Spokane Still Waiting For Police to Agree to Independent Oversight Overwhelmingly Approved by Voters in February

not the empire state buildingIt’s going to take Spokane,
Washington at least a year to put into effect the
independent oversight
of the police department voters approved
by a more than two to one margin last February. The city council

to postpone until next February consideration of a new
labor agreement between the town and the police. The oversight
required by the voter-approved ordinance has to be implemented via
the police union contract because labor regulations consider
matters like oversight workplace issues subject to bargaining. The
police, so far, have not agreed to terms supporters of oversight
consider sufficient, while the mayor, along with the police chief,
have been pushing to leave the disciplinary portion of independent
oversight in their (by definition non-independent) hands.

Via the Spokesman-Review

Under the latest plan, ombudsman would participate in
internal investigations and subsequently report findings to an
unpaid citizen board appointed by the mayor and Spokane City
Council. If the board finds the internal investigation was
insufficient, the board can call for additional investigation or
the introduction of a third party to conduct a separate

In November, the council rejected the proposed police contract
because it did not allow for enough independence by the

[Police chief Frank] Straub warned that rejecting the proposed
contract would send negotiations to a state arbitrator, who could
order larger salary increases than the 2 percent annual increases
called for in the proposed agreement.

Collective bargaining privileges shouldn’t be a suicide pact for
cities, and certainly shouldn’t trump the “democratic process.”

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/17/spokane-still-waiting-for-police-to-agre

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