This morning, Police Chief Harry Bailey announced some changes at SPD, which these days is basically like saying "Today is a day that ends in y." But aside from the drama of all the personnel shakeups that have been going on over there, there's a more structural change to look at, too: the creation of a bureau focused on compliance with federal reforms. Bailey likes to call it a "one-stop shop," and this afternoon he introduced the assistant chief who'll head that bureau, Tag Gleason—while also completely refusing to answer any questions about personnel matters and, really, anything aside from the compliance bureau.
"This is a new day for us," said the chief, who was clearly trying to charmingly bore the press to death. "We all feel very good about this." Gleason says the goal of his bureau and of SPD is "to engage in policing that is effective, efficient, ethical, competent, and compassionate." (That's Tag "Adjective Party" Gleason to you!)
The new bureau will combine what was formerly called the Professional Standards Bureau with the department's efforts to comply with federally mandated reforms under a new umbrella called the Compliance and Professional Standards Bureau. Its reach will cover the department's education and training, the new use-of-force investigation unit, and, importantly, an IT liaison—as I reported last week, the department is expected to completely overhaul the technology they use to track incidents of use of force, and they appear to be dragging their feet. Asked about the timeline for getting the tech component of reform under way—the federal reform monitor has said it should happen within six months—Gleason says, "As promptly as we can within our various time and budgetary constraints." Satisfyingly vague! Good one!
This bureau, if it works, could be really effective, streamlining work on different aspects of reform under one roof so they can move ahead faster and lines of communications can be cleaner. Or, if SPD's reform efforts are actually careening off the rails right now—which some people think they are—it'll be a pit of dysfunction. Only time will tell on this one, so we'll have to wait it out a bit.
Also, let's take a moment to enjoy the entertaining name "Tag Gleason," shall we? Really has a ring to it.