Frequently Asked Questions

About OPA

OPA is responsible for investigating complaints of Seattle Police Department (SPD) employee misconduct. We also engage with the community about police oversight, recommend SPD policy revisions, and monitor serious uses of force.

OPA is staffed by a mix of civilian employees and SPD sergeants. Please visit the Organizational Chart page for more information.

OPA is administratively within SPD but physically and operationally independent. The separation encourages independent decision making and investigations free from interference. Conversely, being under the SPD administrative umbrella enables access to all SPD-controlled data, evidence, and personnel necessary for thorough and timely complaint handling.

OPA publishes an annual report each April that includes data and information on complaints filed with our office the previous year. Please visit the Reports page to view past annual reports.

During investigations, OPA sometimes identifies issues with SPD policies that have implications beyond the case at hand. To address them, OPA can issue a Management Action Recommendation (MAR), which identifies specific issues and recommends changes. SPD may decline to adopt a recommendation from OPA, however, a large majority of recommendations are implemented in part or in full. Please visit the Policy Recommendations page to view past MARs and SPD's responses.

OPA cannot release detailed information about ongoing investigations. However, completed case files can be accessed by filing a Public Disclosure Request. For more information about a specific incident, please turn to a local news agency or the SPD Blotter.

Filing a Complaint

Filing a complaint is completely safe. Department policies strictly prohibit retaliation against anyone who files a complaint. Filing a complaint will not affect future interactions you may have with SPD.

Dispatchers/911 communications employees have been moved out of SPD and are therefore outside of OPA's jurisdiction. Submit complaints against 911 communications/dispatchers to or call 911 and ask to speak with a supervisor regarding your complaint.

There are many policies officers must follow, and it is not necessary for you to be familiar with them. Our office will make that determination after reviewing the facts of the incident.

While this is helpful information, you do not need to know the officer's name or badge number to file a complaint. Our investigators will make every attempt to identify the employee in your complaint. 

Submit commendations using the Thank an Employee form. If you have accidentally thanked an employee through our complaint form, we will forward your commendation to SPD so that the employee receives your compliment.

Filing a complaint with OPA will not affect your immigration status. OPA accepts complaints from anyone, regardless of immigration status, and will never ask you about your immigration status.


If your case proceeds to a full investigation, an OPA investigator will conduct the investigation. OPA investigators are a mix of civilian investigators and SPD sergeants. The case will then be reviewed by OPA's civilian leadership and the Office of Inspector General.

OPA makes every effort to complete investigations within 180 days, or six months. Occasionally, there are circumstances beyond our control that require an extension of this time limit.

A Closed Case Summary is the final document in an OPA investigation that is posted online once all administrative aspects of a case are complete. The document includes a summary of the incident and alleged misconduct, as well as the OPA Director's response to each allegation of misconduct. If discipline is imposed, the type and severity of discipline are also included. Closed Case Summaries do not list employee or complainant names.

Contact us and we will do our best to track down your case number.

Media Contacts

Please make requests through our media-specific email address,

OPA does not release or confirm names of those involved in complaints. However, completed case files can be accessed by filing a Public Disclosure Request.

Please make interview requests through our media-specific email address,


Mediation is an opportunity to discuss conflict and share perspectives. You are not required to admit wrongdoing or reach a resolution. The only requirement is that you actively listen and engage in the discussion.

Mediation can work even with challenging dynamics and difficult conversations. Mediators are trained to guide people in addressing conflict in constructive ways.

Either participant can choose to leave or end mediation at any time. Mediators may decide to separate the participants to work with them individually or terminate the mediation, if necessary.

All mediation participants sign a legally binding confidentiality agreement. The contents of a mediation session are not subject to subpoena or discovery, and courts have upheld the mediator-client privilege. The only exception is a mandatory reporting requirement for admissions of criminal acts.

After your mediation session concludes, the case will be closed. OPA will not pursue any further resolution or disciplinary action.

Community Outreach

Part of OPA's mandate is to educate the public about our work, including how to file a complaint. Our community engagement specialists create programming and events to deliver on this mandate, in addition to attending existing community events. Please visit our Community Engagement page to learn more about this work.

If you are interested in having OPA meet with your community, group, or organization, please complete the Community Engagement Meeting Request form.

Office of Police Accountability

Gino Betts, Director
Address: 720 3rd Avenue, 18th Floor, Seattle, WA , 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA , 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 684-8797
Contact Us

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from Office of Police Accountability