A Seattle police officer’s fatal shooting of a totem carver from the ethnic group First Nations on Aug. 30 prompted major changes in police protocol, says the Seattle Times. Mayor Mike McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz laid out an ambitious plan to alter the department’s culture fundamentally by requiring officers to deal more closely with the public and recognize differing backgrounds. “Our goal is to do it right 100 percent of the time,” pledged Diaz, who was named chief last month after serving as interim chief since last year.
Diaz announced a major shake-up in the duties of the department’s captains as part of an effort to bolster officer training and community relations. Acting Deputy Chief Nick Metz was promoted to a permanent position as one of two deputy chiefs and given the additional newly created duty of overseeing community relations. Nine captains will take on new roles to carry out what Diaz described as the priorities of fighting crime, reducing fear and a heightened emphasis on building community relations. Diaz is prepared to submit its complete investigation of the shooting of totem carver John T. Williams to two major police departments outside the region for peer review. The outside review would be completed before an inquest jury is impaneled to decide if officer Ian Birk’s use of lethal force was justified.