SEATTLE — A court-appointed monitor overseeing reforms of the Seattle Police Department says the department has improved how it deals with people in mental health or drug-related crisis.
In a report filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, monitor Merrick Bobb found that Seattle police are now dispatching officers who have advanced training in crisis intervention to the vast majority of incidents where they’re needed. He says the department is making strong efforts to direct people into services instead of arresting them.
In a three-month period, police responded to more than 2,500 crisis incidents. Bobb said officers used force just 2 percent of the time.
Bobb is overseeing the reforms under the city’s 2012 settlement with the Justice Department, which found officers routinely used excessive force. He has also issued reports praising the department’s new training requirements, its system for tracking officer performance and its system for reviewing uses of force.