If the Seattle Police Department is ever going to change its culture—rife with right-wing rhetoric and apparently on a runaway train of controversial incidents—the union representing 1,350 cops needs to get over its persecution complex and take responsibility. That's the upshot of comments today from Mayor Mike McGinn at a press conference.
"We need the union to come to the table, not be defensive, not be closed, not say the problem is the media," McGinn said. His jab at the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) apparently comes in response to the union newspaper's most recent screeds, which I reported today, that blame The Stranger and the Seattle Times for a frenzy of police scrutiny. It calls race and justice training a "jihad" and the union president mocks a US Dept of Justice review of SPD practices. In some of his most direct comments about the union so far, McGinn was clear that union leaders were critical to the command staff's goals of reforming training, discipline, and culture.
"If we don't have the courage," McGinn continued, "to take a hard look at their job and acknowledge how and where we can do better, things are not going to change. The union needs to do that, too."
Cienna will have more on the rest of the press conference in a minute.