5.175 - Critical Incident Stress Management Communications

Effective Date: 04/17/2013


This policy applies to communications between Seattle Police Department employees and members of the SPD Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team members.

1. CISM Team Members are “Peer Support Counselors” as Defined by RCW 5.60.060(6)(b)

The Department will also extend this designation to civilian employees who are CISM team members.

The Peer Support Coordinator and SPD Communications shall maintain a current list of CISM team members.

2. Any Department Employee May Make a Referral to CISM

Employees may refer co-workers or themselves for assistance.

By phone: 206-233-2765 or through SPD Communications

By email: SPD_Peer_Support@seattle.gov

3. Communications Between a Department Employee and CISM are Confidential When the CISM Team Member is Acting in an Official Capacity

RCW 5.60.060 includes CISM team members as persons protected against divulging privileged communications.

Exception: CISM relationships with employees are not privileged when the CISM team member is an initial responder or witness to an incident the employee is involved in that triggers a CISM relationship.

4. The Department Shall Not Compel Confidential Information from CISM

Members of Department management, including the Office of Professional Accountability, cannot compel CISM team members to testify about any information made to them by an employee during a CISM relationship.

The Department shall not use information conveyed to CISM during a CISM relationship for discipline or other administrative proceedings involving employees.

5. The Employee Requesting Confidential Communication With CISM Shall Have Sole Authority to Waive Privilege

The employee may voluntarily give the CISM team member permission to provide information.

6. CISM Team Members, as Department Employees, Are Still Mandatory Reporters in Certain Circumstances

CISM team members shall report to the proper investigative unit information provided by SPD employees when it relates to:

  • Injury, abuse, or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult
  • Danger of physical harm to one’s self or others
  • Domestic violence crimes
  • Court orders issued when the counseling relationship is deemed not confidential pursuant to RCW Chapter 5.60

7. CISM Communications with Employees Shall Remain Confidential After the CISM Relationship Has Ceased