decriminalization is happening around the country, the impact on the community is important,” Sherman said. She said the fact that Mosby hired Hopkins to look at 911 and recidivism data showed that the Baltimore prosecutor “really values having an understanding of these impacts.”

One of the arguments for mass incarceration is that it prevents those who are incarcerated from committing crimes in the future based on the repeat offender model. In this case, it appears only 5 of the 1,431 people who were arrested and released fit that model. Well over 99% of those who were not incarcerated did not commit another crime.

With numbers like this, it's hard to believe the "we must incarcerate millions to keep you safe" model of policing.

50

What needs to be done? First, the city needs to get rid of Solan, de-certifying the union if necessary. Second, the SPD force needs to grow up. They are demoralized because their abuses and unnecessary killings are condemned instead of celebrated, and they were placed under a federal consent decree? They need to quit the pouting like children and do their jobs, they are paid a lot of money for it. Money should go to training instead of military grade weapons, and both existing and new hires need to undergo personality testing to determine suitability for their jobs. People who have anger or power issues need to be excluded or eliminated from the force.

51

Xina is not crazy but anyone that justifies the treatment of George Floyd such as number 36 by denying the fact that Chauvin knew George Floyd and worked with him in security for years sure looks crazy evil. #36 you are racist a bootlicker and we read you very clearly.

Chauvin should be charged with murder 1 as the cold blooded murderer he truly is. We have to stop these modern slave patrols as we DEFUND the police bigtime and use the $$ to provide monies for decent housing, education and needed social services to eliminate poverty and racism instead of making racist killers rich.

52

47 you know Brucey ain't going to do that. He is a seat warmer and bull shitter.

The Latino/gay man that is running is much more likely to do so it appears.
Thank you for caring.

53

37 We have heard you right wing talking points before and they are as phony as you are.