Seattle Police Guild: We’re ready to move on from federal consent decree

May 11, 2020, 12:57 PM | Updated: 2:16 pm
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(KIRO Radio, Matt Pitman)
(KIRO Radio, Matt Pitman)

The City of Seattle and the U.S. Department of Justice have asked a federal judge in Seattle to find that the Settle Police Department has met the requirements for its two-year period under the consent decree. They think it should be removed, and so does Seattle Police Officers Guild president Mike Solan.

“We put the work in, our membership has gone through the overall DOJ oversights in terms of constitutional policing, where they deem that was necessary for the city of Seattle on the Seattle Police Department,” Solan said on The Jason Rantz Show.

“We’re happy members did all the hard work, and it is time to move on.”

In a recent statement, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said: “This department is a different place than it was nearly a decade ago. The SPD has become a national leader in de-escalation, our response to people in crisis, and internal and external oversight of policies and practices.”

Likewise, Solan believes the training steps have been met by the force, and outlined the work they had to put in.

“We had the training laid out via the Department of Justice. They wanted an overhaul of use of force policies, investigations, training as far as use of force policies, community policing, community oversights — we went through all those hoops,” he said.

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“We’re ready to move forward with the reforms that have been put forth in the department.”

As Jason noted, there’s always this chatter about the culture of the SPD. How has the culture changed over the course of the last several years?

“Well, the culture is professionalism,” Solan said. “We maintain a high level of professionalism. SPOG members do on a daily basis when they engage the community, … it’s a community first organization where we’re here to serve.”

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What it would mean for officers to be able to police without having this hanging over their head the entire time?

“I think you would see a morale boost where there wouldn’t be this cloud hanging over us of, ‘Are we in compliance, are we out of compliance?’ Now, we can effectively go about our profession without the threat of civilian monitoring, which is financially impactful to the community at large.”

“And the Department of Justice does not see a need any more for us to be doing the consent degree oversight,” Solan said. “… I think you might see a spike in getting actual numbers for recruiting and retaining members because there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Seattle Police Guild: We’re ready to move on from federal consent decree