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Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 20, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Focus less on use-of-force, more on support for police

Federal monitor Merrick Bobb, Seattle’s mayor, the City Council and The Seattle Times are ignoring a basic law-enforcement issue by focusing exclusively on the Seattle Police Department’s use-of-force policies [“Federal monitor impressed by O’Toole as police chief so far,” Local News, July 16].

Procedures that keep cops safe on the street are vital, and the new policies likely need change. But just as important is an officer’s faith that if he or she follows the rules, exercises good judgment, and a situation nevertheless ends badly, the officer’s actions would be backed up by SPD brass and the mayor — regardless of political pressure. In my view, that hasn’t been the case for at least a decade. And its consequences are degrading public safety in our city.

I believe this lack of moral leadership is the major factor in the documented decline of proactive policing in Seattle. I hope Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole is smart enough and tough enough to recognize this problem and act on it.

Phillip Johnson, Seattle

Comments | More in Seattle Police Department | Topics: Chief Kathleen O’Toole, Merrick Bobb, Phillip Johnson

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