SPRINGFIELD - The City of Springfield selected use of force expert Rick Braziel to lead an  Independent_Assessment into events surrounding a demonstration in Thurston on July 29, 2020.

The purpose of the independent assessment was to take an objective review of this experience and examine opportunities to learn and adjust to better manage dynamic events within the community. While Braziel made recommendations, he did not find specific wrongdoing, malice or collaboration with counter protesters.

A synopsis of events, pages 36-39, includes a summation of previous protest responses in Springfield and found “Through successful strategies, including de-escalation, the Springfield Police Department had managed eight prior protests during the summer of 2020.”

Findings in the independent assessment includes recommendations focused on command and coordination; planning and preparation; mental health, wellness and resilience; communications; after-action review; and use of force.

The independent assessment included analysis of crime reports, statements, evidence, video, audio, applicable policies, and community input. Community members directly participated and provided their thoughts and experiences at a public forum as well as providing email, video, audio, and written feedback.

“The level of interest and involvement from our community was incredibly important in helping review the events in Thurston,” said city manager Nancy Newton. “Additionally, SPD’s commitment to this process was essential and commendable. Through this assessment, we’ve received practical and tangible steps for where we can improve in our response to dynamic community events. I appreciate the SPD’s efforts to already implement recommendations and their commitment to the Springfield community.”

“The City is committed to learning and improving from this experience,” said mayor Sean VanGordon. “Our growth is possible thanks to the many community members who participated in this assessment and offered their voice so that we can pause, reflect, and implement change.”

“The Springfield Police Department is always willing to carefully evaluate any and all recommendations regarding our response to major events,” said Police Chief Rick Lewis. “Many of the recommendations in this independent assessment have already taken place. Our ultimate goal is to learn from each and every situation in order to better serve our community.”

Review the full assessment and recommendations: Independent_Assessment