Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn gathered with top Seattle police brass this morning to update the progress in the city’s “20/20″ policing plan.
The “20/20″ plan is aimed at overhauling the Police Department after a Department of Justice investigation found officers had used excessive force and displayed evidence of biased policing. Unveiled in March, the plan calls for 20 initiatives over 20 months. McGinn has touted the plan for change, saying it would address Justice Department concerns while likely staying within the existing police budget.
The Police Department is under federal oversight after reaching a settlement with the Department of Justice.
“We are about halfway through our timeline for reforming the Seattle Police Department in 20 months, and significant progress has been made,” McGinn said this morning. “I encourage the public to visit seattle.gov/spd2020 to learn more about our changes to recruitment, training, transparency, community outreach, use of data in policing and much more.”
Among the highlights cited this morning by McGinn:
– The city hopes to hire 85 new officers this year. (For more information on the department’s hiring efforts, click here.)
– The SPD now has a Force Review Board, designed on the model of the Firearms Review Board. It meets each week to review every use of force by every Seattle officer and draw conclusions about whether the use of force was handled correctly. The department also has a Force Investigation Team to respond and investigate at the scene of a use-of-force incident.
– The department now has a fulltime Race and Social Justice Initiative program coordinator.
– By the end of the year, all sworn and civilian officers will take part in in race training titled, ”Race: The Power of an Illusion.”
– SPD is working with tribes across Washington, including the Lummi Nation and Tulalip Tribes, to develop specific training for officers on issues affecting Native-American populations.
– The department last year launched Tweets by Beat, an interactive 911 crime map with real-time updates, and precinct specific webpages are coming soon.
McGinn has said that the “20/20″ plan represents a broad effort that goes beyond the changes sought by federal attorneys. Some initiatives directly address issues raised in the Justice Department report: reducing police escalation of low-level incidents into violent incidents; having specific guidelines for reporting the use of force; managing public demonstrations; educating officers on when and how they can stop to question or search citizens; and ensuring that front-line supervisors are doing their job. It also calls on officers, for the first time, to sign a code of ethics.