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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: seattle police

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September 2, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Seattle’s new police chief is an empathetic multitasker, but far from naive

At a time of national hand-wringing over police use-of-force, things are calm in Seattle thanks in part to the city’s new top cop Kathleen O’Toole.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole (Photo by Ted S. Warren / AP)

Sworn in as Seattle’s first female police chief just two months ago, O’Toole immediately set out to not just build bridges with the city’s various

communities, but also with the department’s rank-and-file.

In her third day in office, she called on old contacts in Boston to help her open community channels here in Seattle. Those ties were so strong, she said, that some Boston associates flew to Seattle for her swearing-in.

“It’s the way I’ve always done business,” she said Wednesday during a wide-ranging, candid interview.

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Comments | Topics: consent decree, kathleen o'toole, seattle police

December 13, 2013 at 6:31 AM

Seattle’s Westlake Park feels safer. Was that so hard?

As concierge at the Seaboard Building in Westlake Park, Joseph Crudo has a front-row seat to daily scrum in Seattle’s retail core.

Westlake Park, looking splendid / ALAN BERNER, SEATTLE TIMES

Westlake Park, looking splendid / ALAN BERNER, SEATTLE TIMES

In July, that front row seat got him a broken arm and nose and a concussion. Crudo got beat up after trying to warn a man that he was being pickpocketed. The case made headlines in The Seattle Times and elsewhere because a 13-year-old was arrested after being seen kicking Crudo in the head.

The incident also made headlines because it confirmed a perception that downtown was going seedy. Fast forward five months, and Crudo sees a changed landscape.

“In all honesty, things have really cleared up,” said Crudo, a 26-year-old Seattle University student.

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Comments | Topics: crime, downtown seattle, seattle police

November 14, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Why OPA director Pierce Murphy could help reform Seattle police

If Seattle police really want to restore public trust, Pierce Murphy is a good guy to help them get there.

Pierce Murphy, director of the Seattle Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

Pierce Murphy, director of the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

Murphy, the new director of the Office of Professional Accountability, is acting swiftly to assert his division’s independence from the Seattle Police Department. His office investigates complaints about police misconduct.

The former community ombudsman for Boise relocated just four months ago. Already, he has moved OPA’s operations outside of SPD headquarters and created a more welcome environment for visitors, according to this Seattle Times news story by Mike Carter and Steve Miletich. He also plans to hold regular public office hours and separate his division’s website from the police department’s.

During a meeting this week with the editorial board, Murphy said he wants to strengthen the division’s independence in order to provide better oversight, improve accessibility for citizens and promote transparency in the process. All good things considering the department is under federal supervision because of its past use of excessive force.

Fortunately for Seattle, he’s not all talk.

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Comments | Topics: boise, office of performance accountability, pierce murphy

March 9, 2013 at 6:20 AM

Seattle Police blogger Jonah Spangenthal-Lee honored by Coalition for Open Government

Jonah Spangethal-Lee, the Seattle Police Department’s blogger-in-residence, is being honored at Saturday’s Washington Coalition for Open Government convention for his witty pursuit of government transparency. A former crime journalist, Spangenthal-Lee energized the SPD blog with posts such as “Marijwhatnow,” the Seattle Police’s guide to now-legal marijuana. The Coalition is applauding his approach, which he summed…

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Comments | Topics: seattle police, washington coalition for open government