Tacoma police have released data about officer-involved shootings and citizen complaints in hopes of creating a better relationship with the community.
The information was made available online Tuesday, and the department will host a preview at 6 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 5) at The Evergreen State College’s Tacoma campus, where officials will brief attendees on the complaint process.
“I hope it elicits a dialogue and that people are informed and we can explain our process,” Assistant Chief Kathy McAlpine said. “In doing so, we’re held to a higher standard and foster a sense of trust.”
The department provided spreadsheets with data for police shootings from 2012 to 2015, the time span most easily captured by its digital program. Complaints from 2015 were included.
In that four-year span, police shot at 12 people. The data do not say how many people were killed or hurt. The only shooting in which an officer was found to have acted outside department policy was in 2012.
Half of those shot at were white. Two were Hispanic, two were Native American and two were black. All but two were men.
All officers who fired their weapons were white, except one.
Last year, 147 people filed complaints against police for a range of allegations, mostly unsatisfactory performance or courtesy.
Eighteen of them — 12 percent — were found to be sustained.
“I think that’s on the low end,” McAlpine said, adding that officers respond to an average of 155,000 calls for service each year.
Once a complaint was found to be sustained, discipline for the officer varied. Sometimes it meant more training. Other times it meant a written reprimand. Sometimes it meant a day off without pay.
“We do progressive discipline, depending on the history of the officer and level of egregiousness,” McAlpine said.
Tacoma Police Department is among 53 law enforcement agencies nationwide releasing the data sets and one of three in Washington. Seattle and Spokane police also are participating in the initiative.
The White House started the effort in May 2015 to reduce the use of force and improve community policing efforts.
Tacoma police said they soon will release data on incidents in which officers used force and community engagement.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653
Public can review data
What: Public preview of data hosted by Tacoma police.
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: The Evergreen State College, 1210 Sixth Ave., Tacoma.