Leo Poort

In his 32 year career in law enforcement as the principal Police Legal Advisor for the City of Seattle, Leo Poort gave day to day advice to the Seattle Police Department. He counseled, instructed and advised seven (7) different chiefs and hundreds of senior staff members, thousands of sworn and civilian managers and countless officer regarding criminal laws and constitutional procedures, first amendment protections, personnel laws, municipal ordinances, traffic laws, state and federal laws affecting property and personal injury (tort) liability, and personnel law, all laws that affect the operation of a major law enforcement agency.

With Mr. Poort’s long history and experience with SPD as their Police Legal Advisor, he drafted laws, testified, and worked with the legislature to develop many public safety laws for the State of Washington regarding the reporting and enforcement of domestic violence, missing persons, child abuse and neglect. He also worked to refine laws related to narcotics, police-information sharing, criminal history records, obtaining information regulated by state law under HIPAA standards, state firearm restrictions and penalties, use of force by police officers, police pursuits, seizure and forfeiture laws, classification/registration of sex offenders and violent offenders, anti-harassment laws, prostitution abatement, drug abatement, alcohol abuse, civility and trespass, landlord/tenant laws, private security, emergency preparedness, police discipline, police intelligence laws and records laws that allow victims access to police information.  Mr. Poort also worked to develop criminal procedural rules relating to search warrants, obtaining sensitive information by subpoena, and inquest rules (coroner procedures) that apply when a person dies either in police custody or by lethal force employed by an officer.

Mr. Poort’s long term employer, the Seattle Police Department, is one of 50 major police departments of the United States. It has an annual budget of over 213 million dollars. SPD has a sworn staff of 1277 officers and 530 civilian staff. SPD handles over 806,000 calls for police service and dispatches almost 234,000 calls with a total response by officers (including traffic stops, on-view, precinct contacts) of at least 521,000 officer contacts per year.

Mr. Poort enjoyed a “direct report” to the Chief for all of his 32 years of service. Because of his unique relationship to the Chief, he was able to give consistent legal counsel across many traditional lines of command in support of SPD’s mission and to fill the needs of SPD employees for immediate legal advice. His role was to draft or review all formal policies, and approve legally sensitive policies for the Chief.

He provided input and updated Department staff on new laws affecting law enforcement and reviewed all contracts with outside agencies. He also coordinated requests for legal opinions, the drafting of new ordinances, risk management issues, as well as discovery and defense of lawsuits against officers with the City Attorney’s Office. On behalf of the Chief, he represented the Department in mediations and court proceedings (local, state and federal). He produced affidavits, documents and answers to interrogatories to defend SPD’s policies and its personnel in litigation.  At times he arranged for outside attorneys for officers as needed to avoid conflicts of interest. Leo Poort retired from the Seattle Police Department in February, 2009.

Mr. Poort holds a B.A. degree from Michigan State University in English and taught high school for 3 ½ years. Leo is a 1973 graduate of Tulane University with a Juris Doctorate in Law. He was admitted to the Washington State Bar in 1973 and has been a member of the Bar for 36 years.

Over the last 35 years Mr. Poort has received extensive, specialized professional training in nearly all areas of law enforcement.  He has substantial experience in the areas of the use of force, less than lethal force, officer and supervisor training, internal investigations, personnel law and police liability.

He served for 3 years as Assistant City Attorney with the City of Bellevue, WA and served as Bellevue’s first Police Legal Advisor. He prosecuted cases for the City of Bellevue worked on criminal appeals. He coordinated case investigation advice and search warrant advice on felonies with the King County Prosecutor, prosecuted land use violations and represented the Chief and City in disciplinary cases.

For nine months in 2008 and 2009, Mr. Poort served as the Certification Manager for the Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) with the responsibility of reviewing police officer and sheriff deputy termination cases (statewide) to determine whether any fired officer should have his or her Washington State certification revoked for “disqualifying misconduct” under Washington State law. If decertified by the CJTC, an officer has a right to an appeal and hearing with the State. The reviews by Mr. Poort included a confidential review of all documents leading to discharge by the local law enforcement agency. Hearings, if requested by an officer, were open to the public.

For over 25 years Mr. Poort has been the chair of the Legal Advisors Section of the Washington State Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC).  He has instructed twice each year at the WAPSC fall and spring conferences throughout Washington State and has served for at least 30 years on the WASPC legislative committee and testified frequently before the Washington State Legislature, frequently working directly with members and the staff of the legislature on bills important to Seattle, the police community and victims.

Past memberships include the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), he is a Life Member. As a member of IACP he attended over 25 conferences and was a member of the Legal Officers Section and the Legislative Committee. He taught at conferences and seminars sponsored by the IACP. He was also a member of the Legal Advisors section of the Major Cities Chiefs Association while working for Seattle, and a member of the Washington State Municipal Attorneys Association.

Mr. Poort is a member in good standing of the Washington State Bar Association: (1973 to present).

Leo's Curriculum Vitae Page



Task and project specific references available upon request.  I have numerous professional references within the governmental, legal, and police professional arenas.  References will be tailored to your areas of interest.  Please contact me with your specific requests.

My professional career is well documented and you may make independent inquiries of elected officials, civil and criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors, professional organizations, local news outlets.


Rates are based on individual circumstances and needs of the client.  Contact me for an initial discussion of your particular project.  I will discuss the general circumstances of the case or project in the strictest confidence, and/or my experience and qualifications at no charge.  If I am unable to be of assistance, or if I should decline the case, I will be happy to refer you to another appropriate resource. I limit the number of projects I work on to better devote the required time and attention to each one.

Police Procedures Review

·        Police Practices

·        Arrest, Search and Seizure

·        Negligent Selection and Hiring

·        Police Discipline and Ethics

·        Discovery of Brady materials

·        Internal Affairs Investigations

·        Special Units…K-9, Harbor and Horses


·        Narcotics Enforcement

·        Seizure and Forfeiture

·        Use of Force

·        Less-than-lethal Force

·        Negligent Discipline and Retention

·        Police Pursuits

·        Domestic Violence and Sex Offenders

Court Preparation, Review, and Testimony

Leo Poort has testified and appeared on behalf of the Seattle Police Department at trial or deposition or discovery hearings as a witness in Federal, State, and Local Courts throughout his law enforcement career.  These appearances have been in both civil and criminal matters, as well as legislative hearings and personnel hearings. In almost all cases he was representing the Seattle Police Department. He appeared amicus curiae in some cases on behalf of the Washington State Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

As an instructor and mediation consultant to the City of Seattle, Mr. Poort has assisted in numerous matters regarding police liability, use of force, police pursuit, lethal force reviews and inquests, police officer domestic violence, sex offender reviews, abuse of children and dependant adults, and workplace standards and policies.  His case consultation and review have involved the Seattle Police Department and other some other Washington State Agencies to date. Because of his recent retirement, successful career with SPD and recognized experience in Washington State, the field of cases open to his consulting have now opened up to agencies and individuals in other states and jurisdictions as well. Practical considerations and limits in the course of his employment with SPD have, until now, limited Mr. Poort to cases where the permission of SPD was required and the interest of his own agency considered in working with outside agencies.

  • Litigation Support, Discovery, Statements and Interviews
  • Criminal Case Review
  • Expert Witness
  • Pre-Trial Case Review
  • Preparation of Opinion Reports
  • Affidavits and Depositions
  • Rebuttal Declarations
  • Court Testimony

He conducted hundreds of due process hearings for SPD and the City of Seattle relating to the release of vehicles impounded when a driver was arrested for the crime of Driving While License Suspended.

·        Pre-Trial Case Review

·        Preparation of Opinion Reports

·        Affidavits and Depositions

·        Rebuttal Reports

·        Court Testimony


·        Expert Witness

·        Policy Development

·        Internal Investigation Reviews

·        Police Best Practices

·        Training


Police Procedures Review examination and audit of current or proposed policies and procedures.
Court Preparation, Review, and Testimony review, analysis, critique, case preparation, and expert witness in law enforcement related litigation.
Training and Public Safety Consulting customized training for a wide range of commercial, industrial and public entities.


Health Industry Fraud and Business Risk Management review, analysis, investigation, and expert witness.