Issaquah community members,
Issaquah Police share the concerns and frustration of the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as the ongoing racial inequities that exist in our society today.
These are not the values Issaquah Police promotes. We value our community working together, maintaining public trust and continuing constructive dialog.
In light of the recent events, we are constantly in touch with our regional partners, and are prepared to respond, as needed, to uphold community safety.
Meanwhile, I want to provide some basic information related to our approach to training, policies, accountability and community policing.
- Training is a priority. All of our police employees – not just officers – undergo ongoing training related to anti-bias training, de-escalation, crisis intervention, equity and implicit bias.
- We conduct training through outside trainers, community members, Washington State Criminal Justice Commission sponsored speakers, policy training, practical training, online training and scenario-based training.
- Our officers are trained to continuously monitor the totality of circumstances during an incident and to change their course of action once new information is gained. It is expected that officers can de-escalate their necessary use of force just as quickly as they are required to use it.
Policies and Accountability:
- We have zero tolerance for bias policing.
- We have strong policies related to bias-based policing, use of force and crisis intervention.
- Our department utilizes Lexipol for its policy manual. Lexipol is a best-practices, caselaw-based online policy manual. Policies are regularly updated to match current case law and best practices. Lexipol includes daily training bulletins, where employees are presented with a scenario, the applicable policies, and a brief test related to the policy. Each employee is responsible for completing these tests each day.
- We perform regular and annual review of incidents where force was used. Each incident is reviewed immediately by the on-duty supervisor, the divisional Commander and myself. Subjects of force are interviewed about the incident by an uninvolved supervisor.
- We perform regular and annual review of traffic stops, arrests, complaints, procedures, practices and training. This data is analyzed for any patterns or possible indicators of racial or bias-based policing.
- State law requires an outside agency to investigate any significant use of force that causes death or significant injury.
- Our approach to community policing is multi-layered from who we hire, how we train, and how we interact with the community.
- We hire based on values: teamwork, family, community, continuous improvement, service, and accountability. Our focus is also “quality over quantity.”
- We value spending additional time with our community members, ensuring their needs are met, and establishing a relationship with them.
- We are committed to working with our youth in the schools; engaging in the Issaquah School District’s Equity Advisory group; participating in regional community/cultural forums and associations; and community events.
As your police chief, I remain committed to protecting Issaquah’s safety, community policing, constant training and continued dialogue with our community.
Issaquah Police Chief Scott Behrbaum