Five months after the U.S. Department of Justice found a “pattern and practice” of excessive force by Seattle police, city officials face a deadline next week to reply to proposed remedies that sources tell the Seattle Times include increased supervision by sergeants and a court-appointed monitor with sweeping powers. Federal attorneys, who have told the city they will file a lawsuit in early June if there is no agreement on the fixes by then, insist on a mutually agreed-upon consent decree that would spell out the changes and provide a timetable, sources say.
The monitor, who one source described as a “shadow chief,” would answer only to a federal judge overseeing the agreement. The proposed consent decree also calls on the department to increase the number of sergeants, the department’s first-line supervisors, to a ratio of one sergeant for every six street officers. With the current ratio at roughly one to eight, the change would likely require the city to hire more police to fill the ranks. Mayor Mike McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz have drafted and are implementing a plan called “20/20” — 20 initiatives in 20 months.