Port of Seattle Commission to establish policing and civil rights task force

Port of Seattle Commission to establish policing and civil rights task force

Group will lead a comprehensive assessment of Port of Seattle Police Department

The Port of Seattle Commission established a task force on Port policing and civil rights, which will lead a comprehensive assessment of the Port of Seattle Police Department.

The intent of the task force is to ensure alignment with the highest national standards and best practices related to policing, and to and develop recommendations for action, according to a July 14 Port of Seattle press release. While much of the Port of Seattle Police Department’s primary function is in service to port-owned facilities such as the airport and maritime facilities, public safety and working with the public is the core of its mission.

“A broad consensus has formed in the United States that a close examination of current policing practices is necessary and urgent,” said Peter Steinbrueck, Port of Seattle Commission president, in the press release. “The Port of Seattle has the responsibility during this critical moment in history to ensure that our Police Department is held to the highest nationwide standards achievable for public safety, protection of civil rights, equity, accountability and oversight.”

The task force will be composed of two commissioners, representatives from the Port’s Blacks in Government chapter, the Port’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Port Police, Legal, Human Resources, Labor Relations, and other Port corporate and business divisions and employee resource groups; and external representatives such as community leaders, civil rights advocates, union representatives, members of the Civil Service Commission, and/or experts on criminal justice and law enforcement.

“Black Lives Matter and the nation are calling for an end to racial injustice, police brutality, killings and dehumanizing of Black Americans, and major reform of policing in the United States,” said Delmas Whittaker, the Port of Seattle’s Chapter President of Blacks in Government. “There is a clear demand for an end to these issues, and immediate, deliberate action with sustained resolve that we can begin today.”

The Port can lead by example by embracing a thorough review of Port Police practices, protocols and internal processes, and by acting swiftly and meaningfully in identifying and acting upon areas for improvement. The task force is expected to submit its first report on progress and any recommendations for immediate actions to the commission and executive director by Oct. 31, along with a final report and final recommendations by July 31, 2021. There will be opportunities to submit further ideas and recommendations during the entire process, which will include all task force participants to review.

In response to recent killings of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement, the Port of Seattle began internal conversations culminating in several subsequent actions. On June 23, Executive Director Steve Metruck directed the Acting Port of Seattle Police chief to immediately implement a ban on the use of vascular or airway neck restraints; increase the diversity on police hiring evaluation panels; disqualifications of police officer applicants based on a substantiated finding of the use of excessive force against a member of the public, or a substantiated finding of racial discrimination against another employee; and requirements for de-escalation, “bystander’’ intervention and anti-discrimination training. On June 30, the Port of Seattle Commission hosted a community forum to discuss law enforcement accountability and policing assessment. The Port of Seattle Police Department has 116 officers.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

T
King County’s unemployment rate lower than most of Washington

South King County has been slower to recover compared to North King County.

Seattle Children’s Hospital (Courtesy photo)
Seattle Children’s Hospital identifies racial disparities in infections, security response

The healthcare provider did not respond to multiple requests for data used to identify disparities.

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

Courtesy Photo, Port of Seattle
Port of Seattle to require vaccinations for employees

2,200 workers must be vaccinated by Nov. 15

This is a screenshot that shows the pursuit of a stolen vehicle Sept. 1 on Interstate 5 in King County.
VIDEO: Auburn police let suspected vehicle thief go, citing new laws

State laws passed earlier this spring require police to have probable cause to engage in a pursuit.

Juanita High School student Ria Mahon. Courtesy photo
Student brings awareness to menstrual health among Puget Sound’s homeless

When Ria Mohan, a junior of Juanita High School in Kirkland, had… Continue reading

Matt Axe, the Wildfire and Forest Resiliency Coordinator with the King Conservation District, speaks to homeowner Anita Kissee-Wilder about fire reduction strategies at her home in North Bend on Aug. 24. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record.
King County braces for more wildfires in rural areas

Firefighters have already responded to a number of large fires.

t
New data dashboard tracks COVID-19 risk for unvaccinated, vaccinated people

Information compiled by Public Health – Seattle & King County

This 2019 security footage at the Cenex gas station in Black Diamond shows Anthony Chilcott on his phone before entering, and driving off with, Carl Sanders’ Ford Raptor and Monkey, his poodle, in the front seat. Courtesy photo
Oversight office releases scathing report on King County Sheriff’s Office

Report analyzes 2019 killing of Anthony Chilcott by deputies.

Close-up hand using phone in night time on street. File photo
King County Council steps closer to establishing hate crime hotline

The program is aimed at reducing the number of unreported hate crimes.

A Link light rail train travels underneath the University of Washington during testing to open the new line to Northgate. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit
Northgate Link light rail testing moves into final stages

Three new north Seattle stations opening Oct. 2