Federal court-appointed monitor critical of SPD reforms

SEATTLE — The federal monitor overseeing Seattle Police  reforms has some harsh words for SPD’s ability to change the culture inside police ranks.

A settlement agreement was reached between the Department of Justice and Seattle last year, after a federal report found Seattle police engaged in a pattern of  unnecessary force.

Merrick Bobb, who is monitoring the reforms, reports “significant  disappointment and frustration across several areas.” One of those areas is officer-involved shootings. Bobb said, “The processes do not guarantee anything close to a thorough, fair  and impartial investigation.”

Bobb is also critical of the in-car cameras that officers are supposed to use, saying video and audio are often missing from police incidents.

"That tells me we still have a long way to go," said Seattle City Councilman Bruce Harrell, chairman of the council's Public Safety Committee.

Acting Police Chief Jim Pugel said it took a while for the department to get to where it is and, "I don't expect it to get fixed overnight."

Pugel also said he is diligent at looking at areas where SPD can improve and is working hard with the monitoring team to get there.

"I believe we're heading in the right direction," Pugel said.

SPD does have 30 days to respond to this recent report card before the final version is presented to a federal judge.

The city has 30 days to comment on the draft before it is presented to a federal judge.