Virtual Meeting Highlights
There were 47 participants in the meeting - including commissioners and staff. There was no time for public comment. Everyone was respectful, allowed to speak and express diverse opinions, etc.
Guests included the new DOJ Monitor Antonio Oftelie, Deputy Monitor Monisha Harrell and Ron Ward, Associate Monitor who were present to provide overview and answer questions. Also, Acting Chief Diaz presented and answered questions.
DOJ/Monitor/City Council/Mayor Updates
DOJ: No update
Monitor: Representatives presented (see below)
Council: No update, no representative present.
Mayor: No update, no representative present.
Presentation by Monitor Representatives
The new DOJ Monitoring team has embarked on a listening tour with partners including OIG, OPA, SC Council, Mayor’s Office and CPC. Monitor is focusing on 3 general areas:
Further discussion ensued following comments made by Reverend Walden and others highlighting that the city is out of compliance and that the new monitor team should be emphasizing SPD officer accountability which is clearly lacking given the issues with crowd control and officer shootings.
Rev. Walden and others noted that policies minimizing accountability put in place with the SPOG 2017 contract have not been fixed and that the crowd management policies from 2015/16 have not been put in place. Other questions such as was the old policy not effective, was it even put in place, were officers adequately trained need to be answered.
Several people emphasized the need for the CPC to be more involved and play a greater role. This was acknowledged and confirmed by the monitor team.
Rev. Walden also brought up the policy on take-down for officers. She is interested in knowing what the system has done to train officers in de-escalation techniques. She noted that every time there is a shooting by an officer – accountability for officers is back to square one.
In response to these and other concerns, the monitor team clearly stated that the new monitor team has been brought in due to this non-compliance. Assessing and improving accountability is the new work. They will look at what has worked and what has not and will use recent incidents as a stress test of sorts of accountability policies already in place. This will permit them to look at all systems from a theoretical and practical perspective. It could be that the system is broken. The consensus appeared to be that the CPC has not been an integral enough part of the oversight.
Concerns were also raised about OIG’s ability to monitor investigations – the thought being that they were only monitoring closed cases. Lisa Judge from OIG clarified that their auditors are auditing OPA open cases.
The monitor team also noted that they have minimal control over the SPOG contract and cannot mandate that specific items be included.
Discussion with Acting SPD Police Chief Diaz.
Chief Diaz is committed to having a strong working relationship with the CPC. He mentioned that there are 2 representatives from SPD on the commission. He looks forward to co-designing community-based alternatives saying that “we can’t arrest our way out of these issues” and that “he prioritizes the sanctity of human life”. He stated that officers are committed to reinventing how they engage with people in the community. He noted it is a challenge for everyone, funding is a concern. He has been reducing expenses including overtime. He shares a common goal with the CPC regarding officer’s wellness and morale and he is open to conversations about how to better that.
Diaz was asked several questions. Questions and responses consolidated below:
1. How is the exodus of police officers from SPD affecting the Department and services?
Chief Diaz noted that his goal was to move 100 officers out of special assignments and onto patrol. That is underway but made more difficult by officers leaving. Morale is low partially because officers are being pulled to cover protests and riots in and there are times when there are not enough officers on the street. He feels that is getting better as he is identified a group that can serve wherever needed in the city. Also working on more time off for officers via 4 days on, 3 days off schedule. He believes many of the departing officers transferring to another law enforcement agency began the process in June/July and since it takes a few months for the transfer to happen, we are seeing more officers leave at once then will in the future.
2. What is happening to address incidence such as the officer rolling bike over person’s neck? How is SPD changing culture?
SPD responded to the incident involving the bicycle within an hour. OPA and OIG are involved. These types of incidences are taken very seriously.
In terms of changing culture – a volunteer community response group is now up and running. OPA is doing more training, for instance 100 officers were brought together on Wednesday for training. Duty to intervene is being emphasized in training. He does not hesitate to terminate people. He has a box on his desk where terminated officers must place their badges and guns. It was noted later in the discussion by Officer Mullins that the practice drives home the seriousness of these incidents to the rank and file as word spreads.
3. What is happening regarding the CPC’s recommendations regarding crowd control? Why are orders to disperse being issued? How are you protecting First Amendment rights given that you are making arrests and the nature of the weapons being employed? How do officers protect themselves?
SPD is collecting data and looking at policies and making immediate and long-term recommendations regarding crowd control and use of weapons. They are training officers on protection of free speech. No tactical weapons have been used, no blast balls since the summer, they are using some level of OC spray when necessary. They are arresting people for property damage; they also must protect other citizens. SPD and officers must figure out ways to separate out those that are intent on violence. Can the community weed people out? SPD is contacting other agencies for ideas.
4. What is your vision for the future in for the role of the CPC? (This question began with an acknowledgement that Chief Diaz is a good human.)
Chief Diaz feels that relationships between officers and the community are very important and moving officers back into the community is a tactic he is employing to create those relationships, He wants officers to be engaged and be a part of the community they serve. It will take around 6 months to establish that, he has an advisory council of assistant Chiefs overseeing the plan. He mentioned that they have been doing roll calls in the community – this was an idea initiated by officers. One major issue facing the communities and the police is youth violence – it is not just a police issue.
5. What does accountability look like to you and who holds you accountable?
Diaz responded that everyone holds him accountable. He said he has had difficult discussions; he has had to terminate people and discipline people as well as reward. He must do the right thing, he will be active and engaged in the community, he said the community drives the expectations of his position.
Governance Committee: The revised CPC by laws are with the City Attorney’s Office Committee for review. They are still working on a Request for Proposals for a Strategic Plan for CPC. The search process for the CPC execute director was rolled out.
Community Outreach Committee: At the last meeting there were 4 commissioners and 19 community members. They are looking a different means to reach out.
Defund Workgroup: On hold, Commissioner not at CPC meeting. Commissioner will reach out to group.
Legislative and Accountability Committee: Committee members meeting with the City Attorney’s Office to see if the CPC can pursue their own legislative agenda, separate from the City.
Brief discussion about vacancies on CPC. Staff said they are reaching out via social media, making a video and linking to the application process on the CPC website.
Members Present: Douglas Wagoner, Joseph Seia, Reverend Harriet Walden (who had to leave after a couple of minutes), Reverend Aaron Williams, Suzette Dickerson, La Rond Baker, Prachi Dave, Erin Goodman, Mark Mullens and Alina Santillan.
Virtual Meeting Highlights
The Commissioners were always courteous with one another. 10). After the Land Acknowledgement, attendance was taken and there was a quorum. The agenda for the meeting was approved as were the minutes for the October 7th meeting.
There was no public input but there was an action item indicating some upcoming meetings with invited members of the public.
Commissioners had been asked to reach out to the community for comments on the current situation in Seattle. Youth groups have been invited to talk to the CPC, and Alina Santillan was trying to determine a time that students would be able to meet with the Commission without interfering with their school day. The same was true of business owners in the affected communities. Erin Goodman was also trying to determine times that would work for them. If there were questions about the budget that lingered after last week’s presentation by the analyst of the SPD budget from the Mayor’s Office, Commissioners were urged to pass them forward to Brandy Grant who would pass them on to the Mayor’s Office.
DOJ/Monitor/City Council/Mayor Updates
There were no updates from the DOJ or the Monitor’s Office.
Newell Aldrich from the City Council said that budget meetings would be held from October 15-21st. They would be identifying issues for discussion and the SPD discussion would be held on 2:00 p.m. on October 20th.
There were no updates from the Mayor’s Office.
There are outstanding Commission seats that need to be filled. They want to consider further applications, and they mentioned that it would be helpful if some Commissioners met with staff to discuss what motivated them to join the CPC and what kind of satisfaction they derived from their service. Reverend Walden, Reverend Williams and Erin Goodman volunteered to meet with staff.
There was discussion of a revision of the bylaws and strategic plan. The search for an Executive Director was also progressing, and it was reported that they were close to having a candidate whose profile they could share.
Defund Working Group
CPC staff member Shayleen Morris and Prachi Dave gave a presentation about considerations in supporting Decriminalize Seattle. They reviewed the CPC discussions over the past few weeks to see if there was a basis for approving the recommendations of Decriminalize Seattle. Issues they considered included
Douglas Wagoner: Don't CPC and OIG already provide oversight of OPA?
The group discussed that it was a good question, and that they should rely on structures already in place. OIG is mandated to provide oversight of OPA. A vote will take place next week on whether to support Decriminalize Seattle.
Another question was asked regarding where SPD should be deployed, and whether issues with SPD were a result of staffing or mismanagement.
Erin Goodman: Suggested getting a report from Police Chief to learn how officers are moved around.
Mark Mullins: Explained that South Precinct officers had been deployed to the North for demonstration prevention, then they returned to the South once there was a shooting or other issue.
Alina Santillan: Police do not prevent crime. What do we mean by public safety practices? It depends where our fear lies. Will more officers prevent crime?
Mark Mullins responded: Some kinds of officers do not, but if they get to know the neighborhood and the people there, then they do prevent crime.
Alina Santillan: What do we mean by safety or public safety? Can we have a deep conversation on that?
Prachi Dave: Asked about a timeline and whether they needed to discuss that prior to making decisions.
La Rond Baker: CPC staff have been helping coordinate with other coalitions and community organizations. There is a CPC meeting with the City Attorney regarding the CPC's authority as well as a strategy discussion meeting on Friday.
Agenda for Next Week:
Prachi Dave: Commissioners who are reaching out, can we meet with community members?
Alina Santillan: Meet after school or after 5:30 for the youth.
Business owners should also be involved in the process, and could fit them into the regular meeting.
Members Present: Douglas Wagoner, Rev. Harriet Walden, Rev. Aaron Williams, Suzette Dickerson, La Rond Baker, Prachi Dave, Scott Bachler, Colleen Echohawk, Erin Goodman, Esther Lucero, Mark Mullens, Alina Santillan, Emma Catague
Virtual Meeting Highlights:
There was no public input, although a call was put out again for Commissioners to contact at least one member of the public to get their opinions on the budget.
SPD Budget Update
The City Council Office reported that on October 15-21st there would be budget meetings when the Council’s proposals will be seen. The Mayor’s Office said that now we have her budget proposal, and there was a long report by Kara Main-Hester from the Mayor’s Office. She is the analyst for the sections of the Mayor’s budget that deal with CPC, SPD, etc.
This was a long report showing the timeline on rebalancing the 2020 budget in regards to the pandemic, and the proposed 2021 budget, which is now in the Counseling phase. They are looking for community engagement and a functional review.
The Mayor’s position is that in the General Fund Appropriation, the SPD, which got $407 million in 2020, reduced to $392 in the rebalancing, would get $357 million in 2021. She showed the Full Time Equivalent employees would go from 2,187 in 2020 to 1,853. HSD would be moved from SPD. The bulk of parking enforcing would be removed from SPD, as would 911. A question was asked about the Navigation Team, and she said she would get back to us with the information.
The most significant change would be the $22.4 million saved: 47 FTE sworn officers for the SPD. They would be reduced from 14, 097 to 14,000, for a saving of $15.6 million. They would cut funding for 40 civilian position, and cut overtime for selected events and place emphasis on patrols.
Main-Hester was asked if they took into account the 200 officers who have already resigned. No, and there was some back and forth about the numbers. There was a long discussion of how long it took to replace officers who have left, since they have to be trained, and that it was much faster to rehire already trained officers.
Questions were asked about the effect on diversity if we stop recruiting. She noted that out-of-order layoffs were very difficult to bring about legally. There were questions about cuts in administration and oversight, and she noted that those were influenced by the Consent Decree.
As for the number of Police Officers per population: We are in the median of the graph. Main-Hester noted that the more Officers you send into an event, the less violence you have, the less police misconduct.
Questions were asked about unsolved cases and since the shootings are high in the South End, are there enough people investigating them. She answered that homicides have been given priority in the goals.
Transfers out of the SPD would be the Department of 911. Its name change will be the Seattle Emergency Communication Center.
There were no DOJ updates. The Monitor Antonio Oftelie attended the meeting along with Ron Ward from his office and Monisha Harrell, the new Deputy Monitor. They were introduced to the Commission later in the meeting. Mr. Oftelie said he was looking forward to working with the CPC.
Has upcoming meeting with City Attorney this Friday for review of bylaws.
Community Engagement Specialist Nick Christian reported that the next meeting on Community Engagement is in two weeks.
Esther Lucero stated the Workgroup was tackling pilot projects, including a pool of providers to support 911 operators, increasing funding to Human Services, and exploring civilian positions within SPD.
Civilian Training for OPA
Mark Mullins: What type of training civilians would get to participate in the Office of Police Accountability (OPA). He suggested looking at what other cities are doing in terms of training. To understand the investigations, they would need to go through the Police Academy.
Rev. Williams: Disagreed. He stated civilians need to understand the training, but not go through it themselves.
Rev. Walden: Suggested interviewing the civilians already on the OPA to learn what training they receive now.
Alina Santillan: Civilians are not allowed to investigate police complaints. He went to the Police Academy and stated it was very complex. Use of force should be the last option, or when you feel threatened.
Douglas Wagoner: It's best to look at the training that already exists. The current system accounts for all these parameters.
Rev. Walden: The officers need to be trained to the new policies. The Monitor team could make sure there is no lag time.
Emma Catague: Anti-oppression lenses should be implemented. Diversity must be emphasized to make sure all voices are heard. Funding is needed to sustain the changes.
Douglas Waggoner: We need to understand how budget cuts will affect community.
Erin Goodman: Concerns about staffing levels. Rough nights with shooting victims, hit-and-runs, etc. Officers have been responding from afar. We need staffing to be able to cope.
Mark Mullins: Agrees and gave examples.
Rev. Williams: Cited CM Lewis' reliance on CAHOOTS model in Oregon, noting money must be redirected to mental health workers. Police have too many things on their plates. We have to give some of the police money to mental health providers. We are asking police to be all things to all people.
Erin Goodman and Rev. Walden: Bring in some small business owners to hear from them.
Douglas Wagoner: Proposed hearing from someone about COVID, homelessness, and vulnerable populations that trickle down to police, from protesters who are still on the streets, effect of budget cuts on domestic violence victims and survivors, and from young people around the shootings.
Virtual Meeting Highlights:
There were 35 participants in the meeting - including commissioners and staff. No formal time for public comment, but one of the commissioners did response to a chat request. Everyone was respectful, allowed to speak and express diverse opinions, etc. An executive branch budget analyst presented on the mayor’s proposed 2021 budget for SPD. The presentation was clear and all were polite. The presenter accommodated all questions.
New DOJ Monitor Antonio Oftelie was present together with Monisha Harrell who has been appointed as Deputy Monitor. Oftelie expressed their commitment to working with the CPC.
Council will be holding budget meetings Oct. 15 through 21. Council members can bring forward items for discussion, so commissioners are encouraged to reach out and provide input as the councilmembers are deliberating.
CPC received a presentation on the Mayor’s proposed 2021 SPD’ budget from Kara Main-Hester, the budget analyst for SPD’s budget. Here are some highlights (also see Power Point file, below):
Governing Committee: Erin Goodman reported that committee that the City Attorney’s Office is reviewing the revised, proposed CPC by-laws. Committee still working on a Request for Proposals for a Strategic Plan for CPC. Also, a small group met with a search firm regarding an executive director search and they hope to report back on that next week.
Community Outreach: Commissioner said he will update the CPC soon. Next meeting is in 2 weeks.
Defund Workgroup: Esther Lucero, continued the process of collecting information from CPC members who did not provide input at the last meeting. Esther summarized recommendations gathered to date from the CPC.
Commissioners Responses - Summary of views/thoughts, continued…
Officer Mullins (SPD) revisited his question, re training for civilian investigators. Group responded with ideas:
Douglas Wagoner (Communications Lead at the Office of Health and Safe Communities in the Washington State Department of Health) raised an issue about ongoing strategy.
Rev. Williams: Main concern is that funding be directed toward mental health services and that police stick to policing.
In closing Esther Lucero said that the Defund Workgroup will flesh out recommendations and provide to everyone next week, and hopefully commissioners can then vote.
Legislative Committee: Committee is doing a deeper dive into what other priorities CPC can support in addition to those recommendations provided to OIR. Rec’s have been added to the CPC website.
Erin Goodman mentioned that there were several emergencies (shootings and car accidents) requiring a police response in the south end last weekend and that police were responding from all over Seattle. Officer Mullins noted that it is important as the CPC looks at defunding that the that attention is paid to the need for enough officers to guarantee an adequate response.
Reverend Williams asked about CPC membership and it was noted that there are currently 5 vacancies. People can apply online.
Agenda items for future meetings: