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New SPD ‘use of force’ policies

spd3SEATTLE — The federal monitor overseeing reforms at the Seattle Police Department unveiled new use of force policies. The more restrictive guidelines, he says, are necessary to restore trust and accountability in the police force.

“There is de-escalation, for example, built into these use of force policies,” Merrick Bobb said in his presentation on Wednesday in front of the Seattle City Council Public Safety Meeting.

Excessive force is what got the SPD into the mess it finds itself in and is also the reason why the Department of Justice had to come in to enforce change. It’s the crux of the problem and what everyone is focused on.

Bobb’s report runs 70-pages and is meant to guarantee that in the future force is used only when it’s necessary and only as much as necessary.  Bobb cited “specific provisions that call for de-escalation, call for standing back, call for calling out [crisis intervention team], call for there being an effort to not confront in such a way as to trigger force prematurely.”

Here are some of the new policies:

  • Officers must always issues warnings first
  • They are prohibited  from using force when someone has only verbally confronted them
  • They can never use force to punish or retaliate
  • Deadly force may only be used only when there is a clear threat of death or serious injury to an officer

The president of the Officer’s Union expressed concern about the long list of new requirements.

“Officers are going to have to, you know, conform to this new use of force policy,” Sgt. Rich O’Neill said.  “And some officers — I hope not — but some officers may hesitate and that is a concern of mine. I don’t want to see an officer get hurt because they should have used force and they didn’t, and they didn’t use the force because they didn’t want to have to do this long documentation.”

O’Neill is also worried that that the stricter reporting requirements that come with these new policies is going to chew up a lot of officer time that could be spent out on the street.

City councilmembers seemed upbeat about the new guidelines. “This will be a helpful document to make the police department better,” Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety Committee said.   “Much of it is just common sense and that’s what we’re asking to be applied out there in the field.”

Bobb is expected to submit the guidelines to the federal judge overseeing the DOJ consent decree in the next several weeks.

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4 comments

  • Bad Bob

    You are reducing SPD to “metro-police” (as in metro men).
    Let the cops to their jobs and leave then alone……..Go Home Feds.
    You Feds must directly report to our racist Attorney General, Eric Holder.

  • majordomo

    We can all thank local US attorney Jennie Durkin for nuetering our police dept and making Seattle a sanctuary city for street thugs. The thugs will now use the 70 pages of regulations through their lawyers to not only never be convicted of anything because their rights were violated, but sue for damages on top of it all. With these new Guidlines in place, things will only get worse. The police will arrive only after you or your family memeber have been violated or injured. What officer in their right mind would do prevenative policing, act on a hunch, question a bad guy on the street now? not gonna happen now because you could ruin your career by being pro active. I prefer a police force where the bad guys are afraid of the police and not laughing at them. This is like a war run by politicians and not the military, always turns out poorly. Good Luck out there.

  • AndyBlue

    More garbage while the citizens pay dearly. The most corrupt police department in the United States will not change. They have already gotten away with defrauding us all and the Millions and Millions this costs has now effected all budgets. __Not one officer has been charged with the crimes the federal investigation has revealed. __The ENTIRE Seattle police department just received retroactive raises going back through 2011 when it was discovered they were defrauding us at the direction of their corrupt union. __The citizens continue to be denied the ability to drug test the obvious steroid abusing criminals with badges. __The Seattle police department still has control of all video evidence against them which they have already been proven to deny having many times. __

  • AndyBlue

    The citizens are still denied the ability to fire these corrupt abusive lawless cops at will leaving us all still vulnerable to millions and millions more in liability for their illegal, corrupt, abusive acts committed on the citizens. __All these years of defrauding us and not ONE officer spoke up. Not One! __When human filth gets a badge Everyone Pays. And nowhere is that more proven then in Seattle Washington. __Now take a closer look at the King County Corrupt Sheriffs Department.