Chief O’Toole On De-Escalation And Reform

This weekend, I became aware of a video in a New York Times article that showed officers in a de-escalation training session having a spirited discussion.

I referred the incident to OPA to determine if the use of force incident referred to in the video was reported and within policy. Comments made by training instructors will also be reviewed.

Reform is not easy, but I remain enthusiastic that we are at the forefront of police reform. Police agencies from around the country are coming to Seattle to learn from our successes and challenges. We are addressing decades of institutional culture and embedded practices. This change sometimes requires difficult conversations.

Already, Seattle is seeing good results from smart and safe tactical decisions made by officers who have gone through both CIT and de-escalation training. Officers and supervisors of all ranks have been passing on positive comments about the training and their learning outcomes.

Mayor Murray and I remain committed to reform, as do the vast majority of SPD members. The SPD will continue to be at the leading edge of police reform.