News Police Review Board Veteran Steps Down in Protest
posted by March 31 at 17:52 PMon
Sheley Secrest, a key member of the City Council’s Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB)—the City Council’s police accountability panel—has decided not to reapply for her position on the board , and will step down when her term ends next month. “I did not want to reapply if [Councilmember] Tim Burgess wasn’t going to reappoint me,” she says.”Not seeing the importance of having a review board member continue on [is] disturbing.”
Earlier this month, Burgess—who controls OPARB through his public safety committee—asked Secrest to reapply for her position, despite the fact that board members have not previously been required to undergo reappointment.
Secrest would have been the only veteran left on the board—OPARB Chair Peter Holmes has maxed out his time on the board and Brad Moericke is leaving for personal reasons—and her departure has raised concerns a rookie review board will handle the constant pressure from the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, which recently won a fight to keep OPARB from viewing unredacted police files.
Secrest believes her removal from the board could also have a chilling effect on future OPARB members, who may have to worry about whether making controversial decisions will keep them from being reappointed.
Now, Secrest plans to devote more time to her role as the Vice-President of the Seattle NAACP, where she will have more freedom. “The gag order [will] be off,” she says. “No more holding back.”