Jonah Spangenthal-Lee: Laughing With The SPD Not At Them

Oct 1, 2013

The Seattle Police Department has had a difficult couple of years. A strongly critical Department of Justice report found widespread excessive use of force. A federal judge is now overseeing a plan to fix the problem. 

But one bright spot in the media has been the police presence on the web and social media. Contrary to what you might expect, SPD's blog is pretty entertaining. For example one web post, MarijWhatNow, about how Seattle police would deal with legalized marijuana, drew worldwide attention and earned the "best new thing in the world today" title from the Rachel Maddow Show.

At Hempfest last summer SPD garnered worldwide attention by giving out bags of Doritos with police procedure on legal pot. The Seattle Police Department has more than 45,000 followers on Twitter, nine times as many as the Los Angeles Police Department, and more than seven times as many as New York City.

But cops aren't traditionally funny, so how is all this possible? Meet Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, the crime beat writer that SPD hired in March of 2012. Ross Reynolds talks with Spangenthal-Lee about his start as an intern at The Stranger, getting hired by The Stranger, getting fired by The Stranger and what he currently does for the Seattle Police.

Produced by Arwen Nicks.