Posted: 8:14 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013

Some SPD rank and file 'embarassed and outraged' at Hempfest Doritos plan

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Seattle police dealing Doritos at Hempfest  photo
Seattle polilce plan to hand out Nacho Cheese Doritos this weekend at Hempfest, the world's largest pro-pot rally. (FritoLay)

By Amy Clancy

The Seattle Police Department is getting national attention for its plan to hand out Doritos at this weekend's Hempfest.

But some officers, who did not want to speak on-camera, tell KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy they don't like the plan at all.

"I am embarrassed and outraged," one said. "We sink lower each day."

The department plans to hand out 1,000 packages of Doritos to attendees at Hempfest, the world's largest pro-pot rally, which is expected to draw more than 250,000 people between Friday and Sunday.

The Doritos bags will include a label with information meant to clear up any confusion about the state's new marijuana legalization.

The plan, informally called "Operation Orange Fingers," comes just as Seattle's mayor announced an additional $400,000 of city budget money will be spent on Seattle Police overtime through the rest of the year, so that officers can better battle what some are calling increasing and visible violence in the city.

But the Doritos are being paid for by the Seattle Police Foundation, so police say taxpayers won't foot the bill.

"It's meant to be funny, and ultimately our No. 1 goal is community outreach and public education," said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, who also is speaking on a Hempfest stage Saturday. "It totally buys into the stereotype, but in this particular case, we feel that we'll be getting our message out."

When Clancy asked Mayor Mike McGinn if the effort at Hemp Fest might have been better focused elsewhere, he laughed and said he was "stunned by the beauty of the question."

"It's part of what we do," he said. "We educate the public about what the laws are."

He applauded the Doritos plan, which he calls "creative." Interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel said Whitcomb will be handing out the Doritos on his own time.

"And perhaps I will be down there on my own time," Pugel said. "No public dollars."

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