Addressing concerns raised by the U.S. Department of Justice, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz ordered a “complete revamp” of how the Police Department develops its “professional standards and expectations” for officers and has created two new panels to oversee the use of force, the Seattle Times reports. The Police Department is conducting a “top-to-bottom review and rewrite” of its policies and procedures and invited the Justice Department to assist in that effort, Mayor Mike McGinn said.
The sweeping moves, eight months after the Justice Department launched a civil-rights investigation into allegations that Seattle police have used excessive force and engaged in biased policing against minorities, appears to be a pre-emptive strike in anticipation of federal findings. McGinng told the Justice Department the city is engaging in a “more comprehensive approach to moving SPD forward and increasing public trust.” Included is a new “Force Review Board” and a “Force Investigative Team” within the department. The department already has a Firearms Review Board that determines whether shootings by officers are justified.