SEATTLE - On a day Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn called historic, McGinn named a group he hopes will prevent Seattle police officers’ use of excessive force and help gain the trust of citizens.
The special commission is part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to change how officers in the Seattle Police Department treat citizens, specifically, minorities.
Past incidents of force officers used, often on minorities, have been spotlighted and called into question.
The DOJ demanded change and McGinn created a Community Police Commission. View the members of the commission here
According to a news release from the mayor’s office, “the Community Police Commission is a partnership between the police department, its officers, community members and public officials. The broad role of the Commission is to support the development of reforms, establishment of police priorities and mechanisms to promote community confidence in the Seattle Police Department.”
On Monday, the commission’s 15 members were announced.
“We want everybody to be treated with dignity and respect. We want, no matter who you are or where you live, (to be) able to reach out to a police force and know that they’re going to be there to help keep you safe,” McGinn said at a news conference.
The commission will have an advisory role, but its members believe there is someone in the commission for any citizen to bring concerns to, and they will be heard.
“Believe it or not, we’re in the customer service business. If the customer isn’t happy, you don’t have any business. So we have to be about the business of making the customer happy,” said commission member and Seattle police Officer Kevin Stuckey.
“We would not have agreed to serve on this panel if we didn’t think that it is intended to and has a real opportunity to achieve change,” said member Lisa Daugaard.
Reverend Harriet Walden, who is one of the police department's harshest critics, is also a commission member.
“I believe it’s a new day,” said Walden.
“If you believe it’s a new day, that’s going to give a lot of people a lot of hope, because you have been so vocally critical of the Seattle Police Department,” said KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Amy Clancy.
“It’s not Utopia, see. There’s a difference between Nirvana. We’re not at Nirvana, but we’re in a good place where we can work toward that,” said Walden.
The president of the Seattle Police Guild said he was hopeful.