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Chief Best’s Statement on SPD’s Full and Effective Compliance With the Consent Decree

I am thrilled to announce that this afternoon at 3:00, the federal court overseeing our reforms entered an order finding the Seattle Police Department in full and effective compliance with all core areas of the Consent Decree.  To all of you who have worked so hard, my deep, heartfelt congratulations, appreciation, and admiration for all you have done and continue to do.

Make no mistake: this order reflects the hard work of many, but none more so than the men and women who work every day, under intense scrutiny, to serve and protect this City. You are on the front lines of poverty, of crisis, of homelessness, and all the tragedy and unpredictability inherent in the profession of policing.  At the same time, you have forged deep connections with the community you serve, as evidenced not only by their increased trust in our work but in the many, many commendations, comments, and thank you notes we receive daily.  Underlying all the metrics and statistics that have been critically examined over the past five years is the core of what makes this department great: the compassion of our officers and their deep commitment to this City.  Thank you, so much, for all you do.

I also want to acknowledge the hard work of the leaders of this department who have worked to ensure that the policies, the training, and our critical review of core areas of the Consent Decree have been exceptional. They have achieved the true goal of making sure these policies and trainings are carried out in the field.  In particular, I want to thank Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey, Assistant Chiefs Lesley Cordner and Steve Wilske, and Chief Legal Officer Rebecca Boatright. I would also like to acknowledge City Attorney Pete Holmes, Merrick Bobb and the Monitoring Team, the Department of Justice, the Community Police Commission and Judge James Robart for their guidance and support through this process.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the tremendous leadership of Chief O’Toole over the past three and a half years.  She came to Seattle as a recognized leader in police reform, and her work to engrain in the Seattle Police Department the principled structures and processes for lasting reform cannot be overstated.  This achievement is her legacy.

As we enter the next phase of the consent decree, we look forward to continued progress and evolution at the Seattle Police Department.  With the continuing support and leadership of Mayor Jenny Durkan, our committed command staff, internal SPD leadership, and the support of our community partners, I promise great things from SPD for years to come.