SPD accomplished much under the consent decree; improvements still needed

SEATTLE — Over the past decade, Seattle Police Department’s monitor said it has “accomplished a great deal” under the Department of Justice’s Consent Decree.

As Seattle communities have voiced that they wanted change in policing, the department “has changed its practice and performance across several critical functions,” according to a recent assessment.

A report from the monitor said the department and its officers have “embraced a new mission and values; worked to create a service-oriented culture; expanded knowledge and skills on crisis intervention, de-escalation, and less-lethal tactics; and committed to new policies and practices.”

When the Consent Decree first began in 2012, the monitor said communities could not access any “reliable” SPD data or outcomes, such as use of force, stops, detentions or other interactions, which were rarely tracked, if at all.

“Officers had inferior training and supervision on how to de-escalate volatile interactions and resolve incidents with people experiencing a mental health crisis,” according to the report.

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