Lieutenant Jim Arata, Officer Jake Johnson, Officer Hudson Kang, Officer Mike Larned, Officer Kent Loux, Lieutenant Scott Moss, Officer Stephanie Palmer, Sergeant Bill Waltz, and Detective Elizabeth Wareing










Seattle Police Department crisis intervention training saves lives. On March 28th the quiet resolution of a tense standoff during Seattle rush hour is a tribute to the progress of Seattle police reforms.

When a 22-year-old man holding a knife begged Seattle police to shoot him on Third Avenue during rush hour, bystanders thought he might get his wish. But this incident ended after two hours without violence as the man’s mother looked on, and her son was taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation — not gunshot wounds. Most officers on the scene had specialized training for defusing crises with people in psychosis. This is a wonderful example of our police officers de-escalating, waiting patiently, and saving a life.

What’s most noteworthy is that this was not an isolated incident. Since signing the 2012 consent decree with the Department of Justice, the Seattle Police Department has built an impressive record of de-escalating potentially incendiary incidents involving people in psychiatric crisis. Out of 9,300 crisis response incidents in 2015, just 149 involved any use of force, and just 36 with the equivalent of tackling someone to the ground. Fewer than eight percent of the subjects were arrested. Those impressive statistics can be attributed to a dramatic expansion in the number of front-line officers given Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, an in-depth course about mental illness and de-escalation techniques. In 2016, some Seattle precincts had 70 percent of officers who were CIT-certified. As the incident on Third Avenue showed, that training saves lives.

Nominated by: SPD Public Affairs

Excellence awards are highly competitive, and up to 10 awards in this category are given out each year to individuals or small teams. Emphasis is placed on performance of duties at a particularly high level where the individual or small team has shown a proven consistency of this level of performance, has tackled a long-standing problem through a creative solution, or has gone above and beyond the expectations of their position to impact a person or event for the better.