Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), along with members of the Office of Inspector General Search Committee, announced the nomination of Lisa A. Judge to be the City of Seattle’s first Inspector General for Public Safety (IG). The Office of the Inspector General for Public Safety (OIG) was created by the full Council in May of 2017 as part of the city’s reformed civilian, police accountability framework. The IG is subject to the City Council’s appointment and confirmation.
The IG’s primary purpose is to provide systemic oversight of the management, practices, and policies of the Seattle Police Department and the Office of Police Accountability and oversee ongoing fidelity to organizational reforms implemented pursuant to the goals of the 2012 federal Consent Decree in United States of America v. City of Seattle, 12 Civ. 1282 (JLR).
Ms. Judge is a civilian and will join the City of Seattle following two decades of work as the Legal Advisor to the Tucson Police Department (TPD). Her work there put her on the forefront of many issues that communities in Seattle face today, including innovations in interactions with people suffering with mental illness or in crisis. Ms. Judge also oversaw officers prioritizing treatment over incarceration. The TPD has both a Critical Incident Review Board and Force Review Board that include and are centered around transparency and community participation.
In accepting this position, Ms. Judge said, “This is a very exciting time for law enforcement reform, and this endeavor provides an important opportunity to do work of real value in furtherance of that reform. I am eager to work for the community of Seattle, and I look forward to a fruitful partnership with the Community Police Commission, the Office of Police Accountability, and the Seattle Police Department that is equal parts respect, trust, and healthy skepticism.”
“As the City of Seattle enters into a two-year sustainment period, the hiring of the first Inspector General and establishment of the Office of the Inspector General represents a major milestone in advancing the City’s commitment to ongoing police reform,” said Councilmember González. “After a 10 month, nationwide search, the OIG Search Committee identified Lisa Judge as our final nominee. Ms. Judge has a background in police reform, an understanding of police culture and policing, a commitment to procedural justice, and an articulated vision on how accountability and community coexist.”
Isaac Ruiz, co-chair of the Search Committee and a co-chair of the Community Police Commission, stated, “Lisa rose to the top of a strong and diverse group of candidates. During the search process, we were impressed by Lisa’s appreciation of the essential role of community in police oversight and reform. She has a proven record of working collaboratively with stakeholders to address important, but difficult and often divisive issues.”
Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle) noted that, “The IG is a critical part of our system. The person in this position must understand SPD policies and have independent leadership to ensure compliance and elevate performance expectations. Her experience working both within police departments and with organizations like the ACLU and the Innocence Project show that she will be able to utilize best practices to emphasize systemic compliance with current policies and make recommendations to improve our accountability system over time.”
The Search Committee was representative of various stakeholder interests, including the Seattle Police Department. Assistant Chief Lesley Cordner said, “I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve on the OIG Selection Committee. It was a thorough and robust process and I believe that the City has found the ideal Inspector General for Seattle. I am confident that Ms. Judge will work collaboratively with all parties, while remaining independent, fair and balanced, and respectful of both the Seattle community and of the police community.”
“On behalf of the Seattle Police Department, I’m happy to welcome our new Inspector General,” said Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. “She understands what Seattle has done to achieve ‘full and effective’ compliance, and our commitment to meaningful and lasting reforms. We wholeheartedly support Ms. Judge in her role, and are confident that she will lead the Office of Inspector General with integrity and professionalism, promoting accountability and engagement.”
“As our City’s first Inspector General for Public Safety, Lisa Judge’s first job is to continue the hard work of building trust between our community and our Seattle Police Department,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan, who negotiated the consent decree as U.S. Attorney. “The Inspector General’s role is critical in ensuring that we achieve lasting reform, particularly as we enter this critical next two years. This is an important step in delivering accountability and lasting reform for all who call Seattle home.”
Lisa Judge is Latina and identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community. She will appear on April 25th before Councilmember González’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education committee to begin her confirmation process at 9:30 a.m. in Council Chambers. A public hearing notice complete with her resume was published today for those seeking further background information on the candidate.