Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for October, 2012

Oct 31 2012

Councilmember Bruce Harrell’s statement on DOJ monitor appointment

My statement regarding the DOJ monitor appointment (issued 10/30/12):

SEATTLE – Today, U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a court order approving Merrick Bobb as the monitor, signifying a critical checkpoint in the DOJ settlement agreement.

“This marks a significant step toward ensuring strong compliance with the settlement agreement reached with the Department of Justice,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Technology and Civil Rights Committee. “I am confident Mr. Bobb will build strong relations with the Seattle community and our police department, negating any concern that he will be less than objective in his approach.”

On Monday, October 22, the Seattle City Council passed Resolution 31414, providing guidance to City Attorney Pete Holmes in filing the City’s recommendation of the Seattle Police Department Monitor. The City Council recommended Merrick Bobb, the nation’s leading expert in police accountability and police reforms, as the preferred monitor. Furthermore, the City Council passed Council Bill 117608 on October 22, establishing the Community Police Commission by ordinance. The 15-member community commission will review and make recommendations on use of force and biased policing policies.

Seattle will now move forward to advance the necessary reform policies. At the heart of this, the people of Seattle must see strong, unison leadership from elected officials by setting our differences aside to rebuild community trust and prioritizing long-lasting positive changes in the police department.

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Oct 22 2012

Seattle City Council requests City Attorney present SPD monitor candidate to court

Press Release issued on Monday, 10/22/12:

SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council passed Resolution 31414 this afternoon, continuing the City’s progress in meeting the terms of the consent decree agreed to in August with the United States Department of Justice. The resolution (adopted 8-1) provides guidance to City Attorney Pete Holmes in filing the City’s recommendation for a consent decree monitor, a condition required to be met by Fri., Oct. 26.

The resolution identifies police monitoring expert Merrick Bobb, a veteran of police reform efforts in King County, Los Angeles, Oakland, Milwaukee, Albuquerque and elsewhere, as the City of Seattle’s preferred monitor. Bobb founded the Police Assessment Resource Center and led the development of National Guidelines for Police Monitors.

Bobb was one of 23 applicants for the monitor position in Seattle. A staff team forwarded five names for interviews. The Mayor, City Attorney, police chief and command staff, city policy and budget staff and a sub-group of City Councilmembers interviewed four candidates after the fifth removed himself from consideration.

“Mr. Bobb is a leading expert in this field and is the most qualified to be the Monitor,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. “I am confident Mr. Bobb will build an unprecedented and long-lasting relationship between the community and the police department.”

“I believe Merrick Bobb will prove to be a strong and balanced monitor,” Council President Sally J. Clark said. “Our officers and our community deserve an expert monitor who will be present, who will listen and who will help Seattle make the gains in effectiveness and accountability I know we all want.”

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Oct 22 2012

Seattle City Council passes ordinance to create Community Police Commission

Press Release issued on Monday, 10/22/12:

Legislation builds in assurance the Community will have meaningful input in DOJ Agreement

SEATTLE – Through Council’s independent authority to establish the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreement’s Community Police Commission (CPC) by ordinance, the Seattle City Council voted today (9-0) to formally create the Commission (Council Bill 117608).

The Community Police Commission is established to leverage the ideas, talent, experience, and expertise of the community. The Commission’s primary focus will be to review and make recommendations on policies related to use of force and biased policing.

The Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee worked directly with community members to write an ordinance that would create an empowered commission community members have long wanted. This inclusive legislation is critical in demonstrating the City’s commitment to providing effective and constitutional policing for all of Seattle’s residents.

The legislation, in conjunction with Executive Order 02-2012, will implement the provision for creating a Community Police Commission as part of the settlement agreement and memorandum of understanding between the United States Department of Justice and the City of Seattle approved in Federal Court on August 30, 2012.

“This is a time when building trust between the Police Department, the Office of Professional Accountability and the public is a priority and we must demonstrate this by our action; not simply our talk,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Public Safety Committee Chair. “This ordinance demonstrates that the Council takes seriously its obligations to listen to the public faithfully and effectuate positive police reform.”

“The establishment of the Community Police Commission is an important first step in reforming the practices and perception of our police department. I believe the CPC is an opportunity to gain the full faith and trust of the people of Seattle for the reforms we need to bring about and I look forward to supporting the work of the CPC in any way I can,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

“The Community Police Commission will provide our citizens with a seat at the table in reforming our police department. I expect it will represent our city’s ethnic diversity, and involve those who have direct interactions with our police, as well as professionals practicing in the justice system,” said Councilmember Nick Licata.

The Community Police Commission will consist of 15 members. All 15 members will be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. There will be one member from the Seattle Police Officers Guild and one member from the Seattle Police Management Association. The remaining 13 members will be selected from applicants who reside or work in Seattle and will include residents from each of the five geographic police precincts. It is the City’s goal to select 13 members representative of Seattle’s diverse population by selecting equally qualified members from all communities including minority, ethnic, and faith communities, student and youth organizations, and any other community organizations reflecting the overall population demographic of Seattle residents.

To review the applicant selection criteria and to apply online, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/policecommission

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Oct 10 2012

Public Safety Committee to vote on DOJ agreement’s Community Police Commission

Media Advisory issued on Wednesday, 10/10/12:

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, will introduce and discuss legislation to establish the Community Police Commission by City ordinance this Thursday. The Department of Justice (DOJ) Settlement Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) called for the creation of the Community Police Commission, a community board charged with reviewing and providing recommendations on areas of police reform. The Community Police Commission created by this Ordinance is intended to create an empowered commission that community members have long wanted.

The Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee worked directly with community members to write this ordinance. This inclusive legislation is critical in demonstrating the City’s commitment to providing effective and constitutional policing for all of Seattle’s residents.

“This is a time when the building of trust between the Police Department, the Office of Professional Accountability and the public is a priority and we must demonstrate this by our action; not simply our talk,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “This ordinance demonstrates that the Council takes seriously its obligations to serve the public faithfully and effectuate positive change.”

WHAT: Special Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Council Chambers, Second floor Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Seattle 98104

WHO: Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien

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Oct 09 2012

Councilmember Bruce Harrell’s statement on OPA Director’s decision to not seek a third term

My statement regarding the OPA Director’s decision to not seek a third term (issued 10/09/12):

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, released the following statement regarding today’s decision by the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Director Kathryn Olson to not seek a third term:

“I thank Kathryn for her five years of dedicated service and the positive strides she helped make in police accountability and transparency.

“The Public Safety Committee was in the middle of the confirmation process and conducting significant outreach with community members, civil rights organizations, law organizations and the police department to assist in the process of deciding whether or not to confirm the OPA Director. I did anticipate a thorough and intense process given the scrutiny that the police department has gone through. Irrespective of her decision, this is a time when the building of trust between the Police Department, the Office of Professional Accountability and the public is a priority.

“I urge the Mayor to immediately begin the process of identifying the next OPA Director through a national search and to allow for a thorough public review and Council consideration before March 2013.”

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