United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Court Appoints Merrick Bobb As Independent Monitor Of The Seattle Police Department
SEATTLE - U.S. District Judge James L. Robart today appointed Merrick Bobb, a nationally recognized expert on police accountability, as the independent monitor of the settlement agreement entered into by the United States and the City of Seattle. The parties filed a joint motion last week notifying the Court of their selection of Bobb and requesting his formal appointment by the Court.
The monitor and his team will assess the City’s compliance with the settlement agreement; report on the status of compliance to the parties, the Court and the public; assist the parties to informally resolve disputes or differences should they emerge; and provide technical assistance as needed by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and the Community Police Commission.
Bobb is the President and Executive Director of the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) in Los Angeles, California. Since 1993, he has served as Special Counsel to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, in which capacity he monitors the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the fourth largest law enforcement agency in the United Sates. He recently completed an assessment of the King County Sheriff’s Office’s practices and procedures around officer-involved shootings. In addition, Bobb has worked with cities and police departments on a number of matters, including in Boise, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Portland. In 2008, Bobb led the development of the “National Guidelines for Police Monitors.”
Prior to founding PARC, Bobb worked for prominent law firms in California, during which time he also served as Deputy General Counsel for the Christopher Commission investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
Members of the monitoring team are expected to include, among others, Patrick Gannon, former Deputy Chief of the LAPD; Joe Brann, a former police chief and first director of the COPS program at the U.S. Department of Justice who has served as an expert consultant to the City of Seattle; and Seattle attorney Peter Ehrlichman. Additional team members may be added as needed.
The settlement agreement requires SPD to revise its use of force policies and enhance its training, reporting, investigations and supervision of uses of force. It also requires revisions to policies, training, and supervision relating to both bias-free policing and stops and detentions.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, with the appointment of the monitor, SPD now has 60 days to develop a schedule that prioritizes the development and implementation of policies, procedures, practices, training materials, and training. Further, within 120 days, Bobb must submit to the parties a monitoring plan that set forth deadlines for implementation and a schedule for compliance reviews.