Thursday, July 21, 2011

Seattle City Council Seeking Candidates For Police Accountability Review Board

A reader sent us this information about three open positions on the seven-member Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Review Board.  Appliations are due no later than August 5th.

The OPA Review Board meets for at least four hours a month (at two meetings) and holds community outreach events at intervals throughout the year. Board members serve renewable two-year terms and receive a $400 monthly stipend.

Here is the information:

The Seattle City Council seeks candidates for appointment to three positions on the seven-member Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Review Board.

Working in concert with the civilian OPA Director and the civilian OPA Auditor, the Review Board plays an important role in Seattle’s police accountability system through its assessment of policies and practices and recommendations for their improvement. “The OPA Review Board looks at the big picture, learns what other cities do and, most importantly, engages with the public to both explain the system and receive feedback about where the system could be improved,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee. “We are looking for candidates who have substantial time and energy to commit to making our police accountability system more transparent and accessible.”

To inform its conclusions, the OPA Review Board (a) reviews the handling process for police accountability complaints, (b) organizes outreach to receive community feedback and (c) researches national trends and best practices in police accountability and civilian law enforcement oversight. It delivers its findings and recommendations to the City Council twice a year. The OPA Review Board does not participate in or make judgments on individual cases. That responsibility lies with the OPA Director under the oversight of the OPA Auditor. 

Members of the OPA Review Board must possess the following qualifications:    
  • A reputation for fairness, integrity and professionalism.
  • A commitment to and knowledge of the responsibilities of law enforcement and the need to protect the constitutional rights of officers and citizens.
  • A commitment to the purposes and roles of civilian oversight as defined in the Seattle Municipal Code.   
  • A history of leadership experience and ability.
  • The ability to gain the respect of officers and citizens and to work effectively with the City Council, Police Department and other agencies.
  • Experience working with diverse groups and an ability to work with people who have different perspectives on the relationship between the police and the community.  
  • The ability to work effectively under pressure in sometimes stressful and controversial situations.
  • Must be high school graduates (or have a GED), United States citizens, at least 21 years old and without a felony conviction.
Applicants are subject to background checks by the Police Department. 

Applications should include a cover letter that explains why the candidate is interested in the position and how the candidate meets the required qualifications, a resume and the names and contact information of three references. 

Candidates should deliver application materials by 5 p.m. on Friday, August 5 to Councilmember Tim Burgess, by e-mail (, by fax (206-684-8587 or by mail to: Councilmember Tim BurgessChair, Public Safety and Education CommitteeSeattle City CouncilP. O. Box 34025Seattle, WA 98124-4025

For additional information, please call Councilmember Tim Burgess’ office at 206-684-8806.

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