12.055 - Criminal Justice Research

Effective Date: 8/15/2012


This policy pertains to the Department’s facilitation of research.

1. The Department Encourages Criminal Justice Research and will Facilitate Research as Allowed by Law and Available Resources

The Department may permit researchers to have direct access to police files and/or personnel under properly executed research and confidentiality agreements.

  • The Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives will have final approval over outside research requests.

  • A written Research Agreement is required for the release of any Department data for research, evaluative or statistical purposes.

  • Research requests for criminal history shall comply with WAC 446-20-420.

2. Agencies, Institutions and Individuals Desiring the Use of Police Records for Research will Use the Seattle Police Department Research Request Instructions as a Guide to Complete a Request

Seattle Police Department Research Request Instruction Guide

3. The Compliance Section will Receive and Vet all Outside Research Requests

See 12.055–PRO–1 Vetting Process for Outside Research Requests

The following questions will be considered when requests are analyzed:

  • Is the information requested available?

  • What is the estimated cost to complete the request?

  • Personnel time

  • File research

  • Copying

  • Can the additional workload required to complete the request be absorbed at the time it is requested?

  • How will the completed research project be beneficial to the Department or to the criminal justice system?

  • Are there privacy issues?

  • Does the request comply with RCW 13.50.010?

4. Costs Shall be Forwarded to the Fiscal Section for Billing and Reimbursement

5. Department Employees are Encouraged to Submit Their Own Ideas for Research Topics

See 12.055–PRO–2 Receiving Internal Ideas for Research Topics

The Compliance Section Captain will maintain a list of research topics for assignment within the SPD-University of Washington Research Consortium.

6. The Compliance Section will Review Results of Completed Research and Determine if There is a Practical Application to Department Operations

12.055–PRO–1 Vetting Process for Outside Research Requests

Compliance Section Captain

1. Receives outside research request

Assigned Compliance Section Staff:

2. Reviews request

3. Prepares recommendation on how to proceed

4. Shares recommendation with work group (Compliance Section Sergeant, legal advisors, Records Manager, and Grants and Contracts Manager).

Work Group

5. Reviews the recommendation

Assigned Compliance Section Staff

6. Schedules a meeting with the work group and the Compliance Section Captain

a. The chief or captain of the Bureau or Section which will benefit from, or be affected by, the research project may also be included.

Compliance Section Captain

7. Determines whether Compliance Section will endorse the request

a. If Compliance Section will not endorse, then advises the work group

b. If Compliance Section will endorse, then forwards the request to the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives

Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives

8. Determines whether SPD will endorse the request

a. If SPD will endorse, signs research agreement on behalf of the Department

Assigned Compliance Section Staff

9. Advises requester of the Department’s decision via formal letter

12.055–PRO–2 Receiving Internal Ideas for Research Topics

Any SPD employee

1. Develops an idea for a research topic

2. Submits an e-mail to the Compliance Section, with the subject line: Research Topic

Assigned Compliance Section Staff

3. Reviews the memo

4. Develops a specific research topic

5. Follows-up with the employee

a. Verifies that his research topic is consistent with the employee’s intent

6. Submits research topic to Compliance Section Captain

Compliance Section Captain

7. Maintains file of research topics


Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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