Breaking News
Mounties Face Crisis, No Solution in Sight         Push to Oust Louisville PD Chief Intensifying         CSLEA is Newest Member of PubSecAlliance         Ford is Fixing the Problem         “It’s Been An Honor to Work With Chief Marshman”         Automatic Dues Collection Under Attack         Cops Use Video to Go for Pay Raise         Understaffed Leads to Rise In Crime         R.I.P. Deputy Haak         Ruling On Body Cams: Use Must Be Negotiated         Rochester Police Locust Club (NY) Joins PubSecAlliance         Officer Acquitted Of Negligent Homicide         Texas Cops Oppose Anti-Union Bill         Insults Divide, Decency Unites         FOP Prez Threatened, Police Investigate         VIDEO: Sergeant’s Indictment Prompts Outpouring of Support         VIDEO: Sounding the Alarm On a Manpower Crisis         VIDEO: Dramatic Body Cam Footage!         VIDEO: Police Union Advises Action Amid “Breaking Point”         VT First State to OK Compensation for PTSD         Officer Suicides: Agencies Must Do More         Outsiders Clamor for Police Contract Changes         Governor Furloughs Workers, Hits the Beach         Recruit the Best at U.S. Army Reserves         VIDEO: Sergeant Charged With Murder 2         R.I.P. Officer Korchak         More Officers Taking Own Lives         Pride in Honoring Our Own         A Tale of Two Chiefs         New Accountability System Gives Civilians More Power         Police Unions Call for “Rational Voice”         Texas Moves to Save Pensions         City Refuses to Pay Officer’s Legal Bills         Rank and File Question Dubious Hiring         The Mounties Have Never Had to Contend With a Union         Police Week: Anguish, Anger, Empathy         Rookies Sue for OT Pay During Academy Training         FLSA Pay Ruling: Use Cash, Not Benefits         Record Crowd Attends Annual Candlelight Vigil         Everyone Needs Sleep, Especially Cops         Questions Raised About New John Jay President         Hennepin County Sheriff Joins NYPD Shield Program         Big Surprise: Paper Misrepresents Contract Talks         County Budget Leaves Us Underfunded         VIDEO: Omaha Unions Say No to Gov         City Says “No Police Floats” In Parade         One-Minute Man         Is This the Solution to Cop Shootings?         Ingredients for Better LE Outcomes         Why the Police Need Unions         Mounties Demand a Union & Contract         Indebted to Some Very Brave People         We’ve Been Abandoned by Politicos, Command Staff         VIDEO: The Most Hated Man In Pensionland         Underfunded Pensions: a Disaster Waiting to Happen         Another Ambush Attack!         Today, It’s You; Tomorrow, It’s a Security Guard         VIDEO: NJ Police May Get Control of Unfunded Pensions         Thousands of Officers to Get BIG Bonuses         Improving Economy Hurts LE Recruitment         Another Fundraising Scam         Threats to Police Retirement Programs Escalate         Conflict Rises, Billboards Go Up         NJ Unilaterally Changing Police Contract         Pensions Slowly Being Reduced and Replaced         Baltimore Chief: “No More Plainclothes”         When Will All This Stop?         Top Police Union Leader Joins Protest         VIDEO: “Line of Duty” is HERE!         Chicago Cops Get Thanks They Deserve         Mayors Missing as Pension Fund Goes Down         Pension Bill Draws Protest         Deputies Association Hires High-Powered PR Exec         Finally, a Contract for NYPD Officers         Nebraska Corrections Officers Seek Out F.O.P.         Outrage Grows Over Pension Plans in Peril         Sanctuary Cities: Police vs. Mayor         Police Unions Seek to Overhaul Obama’s Reforms         Super Bowl Security         Look Hard at Your Pension Fund         Pension Mediation Talks Cease; Lawsuit Looms         How Much Would You Pay for Policing?         Hazardous Workplace         Officers Leaving in Droves         Technology, Police, and Privacy         Fake Guns Destroy Lives         War Against Unions Gaining Ground         Washington D.C. Police Union in Turmoil         Teamsters Face 20% Cut in Pension Benefits         Body Cam Screw-ups Lead to Mistrial         VIDEO: Body Cam Catches Shootout         Restraining Order for Black Lives Matter Leader         New Chief Has Fight On His Hands         Pension Panic Spreads         Carrots and Sticks         Another Agency May Fold         Community and Police Join in Prayer         VIDEO: We Are There For You!         Feds Seek Repeat of Disastrous Police Hiring Practices         VIDEO: Officer’s Gift of Kindness Keeps on Giving         Is Trump Going After Collective Bargaining Rights?         Police Union Not “App”y         Police Union Fights Back Against Budget Cuts         Police Union Reinstates Body Cam Program         Citizen Wants Officer Fired for FB Post         VIDEO: Use of Force Policy Fiasco         Attacks on Law Enforcement         VIDEO: Where Is the Outrage?         Millions May Lose Overtime Pay         Mayor Violates Officer’s Right to Due Process         VIDEO: Police Union Heals With Song         State Moves to Nix Benefits From Collective Bargaining         City, Officer Cleared in Wrongful Death Case         Trump Puts OT, Benefits On Chopping Block         VIDEO: A World Without Law Enforcement         VIDEO: Shake It Off         HUGE Refund for AZ Public-Safety Pensioners         Eloquent Goodbye         Cheerleader In Chief         The Trouble With Trauma         Shocking News About Local Gov Pension Funds         See You In Court!         One of the Good Guys         Chief Resigns After No-Confidence Vote         Zika Virus Hits Cops         Iowa Officers Ambushed         Policing the Police         For Real Community Policing, Let Officers Do Their Jobs         VIDEO: Who Needs Cops?         VIDEO: Officer Breathes Life into Toddler         Civil Rights Lawyer: “Mayor Publicly Hanged Sergeant”         These Pensions Could Be in Trouble         Arlington PU Files Suit         Returning the Money         Better Pay Sought         Cam Policies Finalized         VIDEO: Officers Shot!         Officers Need to Review Body Cam Footage         Baltimore Cops’ DIY “Reforms”         It’s Time for Our Input on Use-of-Force Policies         VIDEO: Facebook Threat         Fort Worth POA Fed Up         Mayor Threatened Seattle Police Union         The Unthinkable May Come to Pass         PBA Needs Your Help for a Music Video         Police Union Objects to Defense Attorney’s Pin         Prop 57: Criminal’s Bill of Rights         Pension Panic in Dallas         True Reform Can Only Come From Within         A Harsh Look at Police Union Contracts         Private Pensions in Chile = Total Disaster         Judge Won’t Halt Body Cam Program         9/11: A Look Back         “We Searched Everywhere. We Never Found Anyone.”         “It Was Like Looking Into Hell”         Hellbent on Killing Unions         O.C. Deputies Land 8.5% Raise         Fake Cops Target Off-Duty Officer         Suing Over Social Media         Sr. Deputies Quit After No Raise         Police Pensions Endangered         Where’d the $$$ Come From?         VIDEO: Not Without Sacrifice         Newsweek: The State of U.S. Law Enforcement         Pride in Honoring Our Own         Local Newspaper Slanders Law Enforcement         Arbitrator: Firing Upheld of Officer Sending Racist Texts         Dallas Police Pensions Facing Disaster         More Unfair Attacks from the L.A. Times         Federal Judge: I’ll Steamroll Police Union         VIDEO: Here’s What Happened In Dallas         Officer Deaths Prompt FOP to Demand Action         Baton Rouge Police Union: We Are Grieving         VIDEO: PBA Prez Gets Ahead of Curve on Shooting         Make Threatening an Officer a Federal Crime         Union Prez Told to Not Wear Uniform         It’s Time to Have a Difficult Talk         An Officer’s Plea to the Public         Toxic Rhetoric Must Stop         Now, HERE’S Double-Dipping!         My Job, My Gun         VIDEO: Dade County PBA Speaks Out         Dallas Tragedy: How You Can Help         VIDEO: Indy F.O.P. Prez Talks Dallas         Reflections From a Dallas Police Officer         Using Video to Reach Members         The True Pride of Americans         VIDEO: We’ve Got a Jumper!         Alcohol & Cops: The Risks are Real         Portland Police Assoc. Prez Speaks Out         Supremes Limit DUI Test Laws         Send Your Challenge Coins!         Not Guilty         NYC PBA Honors Its Own         Sensible Policies for Body-Worn Cameras         Raw Deal         The New Face of Law Enforcement?         Indicted Sheriff To Get Pay Raise         RNC Convention: Cleveland Cops Set Up for Failure         LAPD Sgt.: “Ali Was Like a Gift”        
By May 30, 2017 Read More →

New Accountability System Gives Civilians More Power

Kevin Stuckey, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, said as long as the rules are legal under state law, he will support the changes.

Via The Stranger:

Last week the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a historic rewrite of the Seattle Police Department’s oversight system, marking the most dramatic change to the department’s accountability process in decades.

According to a recent news story written by reporter Lester Black for TheStranger.com, the legislation now awaits approval from the mayor, police unions and a federal judge. Sponsored by council member Lorena González, the plan brings more civilians into the police discipline system and greatly increases the number of city employees keeping tabs on the department.

Two unions that represent Seattle officers present the highest hurdle for the new accountability system. The Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA), which represents the department’s captains and lieutenants, filed an unfair labor practices complaint last October over the legislation, claiming the city is skirting its collective bargaining obligations by passing the legislation before the union agrees to the specific reforms.

Kevin Stuckey, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, told the council during the public comment period that he would not impede the legislation.

“My job here today is to tell you I am a worker. This is my community and I’m ready to get to work, I don’t impede anything. If this is what the community wants, they have a say in how the community is policed,” Stuckey said. “I’m just here to say let’s play by the rules, as long we play by the rules, the state law, I am in. I have always been in.”

SLorena González, chair of the public safety committee, called the legislation a step forward in enhancing trust between police and the residents of Seattle.
“I truly believe that this will be an accountability system that will have legitimacy amongst our officers and our accountability advocates. That is quite an achievement,” González said.

Some advocates say the legislation doesn’t go far enough, noting that it keeps the ultimate power to change Seattle PD policy and discipline cops in the hands of the mayor and chief of police, where that power has always been. Councilmember Kshama Sawant said the law was a small step toward the goal of police accountability, adding that she would have liked to see more meaningful civilian oversight in the mix.
“We need to have a separate, democratically-elected civilian review board, a body that has full powers to hold the police accountable and that itself can be held accountable,” Sawant said Monday before she voted for the law. “The closest that we have in this legislation is the Community Police Commission… however the commission has no direct power beyond the ability to speak up. It has no structure of authority over police rules, policies or power to subpoena officers.”

Standing on the steps of city hall, surrounded by many of the advocates that six years ago called on the Department of Justice to intervene in reforming the SPD, Mayor Ed Murray said he fully intends to sign the legislation.

Under the new law, the Office of Professional Accountability, the current agency that investigates police misconduct, is renamed the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) and will be supervised entirely by civilians, with a mix of civilian and sworn SPD officers serving as misconduct investigators. The OPA remains a unit within SPD and all discipline will still be ultimately up to the chief of police.

The law creates an entirely new Office of Inspector General, which will be charged with evaluating SPD’s policing, the OPA’s disciplinary investigations and issuing policy recommendations to the city. The inspector general will have a staff of three full time employees to conduct this oversight, and the inspector general is able to tell the OPA to further investigate a specific misconduct case if the inspector general feels it was inadequate.

The Community Police Commission (CPC), which was created in 2013 to provide community input on the court-ordered reforms to SPD, will be made a permanent body to act as a conduit for community input on policing in Seattle. The volunteer commissioners are a mix of lawyers, religious leaders and community leaders and will be supported by a staff of paid employees.

The CPC will not have power to investigate individual misconduct complaints, comment on individual complaints of misconduct or directly change SPD policy. The commission had sought the ability to conduct annual reviews of the inspector general and director of the OPA, but amendments to give those powers to the CPC failed at the public safety committee. Only councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Mike O’Brien voted to give those powers to the CPC.

The CPC did score some late wins Monday when the council passed amendments long requested by the commission:

• The ability for the CPC and OPA to add specific topics to the OIG’s yearly work plan. The OIG can still decline any additions from the CPC or OPA, but must do so in writing.

• The CPC was given the power to view confidential files attached to closed OPA investigations.

• A guarantee that the OPA, OIG and CPC will be sufficiently funded to enable each body to “perform all of its responsibilities.”

• The right for all three of the oversight entities to retain legal counsel outside of the city attorney’s office when the city attorney declines to represent the entities’ interests.

The law will also end the controversial Disciplinary Review Board, which heard officer’s appeals to disciplinary actions. The review board will be replaced by the Public Safety Civil Service Commission. The mayor will appoint two members to the commission, the city council will nominate one.

Monday’s vote comes five years, and tens of thousands of hours of work by advocates and lawmakers, after the city entered into its consent decree with the city in 2013 to reform the city’s police department, but the law still has at least three more hurdles on its way towards reality.

Should the mayor grace the legislation with his signature, it will then go to US District Judge James Robart, who will decide if the reforms violate a consent decree agreement between the Department of Justice and SPD. Chief Kathleen O’Toole warned in a letter last week, just as the legislation was nearing the finish line, that it was overly complex and could be incompatible with the intent of the consent decree.

Robart approved a draft of the legislation in January before it was introduced to the council, and wrote that complying with the consent decree “is a relatively easy standard to meet, and any number of legislative options might fit within the parameters of the Consent Decree.”

Murray declined to specify which parts of the legislation are dependent on negotiations with the city’s two police unions, citing state law protecting the secrecy of collective bargaining, but said the city would move ahead with creating the accountability system. When asked why there were no members of the SPD management standing with him on the City Hall steps Monday, Murray said the absence was unintentional.

“The chief was going to be here but I am not exactly sure why we don’t have someone here, but it was a SNAFU, not a snub,” Murray said.

Following that complaint, the city asked Robart last November to wade into the dispute on the grounds that bargaining with SPMA on the reforms prior to passing them would illegally delay progress on the consent decree. Robart declined to wade into the bargaining fight, saying there wasn’t sufficient reason to modify the city’s obligation to bargain with unions. Robart also told the police unions that he would not allow the reforms to be “held hostage” by the union negotiations.

The Washington Public Employment Relations Committee, which reviews unfair labor complaints for state employees, found in a preliminary ruling that SPMA’s rights could have been violated and will hear testimony and evidence for the case this July.

It’s not clear what parts, if any, of the legislation will be delayed because of the union negotiations. González said, in a press conference before the council meeting, that she expected the reforms to be implemented quickly.
“That is my hope, that by the end of this year we will be able to stand up all of these three entities and they will be set up for 2018 and beyond,” González said.

READ MORE

Posted in: Tactics

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: