People of SU / Society, Justice and Law

SU in the News: The Shooting of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton, 10 Years Later

October 22, 2019

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Seattle Met magazine's look back at the killings of police in Seattle a decade ago include research done by Seattle U criminal justice Associate Professor Matthew Hickman, PhD.

Excerpt from the magazine's story:

"Hours later, just as the memorial service wrapped at KeyArena, two sergeants and a detective apprehended Brenton’s shooter at his Tukwila apartment. A Seattle cop killed the gunman in the Lakewood massacre after a two-day manhunt.

"But the police remained on edge, says Seattle University criminal justice professor Matt Hickman, who reached out to SPD in the aftermath. “They were concerned about officer stress, health, and safety in the wake of all these shootings.” Hickman soon conducted a study, wiring a test subject with a GPS-enabled heart rate monitor, and rode around on a late-night shift to record the officer’s reaction to tense encounters. What he observed was enough to recommend—via an academic journal—deployment strategies, such as rotating officers in and out of precinct areas known to be more stressful than others.

"The stalking and assassinations may have taken their toll on the cops, and the death of unarmed civilians may have its toll on the public, but Hickman puts little stock in surveys that emphasize the negative perception of the police. These things fluctuate, he says, and approval may tank after an incident like the shooting of John T. Williams, but it eventually returns to a more positive, base level. A redo of the 2013 survey two years later revealed things had changed: The number of Seattleites disapproving of SPD shrank from 34 to 25 percent."

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