There is a person in Seattle city government whose job title is “Inspector General” of the Police Accountability Commission, and she recently sent a letter to the Interim Police Chief, Adrian Diaz. The subject of her letter was “routine traffic stops” in the city, and she thinks that the Seattle Police should no longer do them. Yes, that is correct, Seattle Police should no longer do routine traffic stops for such violations as broken taillights and other minor infractions. From an article at the top of the KOMO Web site today:
SEATTLE – Seattle police should strongly consider eliminating traffic stops for minor, civil and non-dangerous violations, the city’s inspector general wrote this week in a letter to Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz. (italics mine)
Such stops should be discontinued “for the safety of both officers and the public and for racial fairness,” wrote Seattle Inspector General Lisa Judge, who is charged by law with helping to ensure the fairness and integrity of the police system in its delivery of law enforcement services.
In her letter, Judge framed the recommendation as a “request,” then went on to argue that routine traffic stops for minor civil offenses, such as expired license tabs or a burned-out taillight, sometimes can result in unnecessary deaths – both to motorists and police officers.