The front page headline in the Wednesday Seattle PI was "Chief blasts oversight report." Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske was angry at a report from a civilian review board report critical of his involvement in an internal investigation of a controversial drug bust. But, the conclusion of the report was that police officers should not police themselves and the current system Seattle has for monitoring police behavior may not be working.
I agree. As the attorney for the Judson family involved in the terrible murder suicide by Tacoma Chief of Police David Brame, the clear message we learned from that tragedy was the need for a truly independent oversight of police department activities. Cover up, concealment and secrecy undermine what we expect from our police in the line of duty. There is no real accountability when the assessment of police action is left to the the police department itself. Chief Kerlikowske may not like the results of this particular report, but the citizens of Seattle are entitled to a system of accountability that is credible. A review system of internal investigations which relies upon the accused, in the clubby confines of the police department itself, will never be trusted as credible or reliable. Seattle needs independent, objective oversight of police department activities including that of Chief Kerlikowske rather then one of the fox watching the hen house.