Judge approves anti-bias policy for Seattle police

SEATTLE — A federal judge has approved new Seattle Police Department policies designed to eliminate concerns over biased policing and unjustified stops.

U.S. District Judge James L. Robart signed off on new policies on “stops and detentions” and “bias-free policing” Friday. Both policies have been developed under a settlement between Seattle police and the Justice Department, which found in 2011 that officers were too quick to use force.

Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan says the policies set “the national standard” and will clarify how officers are supposed to handle street encounters that don’t rise to the level of an arrest and give them a clear definition of biased policing.

For the first time, officers will be required to document every time it conducts an investigative stop of a pedestrian, and the data will be analyzed to spot trends or concerns, such as whether the department’s practices have a disparate impact on minority communities.

The new policies require additional training and oversight. Supervisors will be required to respond to the scene of any complaint about biased policing.

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