Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole stressed her participation was “not an endorsement” of Clinton. She described the gathering as an opportunity to discuss policing issues.

Share story

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole was among a group of top law-enforcement leaders from around the country who met in New York City on Thursday with Hillary Clinton to discuss policing issues.

In a phone interview, O’Toole said she brought up two matters during a briefing that lasted about 1½ hours at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

One was Seattle’s 2012 consent decree requiring the city to carry out federally mandated reforms to address excessive force and biased policing cited by the Department of Justice, she said.

O’Toole said she shared what the city has learned and improvements it has made.

The other matter was the challenges police face in their interactions with people wrestling with mental-health issues, addiction and homelessness, O’Toole said.

Others who met with the Democratic presidential nominee included retiring New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton; his successor, James O’Neill; Charles Beck of the Los Angeles Police Department; and former Police Chief Charles Ramsey of Philadelphia, The Associated Press reported.

Clinton campaign aides said eight leading law-enforcement leaders were invited to attend, according to the AP. Other participants included law-enforcement leaders from Tucson, Ariz.; Camden County, N.J.; and Dallas County, Texas.

O’Toole said she and the other leaders talked about the intersection between police and social services.

“The thing that struck me was all the common ground,” she said, noting the other leaders also mentioned mental-health issues, addiction and the need for a multidisciplinary approach to the problems.

Clinton asked questions and mostly listened, O’Toole said.

In a phone interview before the meeting, O’Toole, who became Seattle’s chief in 2014, stressed her participation was “not an endorsement” of Clinton.

She noted she has worked for Democrats and Republicans during a law-enforcement career spanning more than 35 years and has briefed members of both parties in the past on police matters.

Bratton, a nationally recognized police leader, told CBS News earlier this month that Donald Trump’s “shoot from the hip” style and “lack of depth” on policy issues scared him, according to the AP.

Clinton’s Thursday meeting comes as Trump, the Republican nominee, has accused her of being “against the police” and vowed to restore law and order if elected president, the AP reported.

Aides said Clinton’s meeting had been planned for several weeks and would build upon her outreach to law enforcement during the campaign, according to the AP.

After a deadly shooting of police officers in Dallas, Clinton urged Americans to try to walk in the shoes of law enforcement, and Democrats had law-enforcement officials speak at their convention, including Philadelphia’s Ramsey, the AP reported.

Ramsey co-chaired President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which issued a report in 2015.

O’Toole said she paid her travel costs for the New York visit.

In January, O’Toole sat with first lady Michelle Obama during the president’s State of the Union message. The White House said O’Toole was invited because of her nationally recognized efforts to improve the Seattle Police Department and to build community ties.

O’Toole met with Obama after his address and talked about police reform in Seattle.