Seattle Police Department | KUOW News and Information

Seattle Police Department

Seattle officials say they will continue to reform the police department, despite the federal government's changing law enforcement priorities.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week that his office will review existing reforms to ensure they meet the Trump Administration's goals. Those include improving officer safety and morale. That widespread review could include Seattle, which has been under a federal consent decree for five years to improve its police department.

Bill Radke talks with Officer Kevin Stuckey, head of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild, about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement of a wide-reaching review of federal consent decrees with police departments around the country.

The Seattle Police Department has been under a federal consent decree since 2012, after the Department of Justice found a pattern of excessive use of force in policing. 

Dan Satterberg (left), Andre Tayor (brother of Che Taylor who was fatally shot by police), and former SPD Chief Norm Stamper at a community meeting.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Two Seattle police officers who shot and killed a 47-year-old African-American man last year will not face criminal charges.

Che Taylor's family called the decision disappointing. 

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Tuesday that the officers acted within the scope of the law.

A march protesting the Seattle police shooting of Che Taylor on Feb. 21, 2016 moves through downtown Seattle on Feb. 25, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department will reduce its emphasis on investigating and suing police departments. Justice officials under President Barack Obama called the Seattle Police Department a success story for this process. 

People involved in Seattle's 2012 consent decree have mixed feelings about the new direction. 

Crosscut reporter David Kroman.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with Crosscut city reporter David Kroman about the recent move by the City Council to equip Seattle's officers with body cameras by the end of 2017. Kroman says that multiple groups are concerned about privacy issues, decreased accountability for officers, and the possibility that footage could be used to identify undocumented immigrants. 

In this March 12, 2015, file photo, Seattle police officer Debra Pelich, right, wears a video camera on her eyeglasses as she talks with Alex Legesse before a small community gathering in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

Seattle's bike cops wear body cameras, and now all officers will start wearing them. The Seattle City Council approved a measure Tuesday to purchase the cameras this year.

Even after a delay, the full rollout is facing some opposition.

Assistant Chief Perry Tarrant of the Seattle Police Department.
City of Seattle

Perry Tarrant wants young African Americans to know their rights in interactions with police.

But Tarrant, assistant chief at the Seattle Police Department, told KUOW’s Emily Fox that just as important is knowing what to do if you think you’ve been wronged by the police.


Crimes against LGBTQ people are among the most reported hate-crimes in Seattle. In the second half of 2016, 22 crimes were reported against gay, lesbian, or transgender people.

With the support of police, a gay man who was recently targeted is speaking out. His story is having a broader impact than he anticipated.

Dan Satterberg (left), Andre Tayor (brother of Che Taylor who was fatally shot by police), and former SPD Chief Norm Stamper at a community meeting.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Friday marked the end of the inquest into the fatal police shooting of Che Taylor in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood last year. In the fact-finding hearings, the eight-person jury found that Taylor posed a threat to the officers involved in the shooting.


Seattle is a step closer to more civilian oversight of the city's police department.

Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday that long-awaited police accountability legislation is ready to go before the City Council. 

Dan Satterberg (left), Andre Tayor (brother of Che Taylor who was fatally shot by police), and former SPD Chief Norm Stamper at a community meeting.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

An inquest is scheduled to get underway at the King County Courthouse this week in the death of Che Taylor. In February 2016, Taylor was shot by Seattle police in the Wedgwood neighborhood. Now a jury will hear more facts of the case.

In this March 12, 2015, file photo, Seattle police officer Debra Pelich, right, wears a video camera on her eyeglasses as she talks with Alex Legesse before a small community gathering in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

On Thursday, a dozen Seattle police officers strapped on body cameras for the first time.

By the end of 2017, 850 officers will be using them. 

The Seattle Police Department will soon have a bigger presence in neighborhoods. Community members will be trained to handle non-emergency incidents. They will be part of the Community Service Officer program, which the city is bringing back to Seattle after a 12 year hiatus.

Mina Sultana, co-president of the Muslim Student Association at the UW, advises all Muslim students to walk with a buddy on and off campus and 'be extra cautious of their surroundings.'
KUOW PHOTO/DAVID HYDE

The 911 call came in two days after the presidential election from the security guard at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle.  He was reporting a possible hate crime.  

The target was a 16-year-old student who was on her way to school when a man she did not know allegedly grabbed her by the arm and refused to let her go. 


Eli Sanders, Rob McKenna and Mayor Ed Murray participate in KUOW's 'Week in Review' in front of a live audience at the Vera Project on Fri. July 31, 2015.
KUOW File Photo/Gil Aegerter

In 2012, the City of Seattle and the federal government agreed to implement sweeping reforms of the city’s police department.

AP Photo/Manuel Valdes

Bill Radke sits down with Seattle journalist McKenzie Funk, the author of the New York Times Magazine piece "Should We See Everything a Cop Sees?" It's an exhaustive look at the Seattle Police Department's difficulty outfitting every officer with a body camera. Funk explains the harm that can be done when everything is caught on film. 

Under new crisis intervention policies, Seattle Police Officer Louis Chan partners with Mariah Andrignis, a social worker.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

It’s 11 in the morning. Officer Louis Chan is scanning through the 911 calls that have come through, waiting to be handled. 

One call stands out: A patient with a history of attempted suicide didn’t show up for an appointment. The case manager was concerned and called 911.

The ACLU of California raised concerns this week that the social media tracker called Geofeedia can be used to target activists of color. Based on those concerns, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have scaled back what data they give Geofeedia.


On a late summer day in 2010, John T. Williams, a Native American woodcarver, was walking across the street carrying his carving knife and a small piece of wood when he was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer.

"He was carving an eagle at the moment," his brother Rick recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. Rick tells his friend Jay Hollingsworth that his brother loved to carve — had been carving even at age 4, when he completed his first totem pole. He says John could walk and carve at the same time, and that was just what he was doing, carrying his knife openly.

Kim Malcolm talks with Shankar Narayan about the use of surveillance technology by the Seattle Police Department.  ​The issue resurfaced recently after a report in The Stranger detailed how the police had purchased software that allows officers to monitor your social media posts.

A photo from the scene after police killed a man in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood after the man reportedly on a crime spree.
Seattle Police Department

Police departments around the country are responding to outcries over controversial police shootings.

Many, like Seattle, are also under scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department. Those cities are creating new structures for civilian and community oversight. Seattle is one of several cities launching an Office of Inspector General.

Use a social media site in the last two years? Seattle police may have read your posts.

The police department has been using social media tracking software called Geofeedia, and they did so without the city's permission.


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about his 2017 budget proposal. He's calling for hiring 200 additional police officers and an increase of $12 million to fight homelessness.

As expected Monday, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray unveiled his budget plans for 2017-2018. The mayor's proposal focuses on two areas that have shaped his term in office: policing and services for homeless people.

Kim Malcolm talks with Capt. Deanna Nollette about the rise in sexual assault cases being reported to the Seattle Police Department. Reported cases are up 55 percent during the first nine months of 2016 compared to the same time period last year. Nollette supervises the Special Victims Unit at SPD.

From left, Zaki Hamid, Eli Sanders, Ijeoma Oluo and Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has announced that the plans for the new North Precinct building will be put on hold. He says the city needs to consider the cost of the building and impact it will have on communities of color. What should happen as the city re-draws the plan?                

The city of Seattle has hired a private investigator to find out who leaked a proposed police labor agreement to the press.


The Seattle Police Department says it accidentally deleted more than 2,000 police dash-cam videos. The videos spanned two days of traffic stops and arrests in July. Seattle police and technology staff say there was a glitch in the system that stores dash-cam recordings.

An artist's rendering of the proposed new North Precinct station for the Seattle Police Department.
City of Seattle

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Weekly reporter Casey Jaywork about the new police station planned in North Seattle and how it became a symbol of race and police violence. 

Police officers pause next to a sign outside a restaurant as they observe a May Day anti-capitalism march, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Videos of police arrests and shootings around the country this year have put a spotlight on police behavior. A new Seattle City Council proposal would reinforce the right to record police. A council committee discussed the idea Wednesday.


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