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Top cops from major U.S. cities in Seattle to meet on reforms

Police chiefs from several major U.S. cities, including Austin, Portland and Milwaukee, are in Seattle this week to aid the police department with reforms in what was billed as “A Consortium for a New Policing Paradigm.”

In simpler terms, they will help the Seattle Police Department get back on track.

The two-day meeting at Seattle’s Columbia Tower is part of the SPD 20/20 plan, which was released in March 2012 after a Department of Justice investigation found officers here have a pattern or practice of using excessive force.

The plan put forward 20 separate reforms to be rolled out over a 20-month period, with the meeting this week fulfilling number 15 on the list: “Work with Major City Police Departments to Develop Best Practices.”

“Our city is not unlike other cities that really face challenges in how do we make sure that we have trust and the confidence of the community in our police tactics,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn told reporters at the meeting Monday.

McGinn was joined by Seattle Police Chief John Diaz.

“We want to really take on issues that we can not only look at here in this city, but these are issues that will transcend across the rest of the country,” Diaz said.

The chiefs will be joined by academic partners, community leaders and police practitioners to “deliberate over use of force, bias free policing and police accountability,” according to a police department spokesperson.

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