New Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole was selected for the job in part because she’s known for reforming police forces. Reform is what’s sorely needed in the Seattle Police Department, but some police officers are already fighting reforms imposed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Those officers filed a lawsuit saying the new rules — limiting use of force — impose on their safety and their ability to do their job.
O’Toole met with the officers who filed the suit, saying, “Their suit had created the appearance that they were resisting reform,” according to The Seattle Times. That is exactly the image this lawsuit created. The officers who are resisting this are doing nothing for their image or public confidence.
Last week, Mayor Ed Murray said there is a “crisis of confidence in public safety.” He cited unemployment, mental health, poverty and racial inequality as factors, as well as the need for community-based policing. What he didn’t say outright is that the lawsuit and incidences of officers being reinstated after being involved in shootings, being videotaped using excessive force and even using their own job to commit crimes, the public is having a “crisis in confidence” with the police force itself.