Seattle and national police officials, academics from around the U.S., and community leaders identified improving trust between the police and residents as the most pressing issue they want to focus on as part of a continuing collaboration, reports the Seattle Times. “It’s really about putting theory into practice,” said Seattle Police Chief John Diaz. More than 40 participants discussed topics ranging from dealing with aggressive panhandlers and jaywalkers to broader topics that included the use of force, bias-free policing, and police accountability.
The talks came at a time when the Seattle Police Department is under federal oversight after reaching a settlement with the Department of Justice to curb excessive force and biased policing. Stephen Rice, an assistant professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Seattle University, called the consortium a “historic event” that will be noticed nationwide. Developing trust means recognizing that what happens during a “2 a.m. traffic stop does matter,” said Rice, who was joined by academics from Seattle University; the University of Washington; the University of Illinois, Chicago; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.; and the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the goal was to take adversity that has affected police departments and use it to develop better practices. Other police officials who attended included Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca; Portland Police Chief Mike Reese; and police Sgt. Renee Mitchell of Sacramento.