The Seattle Times broke news this morning that Assistant Seattle Police Chief Mike Sanford - who oversees the city's five police precincts - is the subject of an open criminal investigation being conducted by the Washington State Patrol into allegations of official misconduct.
Kevin P. Casey
A source "familiar with the inquiry" tells the Times that "several" captains with the SPD came forward with concerns about Sanford to the U.S. Attorney's Office. These concerns are said to be related to the way Sanford "handled charitable donations solicited from subordinates," according to the Times, in addition to "concerns that Sanford had interfered in a traffic accident involving his daughter." The story also mentions the possibility that Sanford may have worked a private security job while on the clock with the city.
A spokesman with the Washington State Patrol confirmed the investigation to the Times, but said he could not discuss details of the allegations facing Sanford.
Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, Seattle police spokesman, said Tuesday that Police Chief John Diaz "is aware of the investigation" and the department is cooperating to the "full extent possible."
Whitcomb said he couldn't comment further.
Diaz and Sanford could not be reached for comment.
Sanford was one of the police officers at the center of a recent Seattle Weekly cover story by Nina Shapiro looking into new approaches being taken in some of Seattle's most criminally troubled neighborhoods. A picture caption for that story labels Sanford as "one of a new breed of cop."
Sanford has also been a primary figure in the recent reform attempts being mounted by SPD in the face of the U.S. Department of Justice's report from late last year alleging that SPD has engaged in "unconstitutional policing through a pattern and practice of either excessive uses of force or discriminatory policing."