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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.


News Release, Published: 
Monday, October 28, 2002
In settlement of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has agreed to improve its policies for handling requests for documents by the public. The ACLU sued the SPD in 2001 for violating the state Public Disclosure Act by failing to disclose a key document relating to police enforcement of the City's "no protest zone" during the World Trade Organization demonstrations in 1999.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, June 24, 2002
Under pressure from civil libertarians, the Washington State Patrol has suspended searching randomly selected cars of people seeking to board state ferries. While the state patrol had claimed the searches were voluntary, motorists who did not consent to the arbitrary searches were prevented from boarding the boat.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Recommendations to our City Leaders for Contract Negotiations with Seattle Police Officers Guild
News Release, Published: 
Monday, December 31, 2001
The ACLU is working with attorneys around the state to develop constitutional challenges to a new statute that unfairly punishes car owners for actions by others. An amendment to state law adopted in 1998 authorizes police to impound for 30 to 90 days vehicles driven by a person with a suspended license - even if the driver doesn't own the car.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, November 20, 2000
As we approach the anniversary of WTO and a new series of rallies, the City of Seattle needs to show that it has learned the right lessons from last year's demonstrations.
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.