Olympia committee starts recruitment process for Police Use of Force Board


Olympia's Community Livability and Public Safety started the recruiting process to fill vacancies on the Police Use of Force Board.

Earlier, Strategic Communications Director Kellie Purce Braseth announced vacant positions on various boards and commissions. She said there are two vacancies in the Use of Force Board.

The committee, chaired by councilmember Dontae Payne, interviewed the first applicant for the vacancy on September 28.


The committee members interviewed Adan Espino Jr., an Olympia resident since 2012, who expressed his intention to serve on the board.

Espino said he is interested in being a part of the system where citizens can hold the police accountable.

"That is what this Use of Force Board is doing even though it is for the most tragic and more high-pressure instances. It is part of holding accountable our government, which the police department, to our values, and I can be a steady voice on that, and that council during a high-pressure moment, Espino said."

During the interview, Espino claimed to be proficient at analyzing, researching, and compiling reports on politics, economics, public policy, and law and effective at communicating the complexities of these subjects to various audiences.

Espino added that his strong public policy and law background and ability to think critically about what the community might feel would make him an effective community representative to the independent investigation team.

Through his lobbying experience, Espino said he had built the ability to connect and organize individuals to tackle societal issues and develop solutions to challenges such as college affordability, housing, and transportation. 

"A couple of examples of this work are my involvement in bringing a student housing program to house homeless students at UW Tacoma and my efforts to successfully pass HB 2158, which provided huge financial gains to the state's higher education system," he told the committee members.

Espino currently works at Sermonti Public Affairs, where he provides consulting services.

He attended South Puget Sound Community College, obtaining an Associate of Arts degree in Political Science in 2017. He then went to the University of Washington Tacoma, where he obtained a Bachelor of Law & Policy, minor in Economics, in 2019.


Payne also took the opportunity to explain Initiative Measure 940 during the meeting.

Payne explained that Initiative-940 requires that when the use of deadly force by a police officer results in death or substantial bodily harm, an independent investigation must be completed to help determine if the use of force met a "good faith" standard.

He said the law also requires the formation of independent investigative teams to conduct investigations of police deadly force incidents. The independent investigative team must include at least two non-law enforcement community representatives who operate independently of any involved agency to ensure that the community representatives are independent of any involved agency.

Payne said the city council approved the recruitment of the community representatives, and the committee was tasked with the recruitment process.

Olympia City Manager Jay Burney briefly discussed what is expected of a community representative to the Use of Force Board, explaining that a chosen community representative will undergo heavy training to understand the investigation process.

"We don't have many of these types of incidents that occur. But when they occur, we need to be prepared to make sure that we have a good process in place," Burney said.

Burney said it is not like jury style. Still, there will be a significant amount of time commitment when a member is called to participate in the meetings and discussions about the investigation.