May 18, 4:20 PM click here to comment > 0
Preventing biased policing in Seattle
We know from historical experience that bias is an issue across our society. Data shows that, despite our best intentions, race matters in society, whether it’s education, housing, employment, or business opportunity. It should surprise no one that issues of discrimination and bias are also an issue in policing. Addressing this is a high priority for City government — in fact, it is why this city has launched the Race and Social Justice Initiative.
We have met with members of the community to help us create and implement plans to address issues of bias. The Department of Justice expressed concerns about bias in their investigation into the Seattle Police Department, but did not make a finding of biased policing. Regardless of their conclusion, we are committed to addressing issues of bias.
That’s one reason why SPD 20/20: A Vision for the Future includes an initiative to prevent biased policing. We are committed to ensuring that every single Seattle Police officer understands the prohibition against biased policing. We are committed to undertake the following actions, and will consider other actions if they will be effective:
• Reinforce the prohibition of biased policing and its consequence (termination)
• Improve data collection related to traffic stops
• Collect data for pedestrian stops
• Develop local best practices to prevent biased policing and work with a national consortium of major city police departments and researchers to continue to define best practices that prevent biased policing
• Engage universities to review of our practices
Training is also an important element. We’ve been working with community members to develop new and improved training programs. Our 20/20 plan includes several major improvements to training, including these that are focused on preventing bias:
• Create Sergeant’s and Commander’s academies that include Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) training as core components
• Give all new Seattle police officers supplemental training after they leave the state’s academy to learn about our city and the people who live here, including RSJI training
• Involve tribal experts to help train our officers.
• Develop a training component on the history of Seattle, so that officers understand not only the people who live in our city, but how they came to be here, and the challenges and struggles they had to face over time – and still face today.
I am committed to working with the community to implement changes that are sustainable and lasting. As mayor, I will be holding police leadership accountable to achieve these changes.
Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn