This week Mayor Ed Murray announced the creation of a team to guide the development of a new Community Service Officer (CSO) program. The CSO program will be designed to ensure that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is better able to provide non-emergency services and support to Seattle’s communities.
Existing CSO programs in the United States typically handle non-emergency incidents such as neighborhood disputes, investigations and crime prevention, which can ultimately increase efficiency within a police department and improve service to residents. Mayor Murray has long supported the renewal of the program to help neighborhoods work with SPD and to further the City’s commitment to constitutional and bias-free policing.
The Seattle Police Department has worked for years to become a model of 21st century policing, and the CSO program will help us reach the ultimate goal of building community trust with the department. With this in mind, the interdepartmental team will utilize the City’s Racial Equity Toolkit to inform the development of the program and to address the biggest divides that exist between the police and community.