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Thursday, September 7, 2006

Time is Money

Posted by on September 7 at 15:05 PM

A report from the auditor of the Office of Professional Accountability (the department housed in the SPD that investigates complaints about police misconduct)—and a concurring report from the OPA director, found investigations are taking far too long to complete (119 days on average). So, activist/City Council Members Peter Steinbrueck and Nick Licata have proposed legislation asking OPA to come up with a standard on timeliness for investigating these complaints.

(One factor in the prolonged investigations—119 days is a 25% uptick over the average of the last five years—is an increased number of complaints).

The Steinbrueck/Licata legislation is obviously a warning shot from the lefty duo (as the council enters budget season) that they’re going to be asking for more money to fund the OPA.

Over the past two budgeting cycles the OPA budget has remained static at $1.3 million, while the overall SPD budget has jumped about 7% from $178 million to $190 million.

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Perhaps another reason that investigations are taking so long is because the OPA decided that there was a loophole in the legal requirement that they complete their investigations within 6 months. When complaints are filed against officers, as opposed to rank and file cops, the OPA decided without so much as consulting the City Council (or the Mayor or City Attorney, as far as I know) that their investigations have no set time limit. My OPA complaint took about 18 months to be resolved.

The shysters in question clearly get paid by the hour. Contracts with deadlines (HEY, deadlines, what a concept, City of Seattle!) would yield timely results.

Will they be investigating the officers who assaulted a bicyclist in broad daylight?

Not unless the OPA has expanded its reach beyond the SPD to also investigate King County Metro Transit police...

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