A 2011 DOJ report found that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has a pattern and practice of excessive force, but came short of claiming the department had a racial bias, citing a lack of data.
With that in mind, the Community Police Commission (CPC) is seeking opinions from Seattle residents on their interactions with the police department and their opinions about possible reforms.
The CPC’s online survey is open to anyone, but the group wants to hear in particular from the people most affected by uses of force. The 2011 study found that uses of force were used against people of color half of the time and against people with mental illness or substance abuse issues 70 percent of the time.
“The CPC is convinced that many members of these groups and other groups that may be disproportionately affected [by excessive force] are not easily reached by a telephone survey in English,” CPC co-chair Diane Narasaki said in a statement.
The survey asks participants if they think the SPD treats people of color differently, uses racial or homophobic slurs, or treats people respectfully.
The survey goes on to ask whether participants think increasing use of dashboard cameras, data collection on race and conflict resolution training will help improve the SPD.
The CPC will use the information as it drafts recommendations for SPD policy changes that are due in November.
The online survey is one of many outreach efforts conducted by the SPD, CPC and the department’s court-ordered independent monitor Merrick Bobb.
Bobb conducted his own survey earlier this year, but because it was by phone and in English only, it may have been out of reach for some potential respondents, Narasaki said.
Visit surveymonkey.com/s/cpc123 to fill out the survey.