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Policing

Law enforcement must protect both public safety and the rights of individuals. This is why arrests and use of force should be last resorts, not first options, for police. The ACLU-WA advocates for stronger laws regulating police use of force, alternatives to arrest and incarceration, and de-escalation practices and training. And to ensure law enforcement is accountable to the people they serve, the ACLU-WA works for greater community oversight, such as independent civilian review boards with disciplinary authority.
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Resources

News Release, Published: 
Saturday, September 30, 2000
In September the Seattle City Council passed the first ordinance resulting from police failures during the WTO demonstrations. As recommended in the ACLU's report on WTO, the law requires all Seattle Police Department officers to wear legible identification on the outermost layer of their uniforms and to orally identify themselves when asked by citizens.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, July 31, 2000
Washington voters in 1998 passed Initiative 692 to allow patients with certain terminal or debilitating diseases to possess and use marijuana for medicinal purposes. After months of negotiations with the ACLU, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) in 2000 issued written instructions for enforcing the Washington Medical Marijuana Act.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, March 29, 2000
While concern over police accountability in Seattle has come to the fore in the past year, it is hardly a new issue. In the last dozen years, no less than six City-sponsored reports, and three ACLU-WA reports, have criticized the police internal investigations system for not responding to the needs of the community it serves.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, December 31, 1999
Although the Seattle City Council has adopted reforms to strengthen citizen oversight of police misconduct investigations, a move is already underway to weaken them by eliminating one component – the citizen audit panel.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, June 14, 1999
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington today issued a report calling for the creation of an independent office for police accountability.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, May 31, 1999
Throughout the decade and well before, citizens have called for real accountability for the Seattle Police Department (SPD). City reports have been issued, committees have been formed, and recommendations made. But the City has still not seriously addressed the problems caused by a system that allows the police department to investigate itself.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, June 30, 1997
The state supreme court in April ruled by a 5-3 vote that the Pierce County Sheriff's Department chaplaincy program does not violate the separation of church and state. The ACLU-WA had filed a lawsuit in 1991 challenging the program for violating constitutional prohibitions on government sponsorship of religious activities.

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