Office of Professional Accountability
Internal Affairs Investigations and Officer Commendations
The mission of the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) is to maintain the public’s trust, preserve police employees’ rights, and protect the good reputation of the Port of Seattle Police Department. Among other duties, OPA is responsible for overseeing and managing internal affairs investigations involving police employees, and collecting citizen commendations about officer’s outstanding performance.
The Port of Seattle Police Department is a values-based and a values-driven department. OPA is committed to the department's core values of leadership, integrity and accountability. The vision statement the Port of Seattle Police Department is “the nation's finest port police.” OPA uses the department’s core values and vision as the foundation for all duties.
OPA provides guidelines for ethic-based, objective, standardized, factual, allegation-focused investigations. OPA’s current procedures have been developed by researching industry standards and best practices of other law enforcement agencies, using established criminal and civil case laws, and current collective bargaining agreements.
OPA is a component of the Professional Development and Standards Division within the Police Department’s Administrative Bureau, and an investigative sergeant is assigned to OPA on a full-time basis.
Law Enforcement can be a stressful and demanding profession. On a daily basis the 700,000 law enforcement officers in the United States serve their communities with honor and pride. Many of them are not recognized for the hard work they do to keep their states, counties, cities, and ports safe. Many of these officers only receive feedback from the public in the form of complaints.
submit a commendation
Use our online form
Officers who display our core values of leadership, integrity
need to be recognized. Whether the act was big or small, if you have encountered a Port Police Officer who represents “the nation's finest port police,” please use our online form
and tell us about your experience.
Internal Affairs Investigations
The department shall conduct an administrative investigation whenever it is alleged that an employee's conduct or behavior violates any department policy, procedure, rule, regulation, or training procedure, or law. If a law has been violated, a criminal investigation maybe initiated. At the conclusion of the criminal investigation, an administrative investigation may commence.
Investigations shall also be conducted whenever there is a fleet/collision/incident, loss or damage to equipment, use of force, or pursuit. The nature and extent of these investigations shall be determined by the severity of the incident.
The department considers all complaints against the agency and its employees and fully investigates all such complaints as appropriate. A complaint is defined as:
- An allegation of circumstances amounting to a specific act or omission that, if proven true, would amount to employee misconduct.
- An expression of dissatisfaction with a policy, procedure, practice, philosophy, service level, or legal standard of the agency.
submit a complaint
Use our online form
Citizen complaints can be accepted by any of the following methods:
- Online form
- By officer or supervisor in the field.
- In person (Either the Sea-Tac Airport or Downtown Seattle Harbor Police Stations)
- Any other way that is reasonable
If the complainant submits contact information, OPA will advise them of the receipt of their complaint by email, written letter, or telephone.
A complaint can come from either an external or internal source and can be accepted from:
- Individual citizen
- An organization
- Third party
- Notice of a civil claim
- Governmental agency
- Outside law enforcement agency
- Human rights complaints
- Anonymous citizens
After a complaint is received and reviewed, it is routed to the appropriate authority. If the allegation is of a minor nature (such as a rudeness or driving complaint), and does not identify a pattern of employee misconduct, the complaint will be handled by the employee’s immediate supervisor or division commander. If the complaint alleges more serious policy violations, OPA will formally investigate the complaint.
If the complaint alleges criminal misconduct, OPA may request an outside, uninvolved and objective law enforcement agency investigate the allegations. An administrative investigation that examines policy violations will not precede or be conducted concurrently with any criminal investigation stemming from the same complaint. Only at the conclusion of a criminal investigation will an administrative investigation commence.