A retired Seattle police officer charged with criminal impersonation for working at a construction site with lapsed credentials agreed Tuesday to perform 150 hours of community service and pay $50 in restitution to a woman who complained he angrily grabbed and pulled her as she crossed the street.
In a resolution approved in Seattle Municipal Court, Judge Willie Gregory told the former officer, Michael Deacy, that the gross-misdemeanor charge will be dismissed in 24 months if he commits no new criminal violations and abides by the conditions of the agreement.
Deacy apologized for his actions, offering remorse at a time the Police Department is conducting a full review of so-called secondary work performed by retired and off-duty officers.
“He’s truly sorry for his behavior that day,” Deacy’s attorney, Michele Shaw, told the judge, noting her client’s record as a police officer was unblemished.
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The woman Deacy, 70, confronted, Angelique Rosario, 32, said after Tuesday’s court hearing that she believed Deacy, who was wearing a Seattle police uniform during the Dec. 13 incident, was a regular officer when he yelled at her and pushed her in a Capitol Hill crosswalk she thought she could cross with the light.
In court, Rosario told the judge that Deacy reacted in an “intimidating and harsh” manner.
“It seemed completely inappropriate,” said Rosario, a barista who described herself as the daughter of a former police officer.
Anne Levinson, auditor of the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), who has repeatedly flagged secondary-work problems, recommended last year that the department discontinue its practice of authorizing “Extended Authority Commissions” that permit retired officers to act in a law-enforcement capacity, wear their uniforms and carry firearms at private work sites.
“These Commissions create liability for the City, and provide little or no accountability to citizens when poor practice or misconduct occurs,” Levinson wrote in a report.
Even though they must meet some initial qualifications, the retired officers, who might have left the department years ago, are not required to go through the training of active officers, nor are they supervised the same, Levinson said.
“The public has no way of distinguishing them from active officers so any poor demeanor or performance reflects badly on the force as whole,” she wrote.
Her report also urged the department to no longer allow secondary work to be run outside of department control, noting it is often managed by employees through their own private businesses.
Instead, the work should be overseen by “an internal, civilian-led and civilian-staffed office, with clear and unambiguous rules and procedures, using current technology,” Levinson wrote.
Levinson warned that the current system is fraught with actual and potential conflicts of interest, and that it creates internal problems among employees competing for business and lacks appropriate supervisory review and management.
Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, who took control of the department in June, ordered a review of secondary work, police officials said, with the first step focusing on retired commissioned officers.
O’Toole approved of the court agreement reached with Deacy, Craig Sims, chief of the criminal division in the City Attorney’s Office, told the judge during Tuesday’s hearing.
Deacy, who retired from the Seattle Police Department in 2006 after a 30-year career, was flagging and directing traffic at a construction site at Bellevue Avenue and East Pine Street, although his authority to act as a police officer had expired.
After Rosario filed an complaint with the OPA, Seattle police referred the matter to the City Attorney’s Office. Rosario learned that Deacy gave her a false name on the day of the incident.
As part of the court agreement, Deacy has submitted a resignation letter to Seattle police, removing himself from any future secondary work. After a previous commission expired in 2009, Deacy obtained a new one in January, after the incident, that was due to expire in a year, records show.
Rosario, whose father once worked as a police officer in Wisconsin, will receive the $50 restitution for lost wages she incurred the day of the incident.
She called the overall outcome “very fair,” noting that people make mistakes but must be held accountable.
O’Toole, as part the department’s review of secondary work, could end the practice for retired officers as early as next month, Virginia Gleason, chief strategic adviser to the chief, said Tuesday.
O’Toole plans to meet with retired officers and might sponsor a flagging class as part of an effort to steer them to work as approved flaggers or security guards, Gleason said.
In doing so, the goal would be to standardize what secondary work is done under city authority and training, Gleason said.
The department is also examining the qualifications and training of some half-dozen reserve officers who primarily work at Safeco Field, she said.
The department also is looking at practices for off-duty work performed by current officers and what changes would have to be bargained with police unions, Gleason said.
Included is an effort to identify best practices for dealing with fatigue associated with off-duty work, who should oversee the work and what should be expected of officers in conforming to the department’s policy manual, she said.