Mayor Issues Statement About Police Contract

City Council scheduled to consider contract tonight during meeting tonight

Brian Coddington, 509.625.6740

Monday, June 29, 2020 at 5:23 p.m.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward issued a statement about the police contract, which is scheduled for consideration tonight by the City Council. The statement is as follows:

“Tonight is an opportunity for Spokane to enhance a civilian police oversight model that is already ahead of what most communities are doing nationally. The contract, as proposed, will lock in multiple improvements and immediately start work on making our process even better.

Spokane citizens want to continue advancing the oversight process. Anything short of confirming the contract leaves the community with no improvements to oversight, an open bargaining process that severely limits any further immediate reform discussion, and uncertainty that is very likely to cost taxpayers more to reach the same enhanced oversight agreement or revert back to existing oversight.

Contract negotiations were completed prior to the current national conversation. The call for reforms and continued improvement of our police department are something everyone is interested in, including the men and women of the Spokane Police Department. Approving this contract is a way to keep us moving forward and leading as a community.

Closure on the contract would give us a straight, clear, and immediate path toward taking the next steps in civilian oversight from a new, advanced starting point. To be clear, the contract, if approved, will:

  • Extend authority to perform duties beyond the ombudsman to the regular full and part-time members of the Office of Police Ombudsman staff
  • Allow the ombudsman and staff to attend Use of Force Review Board, Collision Review Board, and Deadly Force Review Board meetings, recommend policy and procedural changes, and audit operation of the boards to improve such reviews
  • Ensure the OPO is provided all documentation in possession of the police department that is relevant to a complaint, including internal affairs documents and body-worn camera video
  • Clarify that review and investigative procedures apply to complaints received by the OPO and those sent directly to the police department
  • Allow the OPO to challenge the chief’s classification of a complaint and type of investigation
  • Expand the ability of the OPO to review all complaints and seek further investigation and not limit inquiry to those that may rise to the level of warranting a suspension or termination
  • Clarify what may be included in the OPO’s closing report after the ombudsman’s initial review, mediation, internal investigation, or the OPO’s independent investigation
  • Add the ability for the OPO to provide input to case summaries prepared following the completion of an internal affairs investigation
  • Add the ability to conduct an independent investigation when the police department declines to investigate

Spokane can take another critically important step with the approval of this contract. We must keep improving to keep our place as a leader in civilian police oversight. Regardless of the outcome tonight, we remain committed to working with the City Council to do what is best for the community.”