Tentative SPD contract now in the hands of Seattle City Council

Oct 15, 2018, 5:53 PM | Updated: Oct 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

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Seattle Police have been working without a contract, or a pay raise, since 2014. Mayor Jenny Durkan says that’s unacceptable.

RELATED: Seattle Police, King County near major staffing, recruitment crisis

“No worker, and particularly those who protect us, should go without a pay raise for that long,” Durkan said as she announced she had transmitted the tentative six-year contract agreement to the Seattle City Council for final approval Monday.

“We all know what’s happened in Seattle during that period of time. Home prices alone in that period of time have grown 70 percent in the city of Seattle and yet we were asking our officers to just hang tight,” Durkan added.

“This contract is critical to meeting the public safety needs of every neighborhood and community in our city and continue the important job of reform, while helping ensure Seattle can hire and retain the best police officers,” Durkan said.

Under the six-year deal, cops would get about a $12,000 cumulative pay bump.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best says that’s long overdue and will go a long way in helping with staffing, which she says has become difficult due to low unemployment and the lack of competitive pay.

“We are not going to be able to do effective law enforcement unless we have people coming in the door who are committed to law enforcement. We’re not going to lower our standards, but we want to make sure we compensate them fairly for the work that they’re doing,” Best said.

The police union overwhelmingly approved the contract.

“The Seattle Police Officers Guild would like to thank Mayor Jenny Durkan, who inherited this ‘contract mess’ from her two predecessors, who unfortunately, did not choose to respect the labor laws of Washington,” said SPOG President Kevin Stuckey.

“From the onset, Mayor Durkan made getting a new SPOG contract a top priority and her team followed her leadership and got the work done at the bargaining table,” he continued.

The agreement provides retroactive pay to Seattle police officers for the last four years, as well as continuing cost of living increases for officers in 2019 and 2020, making Seattle officers the fourth highest paid of the seven largest departments on the West Coast.

The accountability reform legislation, passed by City Council in 2017, is now bargained for in this agreement and includes key provisions, such as:

  • Full implementation of body-worn cameras by front line officers
  • Management improvements in transfers and performance evaluations
  • Improvements and clarity for the 180 timeline for investigations of police complaints
  • Civilianization of OPA supervisor positions and a HR leadership role in SPD
  • Office of the Inspector General provided full and unfettered access to fulfill duties under the accountability
  • The Guild will withdraw several pending Unfair Labor Practice claims.

Mayor Durkan said she was hopeful the city council would approve the contract in the coming days and that she had no reason to think they wouldn’t.

It’s unclear when the council will vote on the contract. Requests for reactions from councilmembers were not answered.

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Tentative SPD contract now in the hands of Seattle City Council