Mayor releases proposed oversight ordinance

Public input sought on proposed ordinance

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:24 p.m.

Spokane Mayor David Condon released this afternoon a revised version of a proposed ordinance that would enhance independent civilian police oversight.

The proposed ordinance and a separate tentative contract agreement with the Spokane Police Guild delivers the highest level of independent civilian police oversight in the state of Washington. This proposed ordinance assures transparency, investigative integrity and independence for the ombudsman, who will now be hired and report to an independent civilian commission selected.

“Over the past several months, we have been working extremely hard toward a common goal of enhancing independent civilian oversight and improving police services,” Condon said.

Discussions have included members of the City Council and community groups to construct an ordinance that achieves independent civilian oversight of our police department within the parameters of Proposition 1 voted for by citizens, state law and labor law. Conversations have also included the past president of the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, Pierce Murphy, and representatives of other Northwest cities to gain perspective and input to make citizen oversight in Spokane a model.

The proposed ordinance expands independent civilian police oversight and creates an independent civilian commission, as well as the opportunity for the commission to engage an independent third-party agency, if necessary, to resolve investigative issues

“As an experienced police oversight executive, I see a lot to be positive about this ordinance,” Murphy said. “The independence of the Police Ombudsman is clearly strengthened by his ability to request further investigation when he considers it necessary, and even ask the Commission to compel the Police Department to conduct additional investigation.”

“As an independent oversight professional, the Police Ombudsman will have full and unrestricted access to complaint investigations as they are being conducted and even participate in interviews and ask questions of those being interviewed,” Murphy continued. “Access such as this is rare for independent oversight officials.”

Spokane Police Guild President, Officer John Gately, expressed continuing support for enhanced independent civilian police oversight during an afternoon news conference.

Public discussions are planned over the next two weeks. Citizens can:

  • Dial into a public safety Telephone Town Hall meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. at 888.409.5380
  • Attend a discussion with the full Community Assembly on Friday at 4 p.m. in the Council Briefing Center in City Hall
  • Attend a traditional Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. at the West Central Community Center
  • Comments may also be submitted to