Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

Showdown looming in Seattle

November 9, 2018

This article reports that 24 community groups and the city’s Community Police Commission are urging the Seattle city council to reject a police union contract negotiated between the union and the mayor. Wage increases retroactive to 2015 are not at issue, but rather mechanisms for police accountability. Opponents argue the pending contract “weakens the Police department’s ability to discipline and fire officers,” while the federal judge presiding over the 2012 consent decree has expressed some concerns. The city’s position is that the contract includes provisions that will increase accountability while also protecting public safety. The city council is expected to vote on Tuesday.


Investigating hate crimes

August 26, 2018

This article reports several examples of successful investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. Reporting and documentation of hate crime is inconsistent around the country and federal prosecution is rare, so local police action is usually the key to success or failure. One reason that bias crimes often get overlooked is the element of the offender’s motivation: “Police officers, for most crimes, are not rigorously trained to look at motive. They apprehend; they take reports; they do some investigation.”

Getting shot isn’t random

August 25, 2018

This post reports an epidemiological study of 763 people injured or killed by gunfire in Seattle between 2010 and 2014. Compared to individuals hurt in crashes, gunshot victims (whether in a crime, accident, suicide, or by police) were more likely to have recent substance abuse, mental disorder, and arrest histories. Looking specifically at those shot by police, they were “seven times more likely to have a prior felony arrest; four times more likely to have a diagnosis involving alcohol and eleven times more likely to have one for cannabis abuse; seven times more likely to have clinical depression, anxiety or psychosis; and 22 times more likely to have a conduct disorder.”

Seattle Public Safety Survey

June 23, 2018

This column announces release of Seattle’s 3rd annual public safety survey. Perceptions of police and crime in the city have changed little over the last 3 years. City-wide, residents think their police are better than elsewhere in the country, and their top concerns are police capacity, property crime, and littering/dumping. Most importantly, citizens’ perceptions and priorities are broken out by 59 specific neighborhoods in conjunction with the police department’s micro-community policing plans. The full surevy report is available here.

Policing the homeless

June 13, 2018

PERF has released a new report on the police response to homelessness, emphasizing problem solving, innovation, and partnerships as alternatives to either making arrests or doing nothing. Insights from police departments all over the country are included, as well as background information on how the problem overlaps with mental illness and substance abuse.

Position: research analyst/strategic advisor

April 28, 2018
Seattle PD has advertised a Research Analyst/Strategic Advisor position, closing date May 8th. The position will “coordinate the research effort of the Department and the more than 40 academic partners, globally. The Research Analyst will serve as a bridge between current business practice and developments in the state of the art and a critical link to manage the Department’s research network.”

Sleepy, tired cops

November 6, 2017

This article reviews evidence about the impact of fatigue on police performance and decision making. Between long shifts, night work, overtime, and secondary employment many officers end up working tired or even sleepy. Most departments fail to monitor outside employment and many don’t even regulate the amount of overtime that individual officers can accumulate.

Gil Kerlikowske taking it easier

October 9, 2017

This article is a nice profile of Gil Kerlikowske, most recently head of the 60,000-person U.S. Customs & Border Protection, previously drug czar and police chief in Seattle and Buffalo. One of the most respected law enforcement leaders of the last few decades, he’s now doing some volunteering and part-time teaching.

Seattle moves to control off-duty employment

September 28, 2017

The Seattle city council recently chose one of its members, Tim Burgess, to fill the remaining term of the previous mayor who suddenly resigned over criminal allegations. In his first executive order, Burgess, a former police officer, has directed the police department to establish an internal office to manage off-duty police employment, according to this article. A 2016 audit of the current system, run by third parties affiliated with the police union, led to “an ongoing FBI investigation into reports of price fixing, over charging and racketeering in connection with security and traffic control jobs performed by hundreds of Seattle police each week.”

Police & persons with mental illness

September 6, 2017

This article reviews how deinstitutionalization forced police into a bigger role in handling mental health crises, the enhanced responses like CIT that have been widely implemented, and some current initiatives aimed at trying to divert people with mental illness into treatment and away from the criminal justice system.