Yesterday the police department released two reports about the department’s handling of last year’s May Day disturbances downtown, one completed internally and one by an independent third party. I commend the department for subjecting itself to a thorough, external review. Such transparency can only serve to improve the work of SPD. It reminds me of a citizens’ review I chaired of the police response to the 1999 WTO riots.
While the independent report criticized planning by the department at a higher level, the report found that “supervisory and line-level police officers were well-disciplined and attempted to follow confusing mandates (at times squads acted independently due to an absence of command direction).” It is good to see that our officers made the best out of a difficult situation, but department leadership should quickly follow up on the report’s recommendations to avoid facing a similar situation again.