Learn to trust the Cola: Earlier today, we reported that members of the city council (Tim Burgess, Sally Clark, and Sally Bagshaw) were planning to send a letter to the two police unions, SPD police chief John Diaz, and Mayor Mike McGinn asking the police department to, among other things, initiate mandatory steroid (and other drug) testing every time an officer is involved in a use of force.
The letter went out a few minutes ago. "Seattle would not be the first city to require this testing. Just this month, the City of Portland adopted mandatory drug and alcohol testing for its officers. Police agencies in Albuquerque, Boston, Dallas, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, and others have mandatory testing programs."
The council members also request that the department take several other concrete actions to increase accountability and improve public trust in the police department.
Develop a countywide protocol for investigating officer-involved deaths, a proposal King County sheriff Sue Rahr and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg support;
Allow observers, including a union representative of the officer being investigated, to be present at and comment on the deliberations of the city's Firearms Review Board, which ruled that Officer Ian Birk's shooting of John T. Williams was unjustified earlier this month;
Review and enhance the department's hiring and training standards, strengthening the role of first-line supervisors and prioritizing training in de-escalation methods;
Require the Office of Professional Accountability (the office that investigates police-misconduct charges) to include in its monthly reports a summary of each misconduct case it upheld, including the nature of the case and what disciplinary measures were taken;
Refer misconduct cases that could result in prosecution to the King County prosecutor immediately;
Use in-car videos as a tool for training officers;
Enact a policy of mandatory rotation, moving officers and detectives into new duties on a predetermined schedule so that they can learn new skills;
Keep misconduct complaint records for a much longer period---seven years after an employee leaves the department, as opposed to the end of the year a case is closed, as required by the current policy;
Give preference in hiring to officer candidates with a college or post-college degree;
and require special training for police recruits who are coming to the department from the military.
It's unclear how many of these requests would be subject to the collective bargaining process, which is ongoing; this afternoon, Burgess wouldn't speculate, saying only that "these are important questions and we want to get it right."
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