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Mayor, Department of Justice announce agreements to implement police department reforms

Settlement Agreement to be overseen by federal monitor, Memorandum of Understanding to create Community Police Commission to help guide reforms moving forward

Today Mayor Mike McGinn and Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez announced court approved and enforceable agreements to address community concerns and build a greater police force in Seattle. These agreements include partnerships with the community to ensure that reforms are successful and lasting. Based on concerns heard from the public, Mayor McGinn had the following criteria during negotiaions: that reforms would be effective, meet public safety needs, and work within the City’s budget. The agreements negotiated with the Department of Justice meet those criteria. Further, reforms detailed in the agreements with the Department of Justice (DOJ) were informed by the policies outlined by the City’s broader reform agenda, SPD 20/20: Vision for the Future.

“The City and the Department of Justice are moving forward together to implement specific and important reforms in our police department, while ensuring that we are supporting the highest possible level of public safety,” said McGinn. “My office has had many meetings with the Department of Justice, community leaders, public safety professionals, police officers and others to ensure that we could forge a reform plan that works. In our work with the Department of Justice, we placed a high priority on implementing an agreement that would continue to engage the public as the police department works with a federal monitor to adopt the court-enforceable reforms detailed by the settlement agreement. The City will continue to implement the reforms outlined in our SPD 20/20 plan, an effort that is broader in scope than our work with the Department of Justice and is in response to what we have heard from the community.”

“I thank Assistant  Attorney General Thomas Perez, Chief of Special Litigation Jonathan Smith, the U.S. Attorney and our mediator for their good-faith commitment to working with my office to craft an agreement with the Department of Justice that recognizes Seattle’s unique challenges and that follows our values,” McGinn continued. “With their support, we negotiated in good faith to ensure that our agreement protected public safety, responded to community concerns, aligned with Seattle values and addressed the unique challenges in our city. Today’s agreement is significantly different from either party’s opening proposals, reflecting the hard work to negotiate a thoughtful agreement.”

“This agreement provides a blueprint for reform with innovative methods for ensuring community engagement and sustainability,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the city, Mayor McGinn, the Seattle Police Department and the community to ensure that effective and constitutional policing takes place in Seattle.”

The Mayor’s Office and the Police Deparment will continue to implement the reforms outlined in SPD 20/20: A Vision for the Future. That work will include input from the Community Police Commision and the specific reforms detailed in the settlement agreement.

Timeline moving forward, beginning upon the adoption of the agreements by the court:

  • 60 days: Monitor chosen jointly by City and DOJ
  • 60 days: SPD develops a schedule to prioritize development and implementation of policies
  • 90 days: Mayor issues Executive Order to create Community Policing Commission
  • Three years: Expected term of the Memorandum of Understanding,
  • Five years: Expected term of Settlement Agreement, although the City may petition the court to end agreement earlier if there have been two years of compliance.

The City and the DOJ anticipate that SPD will be in full compliance with the agreement within five years. The City may ask the court to terminate the agreement prior to that date if the City and SPD have been in full and effective compliance with the agreement for two years.

The agreements will be made available at

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