The following statement is being released on behalf of Assistant Chief Jim Pugel, the SPD Interim Chief once Police Chief John Diaz retires at the end of May.
“In 1986 I was one of the participants in an official Seattle Police Department Training video that made light of homelessness. I regret my participation and have professionally apologized for my role in it.
I do so now publicly. I am truly sorry.
Even by 1980’s standards, the Seattle Police Department considered the video to be insensitive and inappropriate. All copies were ordered destroyed. A master copy was retained in our Video Unit.
We are releasing this video today not because we were asked to do so, but because I feel it is important to show where this department has been and where it is going.
I have already discussed this with Chief John Diaz, Mayor Mike McGinn, court monitor Merrick Bobb and several Seattle-based homeless advocacy organizations.
I believe in social justice. I have a track record that mirrors this. My support of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion and YouthCare are just recent examples. On my own and with my family, I’ve spent countless hours volunteering at downtown social service providers. This reflects both my personal and professional values.
As a police department, we have much work to do to strengthen our relationships in the community. Sometimes that means addressing an ugly piece of our history head on.”