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Chief O’Toole Responds to Reports of an FBI/OPA Investigation Into Secondary Employment

I’m writing to address recent media reports of an FBI/OPA investigation.

Last April, I was made aware of serious allegations against a small number of Seattle Police officers relating to management of secondary employment.   Given the nature of the allegations, I immediately contacted the OPA Director and the Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI Seattle Field Office. We met shortly thereafter and agreed that an investigation would be launched.

Although it would be entirely inappropriate for me to share facts specific to an ongoing inquiry, I want to emphasize, as I have consistently, that we take all allegations against SPD personnel very seriously.  On those fortunately few occasions where criminal activity is alleged, we routinely work with our law enforcement partners to ensure investigations are conducted thoroughly and fairly. When investigations are completed we are transparent with results and hold personnel accountable when charges are sustained.  We owe that to both our community and also to members of our department whose reputations and integrity should not be impugned by the actions of others.

Apart from and prior to receiving these allegations, SPD managers have long identified secondary employment as a significant risk when reviewing department business practices. While acknowledging that the business needs of our community often require the engagement of SPD officers off-duty, current practice limits SPD’s visibility into the management, assignment, and performance of this work.  The Department is renewing its request to City partners to assist in developing systems and legislation to allow the Department to address and mitigate identified concerns.