Norm Stamper

Author of To Protect and Serve:
How to Fix America’s Police

Norman H. Stamper, Ph.D.

Chief of Police (Ret.)

City of Seattle

P.O. Box 1056

Eastsound, WA 98245


2000 – Present:  Writer, Speaker, Script Consultant, Trainer, Expert Witness

1994 – 2000:  Chief of Police, City of Seattle.  Responsible for executive leadership of the 1,800-member organization, and all policies and practices of the agency.

Significant accomplishments

  • Led a process of major organizational restructuring, eliminating one rank and creating new bureaus of Professional Responsibility, Community Policing, and Family and Youth Protection;
  • Created a comprehensive Domestic Violence program;
  • Decentralized community policing;
  • Developed 10 community advisory councils, a citizens’ academy, and numerous other community outreach initiatives;
  • Established new programs and measures of organizational accountability, including standards of performance and conduct for all employees of the department.

1989 – 1994:  Executive Assistant Chief, San Diego Police Department.  Second-in-command, responsible for all day-to-day operations of the 2,834-member agency in the nation’s then sixth largest city.

Significant accomplishments

  • Took lead in rapidly expanding Neighborhood Policing to all seven divisions within the department, empowering captains and helping to win enthusiastic grassroots support for the philosophy of community-government/problem-solving partnerships.  Led monthly Problem Analysis Advisory Committee meetings for 21 months, generating both traditional and creative solutions to drug, gangs, and other neighborhood problems;
  • Mentored nine individuals, eight of whom were promoted, two of them twice (to the level of assistant chief);
  • Led effort to reconstitute and strengthen the San Diego Metropolitan Homicide Task Force which investigated the deaths or disappearance of 44 sex industry workers;
  • Recommended and led implementation of a new model of police administration that eliminated two ranks, created a flexible “matrix” management system, empowered supervisors and managers at lower levels, saved a significant amount of money, and introduced major changes in leadership practices at all levels of the organization;
  • Spoke throughout the community and within city departments as a member of the City of San Diego Diversity Speakers Bureau (1992-1994);
  • Chaired citywide effort to identify and analyze demographic trends and patterns in the region’s labor force.  Authored report for city manager.

1988:  Deputy Chief of Police, Office of Special Operations (Investigations)

Significant Accomplishments

  • Redefined roles and responsibilities, in collaboration with those affected, of detective managers and supervisors;
  • Established concrete expectations of, and enforced compliance with, fiscal accountability within the Office of Special Operations;
  • Conducted team building workshop that significantly enhanced communication and trust among detective executives and managers.

1986 – 1988:  Deputy Chief of Police, Office of Personnel Services

Significant Accomplishments

  • Created new performance evaluation system for department’s executives and managers;
  • Championed the cause of physical fitness and emotional wellness, and led development of a health management program for San Diego police officers;
  • Researched and successfully argued for creation of a nonsworn Human Resources Director position;
  • Inspired and coordinated development of the department’s mission, vision, and core values;
  • Served as member of the city manager’s Management Academy development committee.

1983 – 1986:  Deputy Chief of Police, Office of Field Operations

Significant Accomplishments

  • Established practice of personally walking stretches of the city in uniform to sense community perceptions and expectations and collect feedback on police performance and conduct;
  • Rode regularly with patrol officers and supervisors, soliciting their views on policies, procedures, and practices;
  • Worked collaboratively to redefine roles and responsibilities of executives, managers, and supervisors in Field Operations in order to reinforce concepts of community policing and to delegate greater authority and responsibility;
  • Drafted, communicated, and successfully defended in EEO and Civil Service Commission hearings a set of non-negotiable standards of leadership performance and conduct for all supervisors and managers, and their subordinates;
  • Initiated division field studies by captains which were then used to assess and address problems in patrol officer performance and conduct;
  • Created and managed a complete overhaul of the department’s internal discipline system, producing distinct paths for performance problems vs. willful misconduct;
  • Directed 85-member Officer Safety Task Force which resulted in adoption of 98 recommendations for improving the personal safety of our officers;
  • Successfully promoted development of an automated internal information system (IBM 8100) linking work stations throughout the department.

1982 – 1983:  Director (Civilian), Office of Management Services

Significant Accomplishments

  • Inspired and facilitated development of crime fighting and other performance objectives for the department;
  • Conducted and participated in several successful workshops designed to improve conditions for nonsworn personnel;
  • Pioneered the department’s work on “Future Issues in Policing,” bringing together experts from the fields of technology, demography, political science, sociology, business, the military, education, and community-based organizations to forecast trends and help the department prepare for the future.

1977 – 1982:  Civilian Ombudsman/Special Advisor to the Chief of Police

Significant Accomplishments

  • Facilitated over sixty team building and other organization development (OD) interventions, helping personnel clarify roles, improve interpersonal communication, and resolve conflict throughout the department;
  • Conducted over 480 employee counseling sessions with personnel of all ranks;
  • Advised the Chief of Police and his top staff on matters of policy; wrote numerous position papers and speeches for the Chief;
  • Convened and facilitated the work of the “Management Resource Team,” formed in the wake of sustained allegations of racism and discriminatory police practices in African American and Latino communities, resulting in major department reforms;
  • Developed the original plan (“Area Management”) that led to the decentralization of police services in San Diego;
  • Worked with community groups and police officers to resolve community-police conflicts and tensions.

1979 – 1981:  Executive Director of Mayor Pete Wilson’s Crime Control Commission

Significant Accomplishments

  • Splitting time between the police department and city hall, supervised a staff of four administrative analysts and an assistant in support of the commission’s quest for solutions to San Diego’s crime problem;
  • Oversaw and personally wrote sections of the final report, “Crime and Justice in San Diego:  Report of the Mayor’s Crime Control Commission,” the most exhaustive examination of crime in the city’s history.

1978:  Vice Chair, City Council’s Ad Hoc Task Force on Police Practices

Significant Accomplishments

  • Splitting time between the police department and city hall, assisted the city manager, city council, and a citizens’ task force looking into allegations surrounding the controversial police shooting of a young African American;
  • Worked with a diverse, fragmented, and emotionally intense group, ultimately building a strong team that reached consensus on each of its 19 recommendations for improving community-police relations, and department accountability.

1966 – 1977:  Police Officer-through-Captain

Significant Accomplishments

  • As patrol captain, walked streets of the city, listening and responding to citizen feedback on police performance and conduct (1976-77);
  • Developed questions, conducted officer interviews, and wrote final report of the most comprehensive internal examination of police-race relations anywhere in the nation;
  • Directed the establishment of across-the-board performance objectives for police academy recruits (1976);
  • Developed the concept, wrote and presented to the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C. a grant proposal for the country’s first program of community policing, and directed the pilot project (1972-74);
  • Developed San Diego’s landmark Field Interrogation Project, also sponsored by the Police Foundation (1972);
  • Created the department’s first Patrol Planning Unit (1971);
  • Received numerous formal and informal commendations for work as a patrol officer and undercover detective (1966-69).


Ph.D. in Leadership and Human Behavior, United States International University (now Alliant International University).  Dissertation:  “Executive Leadership and Executive Management in Big-City Police Departments:  the Professed Values vs. the Observed Behavior of American Police Chiefs” (1989); Master of Science (1976) and Bachelor of Science (1974) in Criminal Justice Administration, San Diego State University. Senior thesis: “The Community as DMZ: Breaking Down the Police Paramilitary Bureaucracy”; Associate of Science in Police Science, Southwestern Community College (1968);

Graduate of the National Executive Institute (NEI), sponsored by the FBI (1999);

Numerous other courses, workshops, and seminars in business, criminal justice, organizational leadership, and management (1966-present);


  • Gavin v. City of Boston, MA (gender discrimination). 2020. Active.
  • Gentry Estate v. City of Forks, WA (civil rights, wrongful shooting death, negligence, negligent retention). 2020. Active
  • Murray v. Spokane County (excessive force, wrongful shooting death). 2020. Active.
  • Strickland v. City of Auburn (excessive force, wrongful shooting death). 2019. Active.
  • Robinson v. City of Arlington (excessive force, shooting). 2019. Settled.
  • Gatewood v. City of Renton (negligent death scene investigation), 2017. Case dismissed, June 1, 2018.
  • Mancini v. City of Tacoma (high-risk warrant service, wrong-door case), 2013. Dismissed; successfully appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court.  Verdict for the plaintiff, August 2017.
  • Bennett v. City of Lynnwood (high-speed pursuit, wrongful death), 2015. Awaiting filing.
  • Hillstrom v. Pierce County (excessive force, wrongful death), 2015. Settled.
  • Alexanderson v. Officer Scott Langton and City of Blaine (excessive force), 2014. Settled.
  • Hostetter v. City of Lakewood (high-speed pursuit collision), 2014. Settled.
  • Chen vs. City of Medina, et al (wrongful termination), 2013. Verdict for the plaintiffs; subsequently overturned.
  • Randall v. City of Bonney Lake (false arrest, excessive force), 2012. Settled.
  • Earls v. City of Forks (sexual assault of a child), 2012. Settled.
  • Roznowski v. City of Federal Way (domestic violence homicide), 2010. Verdict for the plaintiffs.
  • Caldwell v. City of Bellingham (child custodial interference), 2010. Dismissed.
  • Hafner-Cottrell v. City of Stanwood, et al (domestic violence homicide), 2007.  Settled.
  • LaBox, et al v. City of Eugene (former Eugene police officer, sexual assault cases), 2006. Settled.
  • Lisa Dunn v. Roger Eugene Magana and City of Eugene (former Eugene police officer, sexual assault cases), 2005-06. Settled.
  • CMJ v. Kitsap County (former Kitsap County, WA. sheriff’s deputy, sexual assault of a child case), 2006. Settled.
  • Sitton, et al v. Idland (former Washington State Patrol trooper, sexual assault cases), 2005-06. Settled.
  • Sandahl v. Klickitat County (domestic violence homicide), 2003-04. Settled.
  • Ramon Ayala and Kyle W. Davis, Plaintiffs v. City of Chicago, a municipal corporation, and Phil Cline, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (mistreatment of witnesses), 2005-06. Settled, with court monitoring.
  • Reynolds v. City of Chicago (police affirmative action), 1996-98. Upheld by 7th Circuit.
  • Petit v. City of Chicago (police affirmative action), 1996-98. Upheld by 7th Circuit.


  • Conducted more than 65 team building and other Organization Development interventions for SDPD; other city departments (Fire, City Attorney, Organizational Effectiveness); police agencies across the country; San Diego law firms; California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), including team building for the executive director and his top staff, plus four statewide symposia for chiefs and sheriffs; Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office; California State Bar Association;
  • Adjunct professor at San Diego State University:  19 semesters (1976-1989), teaching both upper division and graduate courses in Criminal Justice Administration, Juvenile Justice Administration, and Negotiation and Bargaining in the Public Sector;
  • Adjunct professor at University of California, San Diego:  Law and Society class, 1972;
  • Adjunct professor at University of Washington:  five quarters (1996-2000), teaching Police in Urban Society;
  • Instructor in POST-sponsored courses throughout California and at other local institutions, including 11 years as instructor of highest-rated POST management class in the state;
  • Technical advisor to the 1992 edition of the International City Managers Association’s Municipal Police Administration;
  • Author of the textbook Removing Managerial Barriers to Effective Police Leadership, Police Executive Research Forum, Washington D.C., 1992;
  • Member of the U.S. Justice Department’s National Advisory Panel on Excessive Force by Police (1992-1995);
  • Consultant to the Portland-Multnomah County Police Consolidation Project; identified as one of eight national experts on police personnel systems (1976).


Current Member of: Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Community Safety Initiative (Advisory Board); Law Enforcement Action Partnership (Advisory Board); National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Advisory Board); Drug Policy Alliance; Death Penalty Focus; and Woman in the Woods Productions (first President of the Board of Directors).

Past Member of:  National Advisory Council of the Violence Against Women Act (founding member); San Juan County’s nonprofit Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services Board of Directors (president emeritus); Police Executive Research Forum; International Association of Chiefs of Police; Major Cities Chiefs; President and Board Chair of Seattle’s Leadership Tomorrow; Co-Chair of the Seattle Domestic Violence Council; Steering Committee member of the state’s Equal Justice Coalition; Co-Chair of Alliance for Education’s Urban Scholars; Governing Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County; Board of Directors of National Conference of Christians and Jews; Corporate Board of Directors, San Diego Hospice; San Diego Coalition for Equality; Western Society of Criminology; Urban League of San Diego; Neighborhood House

Association; Californians Against Violence; San Ysidro Family Survivors Fund; Vice President and Curriculum Chair, LEAD San Diego; Caucus Chair, LEAD San Diego.


As Seattle’s Police Chief:  King County Bar Association’s “Distinguished Service, Friend of the Legal Profession” (1999); Leadership Tomorrow Award for “Outstanding Service in the Development of Civic Leadership” (1999); Donald F. Leiffen Outstanding Alumni Award for “Distinguished Service in the Field of Public Administration and Criminal Justice:” from SDSU (1998); Washington Coalition of Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers for “Outstanding Career Achievement” (1997); City Attorney’s Award for “Exceptional and Outstanding Service in the Area of Domestic Violence” (1997); Hannah G. Solomon Award from the National Council of Jewish Women for “Outstanding Leadership in Improving the Quality of Life for All People and Motivating Others to Fight for Positive Change” (1996); Katharine M. Bullitt Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Public Education” (1996); Isabel Colman Pierce Award for “Excellence in Community Service” (1995); Major Romero Yumul Award for “Leadership, Innovation, and Diversity” from the Filipino American City Employees Association (1995); and induction into the national Boys and Girls Clubs of America Hall of Fame (1995).

In San Diego:  Police Chief’s Exceptional Performance Citation, citing the District Attorney’s assessment:  “Thanks to Assistant Chief Norm Stamper the [Metropolitan Homicide Task Force] will go down as the most successful serial murder task force in this country’s history” (1993);  Police Chief’s Exceptional Performance Citation, citing work that “aligned the Chief’s vision with the reality of street work in a way that produced widespread support throughout the Department” (1992); Diogenes Award for “Honesty, Integrity, Accessibility, and Accountability” presented by the Public Relations Society of America, bestowed because “Norm Stamper was the first—and most visible—public figure to call that verdict [from the Rodney King beating trial in Simi Valley] an outrage and to say, publicly and clearly, that San Diego’s police operate in a different world, with a different system and with far different standards…He’s the man who makes neighborhood policing a reality” (1992); Chief’s Exceptional Performance Citation for “Innovation, Leadership, and Diplomacy” in directing the Mayor’s Crime Control Commission (1982); Chief’s Exceptional Performance Citation for “Creativity, Innovation, and Leadership” in designing and conducting the country’s first experiment in community policing (1974); numerous Department, Commanding Officer, and Supervisor Commendations for a variety of accomplishments including performance on a year-long deep-cover undercover assignment (1969), the arrest of 56 sex offenders during a special detail in Balboa Park (1968), the apprehension of two serial burglary suspects (1967), and the apprehension of two armed robbery suspects (1967).


  • “Policing Mass Protests,” Zoom testimony before Oregon State Legislature, July 10 and July 17, 2020
  • “To Protect and Serve,” Zoom presentation to the Columbia Basin Badger Club, July 16, 2020
  • “20th Anniversary of WTO,” presentation to Crosscut/KUOW, November 19, 2019
  • “The ‘Battle in Seattle’: We Got This,” presentation to international gathering of The Performance Theatre, June 13, 2019
  • “I-940 is a win for communities and police,” Kitsap Sun, October 19, 2018
  • “Search for Meaning Festival,” Seattle University, “Policing in the Age of Trump,” February 24, 2018;
  • “Public Safety and the Constitution,” Seattle Rotary, February 7, 2018
  • Crosscut Festival, “We’re the police, and you’re not,” February 3, 2018
  • “California must change its rules on police deadly force,” Sacramento Bee, August 14, 2018;
  • “San Joaquin shows the way to end sheriff-coroner system,” with Tori Verber Salazar and Miriam Aroni Krinsky, Sacramento Bee, June 13, 2018;
  • Louisville, KY: Several speeches and TV and radio appearances on “Community-police relations and organizational reform,” week of July 7,. 2017;
  • To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America’s Police, Nation Books, 2016;
  • Blogger for Huffington Post, 2009 – Present;
  • “How to Prevent Violence in Cleveland,” New York Times, July 15, 2016;
  • “Fix the Police: From Ferguson to Freddie Gray—What the hell happened to America’s cops?” Playboy. July/August 2016;
  • “From Warrior Cops to Community Police: A Former Chief on How We Can Turn Back the Tide of Militarization,” YES! Magazine, February 9, 2015;
  • “Militarizing Ferguson Cops With Riot Gear Is a Huge Mistake,” Time Magazine, August 18, 2014;
  • “Nothing Works in Ferguson,” The Guardian, August 19, 2014;
  • “Our Neighborhoods, Our Police, TEDx Seattle, January 2014;
  • “Prohibition:  A Parallel to Modern War on drugs,” for Perspectives on Modern World History, Fall, 2012;
  • “Ending the Culture of Dishonesty in Law Enforcement,” Institute for Law Enforcement Administration, The Center for American and International Law, Ethics Roll Call, 2011;
  • Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (Foreword), by Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert.  Chelsea Green Publishing, 2009; updated for new edition: 2013;
  • Breaking Rank:  A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing, Nation Books, 2005.  Paperback, 2006;
  • Removing Managerial Barriers to Effective Police Leadership, Police Executive Leadership Forum, Washington, D. C., 1992;
  • Op-eds and articles for The New Yorker; New York Times; ACLU Blog; Wall Street Journal; Los Angeles Times; Time Magazine; The Guardian, UK and US; Seattle Times; San Francisco Chronicle; Seattle; The Nation; AlterNet; Mother Jones; The; Opposing Views; Real Change; Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia; Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation; Appeal Democrat;; CNBC; USA Today;; The Weekend Australian; The Hill’s Congressional Blog; San Jose Mercury News; San Diego Union-Tribune; Penthouse; Seattle Weekly; The Islands’ Sounder; The Union.Com; American Police Beat Magazine; BullWings – Orcas Issues, News & Views; Los Angeles Daily News; Democrat Harold; Montana Law Review; American Bar Association, Human Rights; Playboy.
  • Appearances, often multiple, on “The Colbert Report” with Stephen Colbert; “In the Money” with Jack Cafferty; Chelsea Handler, Netflix; “The O’Reilly Factor” with Bill O’Reilly; “The Tavis Smiley Show” with Tavis Smiley; “Democracy NOW!” with Amy Goodman; “The Dylan Ratigan Show” with Dylan Ratigan; “The Mike Huckabee Show” with Mike Huckabee, “Keeping It Real” with Rev. Al Sharpton; “The Situation” with Tucker Carlson; “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan; “To the Point” with Warren Olny; “Al Jazeera” News; “Volkstrant News,” The Netherlands; “Book TV” on C-SPAN; national, international, and local newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, FOX, Sirius Satellite Radio, BBC London, other television and radio stations throughout the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Portugal, The Netherlands, and Australia; talks at bookstores, service clubs, churches, temples, law schools, other colleges and universities, and corporations and public organizations throughout North America and Australia. (Please see, “Events,” for a complete listing since 2005.)