The president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild admits he was agitated after Mayor Ed Murray ordered officers begin wearing body cameras, before negotiations were complete.
Kevin Stuckey told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don Show they were still working things out with the city on a long-term policy.
“Then Monday happened …,” he said.
Murray signed an executive order instructing all patrol officers and sergeants to wear body cams. The roll out is expected to begin July 22, when West Precinct bike cops start wearing them. The rest of the police force will be phased in over time.
The Seattle Police Officers Guild continues to negotiate a contract with the mayor’s office, body cam policy being one debated point. With his executive order, Murray has essentially sidestepped union negotiations.
Though it may seem like a simple change, Stuckey says that’s not the case. A change in work conditions, including the addition of a new tool, requires contract negotiations.
“We sit down and work it out,” he said. “A lot of times it doesn’t have to be monetary in nature at all. It could be something along the lines of how we deploy them.
“We have a lot of questions.”
Stuckey says the addition of body cams could tack on hours of extra work for an officer, depending on his/her current work load. That means less time on the street.
But Murray is concerned about police accountability. When he announced his executive order, Murray noted the recent fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles as another reason for police to wear body cams.
“There is an accountability tool,” Murray said. “One that is already standard in other big cities like Washington D.C. and Atlanta and local cities like Spokane. One that would be valuable to us during the investigation into this police shooting. There is a way for the public to know what happens during these use-of-force incidents. A way to resolve disputed facts in police shootings – body cameras for police.”
He argues that the cams will reduce use-of-force incidents and complaints about the department.
Meanwhile, the city is still working on police-accountability legislation, after U.S. District Judge James Robart said he wasn’t ready to approve the work in progress. The judge is presiding over the 2012 consent decree which requires the police department to reduce biased policing and excessive force.
Stuckey says the executive order on body cams makes it tougher to come to any kind of agreement.
And where is he sitting in negotiations now?
Listen to the entire interview here.