Talk with future Seattle Police officers ‘Before the Badge’

Seattle Police are convening community conversations with recruits as a new part of their training, and one of the events is planned in our area. Here’s the announcement:

Calling all who live and/or work in Seattle – Sign up to participate in the new “Before the Badge” Community-Police Dialogues!

The dialogues are part of the new “Before the Badge” 45-day training program that all new Seattle Police Department recruits complete prior to entering the Washington State Basic Law Enforcement Academy. The purpose of the dialogues is to give community members an opportunity to engage with new Seattle Police recruits to help them learn about Seattle community concerns at the precinct/neighborhood level as part of the Seattle Police Department’s Micro-Community Policing Plans.

Two Southwest Precinct-specific events are planned: 5:30-7:30 pm September 26th and November 14th. They’re hosted in partnership with Seattle University, so that’s whose website you’re going to if you’re interested in signing up.

7 Replies to "Talk with future Seattle Police officers 'Before the Badge'"

  • David September 5, 2022 (4:47 pm)

    What a FANTASTIC idea this is!   If you’re going to be a police officer you should understand the attitudes and opinions of those you will be policing.  It does NOT mean you have to agree with everything everyone says, but in any real conversation it’s incredibly useful to understand where the other person is coming from.  Just listening to their perspective, if nothing else, help you understand where conversations will begin and the background sub-text when you engage someone.   This is one of the cheapest/smartest most common-sense things I’ve seen in ages.  Every department should do this.   Again, it doesn’t mean you have to blindly agree with everything said to you (you might, or might not) but you need to know HOW the community sees local events so you can manage expectations and learn how to communicate better.  BRAVO!

    • OneTimeCharley September 5, 2022 (7:18 pm)

      I really like this idea too. Is this a new step in the hiring process for SPD? I like that I can attend and tell them how much I appreciate them joining our police force. I would also express my hope for equitable treatment of all citizens while they help us build a stronger, safer, happier community for everyone. Everyone except those who refuse to follow the law, of course.

    • Yeah September 5, 2022 (7:25 pm)

      Yes and no.  It’s a good idea on the surface, but the time and format of the meeting tends to favor the voices you already hear from in other community groups (people with 9-5 jobs and reliable childcare, retirees, etc.) while leaving out many in marginalized communities (shift workers, those who can’t afford/find a babysitter, etc.).  Not surprisingly, those in the first category tend to skew white, while the latter has a disproportionate number of BIPOC represented.  So the concerns these new recruits hear are skewed toward things those demographics tend to focus on rather than the concerns of the community at large.

  • Brian September 5, 2022 (7:12 pm)

    More importantly if you’re going to sign up to be ultimate enforcer of state sanctioned violence, you should at least be required to live in the area code. 

    • anonyme September 6, 2022 (6:31 am)

      Brian, I have two questions for you: One, what does the area code have to do with anything?  Any officer assigned to a specific neighborhood will get to know the residents.  I don’t know the people across the street, so what difference does it make?  It seems like this would place yet another obstacle in the already difficult path of recruiting police.  Two, how would you suggest that unsanctioned violence be dealt with if not with ‘state-sanctioned’ violence?  Would you prefer those violent offenders only be dealt with by citizen vigilantes rather than police?  How would that work exactly?  I have my own issues with policing in this country but would prefer that new approaches at least be logical on some level.  It seems like these dialogues are something of a beginning.

  • 22blades September 6, 2022 (10:55 am)

    I think this is a good start for reshaping the SPD. My question or reservation would be the Seattle Police Guild’s (union) endorsement of the program. Although I’m a union guy, I have serious reservations about their role in policing Seattle. I know firsthand how a union can make great strides in the culture of a group. I hope they’re onboard with these cultural shifts.

  • Steve September 7, 2022 (9:36 am)

    Like 22Blades, I suport this idea. Dialogue between communities and SPD needs to improve. It requires collaboration, and it should be ongoing.I also share concerns about the union, mostly the president who spends time on a cable news network that portrays Seattle as a war zone using footage from other cities. I’ve yet to hear him offer how the union can be part of any solution; rather he lays blame at the feet of others, including, but not exclusively, the Jan. 6 assault on our nation’s Capitol.I don’t gain the slightest sense he cares about Seattle. But I believe many officers do, even if they don’t live in the city, and this engagement is a heartening first step.

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