A former federal monitor for Seattle’s consent decree issued a memorandum this week, calling on the city’s police department to drastically overhaul its crowd control training and policies.
‘May take a while’ before SPD is ready to end consent decree
Merrick Bobb resigned from his role as monitor after eight years, saying that it was time to move on. Over that period, he almost led the city of Seattle and the SPD through the final chapter of the consent decree, before the effort was derailed by allegations of police conduct at protests beginning in May.
Now no longer in that role, Bobb issued a thorough summary addressed to Mayor Jenny Durkan, City Council, the City Attorney’s Office, and the DOH, outlining what he thinks SPD should do to improve the way it handles protests and riots.
Bobb pointed to what he calls “an apparent absence of an overall strategic plan” from SPD in managing escalating situations at demonstrations over the summer.
“Captains, lieutenants, and sergeants did not appear to have a clear sense of what to do, and rank-and-file officers, it seemed, were left to their own devices to figure out ad hoc what to do,” he detailed in his memorandum.
Bobb proposes SPD create a “new Tactical Unit,” which “should come up with strategies, educational and training materials, and levels of accountability up the chain of command in any instance.” That unit would also run tabletop exercises with a variety of scenarios to prepare commanders and officers for what to expect during protests.
Bobb also cited