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Leading The Way

The Seattle Police Department takes a fresh look at its approach to use of force.

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The Problem

When the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle evaluated the Seattle Police Department (SPD) Training Unit, they called Robert Davis, a nationally acclaimed expert in use-of-force, for help. They needed a consultant to help ensure the unit’s training and presentations aligned with the Federal Consent Decree that mandates specific police reforms in Seattle.

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The Solution

We met with the SPD Training Unit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office liaison and the Federal Monitor. Davis introduced and recommended using a formal Instructional Systems Design (ISD) Model that would: 1. Assist the SPD Training Unit to design and implement a robust use-of-force training curriculum that met the requirements of the Consent Decree. 2. Design instructional and interesting training content and support materials. 3. Produce written training documents that would be critical to the Federal Court Judge overseeing the reforms so he could ensure the training was designed properly, approved in advance and then implemented effectively.

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The Results

All key stakeholders — the SPD Training Unit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office liaison and the Federal Monitor — agreed the ISD Model would be helpful. The SPD’s use-of-force, procedural justice and de-escalation trainings are now recognized as some of the best.

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