Proof that we’re all probably a bit too concerned with being “politically correct” these days? The Seattle Police Department just announced that officers can no longer refer to a person of interest as a “suspect” in a use-of-force report. The new approved term to be used instead is “community member.” As you can imagine, police aren’t happy.
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“I think this is all in an effort to make sure our report writing sounds politically correct,” Seattle Police Officers’ Guild Kevin Stuckey said. Several officers have spoken in opposition to the new mandatory terminology. Many of them take offense calling a violent criminal a “community member.”
The new terminology was used recently when officers were required to refer to a suspect who shot three officers in downtown Seattle as a “community member” in their report.
“I guess a community member could be the person who breaks into your car and breaking into your home or harms you or your child,” Stuckey said. “But who are we talking about?”
Seattle’s police officers don’t seem to mind using the term in general but when you’re forced to call someone who shot three of your officers a “community member,” you’re probably going to encounter some resistance.
Stuckey, along with other officers he speaks for, say the term is “too vague.”
“I don’t think you should have a broad stroke like that and call everybody the same thing,” he explained. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling someone who is a victim a victim, or calling someone who’s a suspect a suspect.”
The higher ups within Seattle’s police ranks stand behind the terminology, claiming it will increase officers’ accuracy when they write reports.
This epidemic of political correctness is nothing new for the state of Washington as correction officers have been told to refrain from using the word “offender” when speaking to inmates in prison and, instead, call them “students.”
The phasing out of the word “offender” in correction facilities took effect Nov 1 of last year. Stuckey told KIRO7 he plans to bring his concerns over the new mandatory terminology to command staff. Let’s hope at that point, common sense, rather than political correctness, prevails.