Police monitor: SPD reforms aren’t working unless there is trust
Merrick Bobb, who oversaw reform of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1993, released details March 11 on how he would watch SPD over the next year, and how he would measure whether or not local reform efforts are working.
That progress will be measured by how much the community trusts the police department.
As independent monitor, Bobb is an agent of the court, brought in to Seattle through a court settlement between the city and the Department of Justice after a 2011 report found that local officers have a pattern and practice of excessive force that disproportionally targets people of color and people with mental illness. According to the settlement, Bobb will work in Seattle for at least three years and inform a federal judge whether or not the city has complied with all the provisions.
The team will examine how SPD supervisors work with officers, scrutinize all uses of force and make sure there are officers with mental health training on duty.
At a meeting with the Seattle City Council March 11, Ron Ward, assistant monitor, said new policies aren’t enough. The team is looking for a substantive change in the lives of young people of color, said Ward, so that they “don’t have to live looking over their shoulder.”
To see if that’s happening, Bobb will look to the community for input. Beginning this year, the monitoring team will collect surveys, interview witnesses and look at police data to determine whether or not people trust the police department. Bobb’s plan places a particular emphasis on African American and other “minority” communities.
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.