Spokane, WA Voters Approve Independent Review of Police Misconduct, Waiting for Police Union Approval

actual training exerciseSpokane PDIn February, by a margin of more than two to one, voters in Spokane, Washington approved a city charter amendment that established an independent ombudsman to review police misconduct. More than a half year later, the city still doesn’t have the police oversight it voted for. The hold-up? The police union, whose contract expired in 2011. Union and city officials have reportedly reached a “tentative” agreement, but won’t disclose the details. At least one councilmember has proposed an ordinance that would establish what should have been done after the February vote. The city council will take up the ordinance tonight, as the Spokesman-Review reports:

[Steve] Salvatori said adopting the ordinance Monday would not preclude making changes after a contract is approved.

He said the public, through the ballot, has been demanding independent oversight of police.

“Democracy does not go on hold because there is not a contract,” he said.

Salvatori characterized the agreement as a “thoughtful product” but said he and other council members are required to keep the terms confidential until the tentative agreement is approved by the Police Guild.

He said he believes the negotiations over the ombudsman’s role should have been done publicly with participation by the guild.

The police union would not comment to the paper. The City Council president, meanwhile, wants to postpone tonight’s vote until the police contract is made public, while others have raised concerns that cops might vote no on the proposed contract if the city council establishes independent investigative authority for an ombudsman first, begging the question of who exactly is working for who(m).

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Fire them. Rehire at will one by one.

  • SugarFree||

    Fire them. Rehire at will one by one.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Set Fire to them. Rehire at will one by one.

  • sarcasmic||

    begging the question of who exactly is working for who(m).

    I've always thought it was puzzling to use the word "servant" to describe someone who coerces those they supposedly serve.

    It's almost as if this mythical Public that they serve is everyone except any individual member of this Public that they encounter.

    Like the Divine Right of the King.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    "cops might vote no on the proposed contract if the city council establishes independent investigative authority"

    Vote no. Then see Sruffy above.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Scruffy.

  • Brett L||

    I intend to insist that all of my dealings with law enforcement in FL be conducted under the Florida Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights. Specifically sections (1) and (3) only substitute citizen for LEO.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Fuck me! It's like an ACLU lawyer's wet dream...for cops only, of course.

  • Brett L||

    Well, that would violate several clauses of the Constitution, so this must just be a clarification of ALL citizen's rights in Florida, right?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    "Do I want independent oversight of my work? No, I don't think I do."

  • Anonymous Coward||

    "If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear from independent oversight."

    Aqua Buddha be praised, that felt good!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh, I'm afraid you can't pass a law - and you certainly can't amend a charter - that goes against a union contract.

  • Mongo||

    Minneapolix has tried civilian reviews - some independent - over the years and were quickly eroded by the city council, mayors and business leaders as everyone knows THE COPPERS ARE NEVER WRONG.

  • GILMORE||

    ""civilian""

    you are aware that police are themselves 'civilian' agencies?

    if a cop decides not to do their job, they get fired

    if a member of the military decides not to do their job, they go to jail

    cops are just municipal employees, not members of the armed forces

  • Paul.||

    Union and city officials have reportedly reached a “tentative” agreement, but won’t disclose the details.

    Why?

    All contracts and agreements with any Public Sector Union should be publicly available during the entire process. This isn't a private negotiation between private business entities. This is a Public Union negotiating with management. And management = The People.

  • GILMORE||

    DUNPHY ALERT!! DUNPHY ALERT!! DUNPHY ALERT!! DUNPHY ALERT!!

    RESPOND IMMEDIATELY TO PERVASIVE ANTICOP BIGOTRY, STAT!! NOTE THAT SPOKANE IS PART OF YOUR STOMPING GROUND AND THAT THESE PRECINCTS ARE SOOO AWESOME NORMALLY AND PEOPLE JUST DONT UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEX ISSUES AT PLAY AND HOW "CIVILIANS" ARE MISINFORMED AND SOMETHING ABOUT FAIR BARGAINING AND HOW THE COP UNIONS ARENT REALLY DICKS LIKE THOSE OTHER DICK UNIONS THAT ACT THE SAME WAY... YADDA YADDA YADDA

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement