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Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 14, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Seattle police: Fix trust issues between leadership and officers

Danny Westneat and The Times in general haven’t been acknowledging the elephant in the room [“My brazen car prowlers turn out to be state’s ‘Most Wanted’,” Local News, Nov. 7].

Seattle police officers who want to keep their jobs are averse to busting low-level criminals because the cops don’t believe their leaders (and the mayor) would back them up if they use justifiable force to make a legitimate arrest and something then goes wrong. They believe politics will determine the outcome, rather than the law and their adherence to training and procedures.

The Department of Justice settlement is certainly a major factor in this perception. But that judicial horse has left the barn.

What’s sorely needed now is honest and ethical leadership. If cops believe they’re victims, it’s up to the police department and city leaders to change that perception. Seattle officers need to be told straight out that if they follow the rules, the brass would have their backs. And then the brass must walk that talk.

Without cops’ trust in their leadership, we’re all in danger.

Phillip Johnson, Seattle

Comments | More in Seattle Police Department | Topics: Danny Westneat, department of justice, Phillip Johnson

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