David Condon

Public safety discussions scheduled

David Condon, Mayor, No Phone Number Available

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 1 p.m.

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

That has included discussion with 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, state law and labor law.

Proposition 1 states that the Ombudsman independent investigative authority:

“to ensure that investigation of complaints against police officers are accomplished in a timely, fair and thorough manner… within the limits of the Revised Code of Washington, Washington State case law, Public Employment Relations Commission decisions, the Spokane Municipal Code, and any collective bargaining agreements in existence at the time this amendment takes effect.”

We have talked to the past president (PDF 80 KB) of the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement and representatives of other Northwest cities to gain perspective and input to make independent citizen police oversight in Spokane a model.

This has been a challenging and productive process. Individual points of view have shifted frequently over the past several weeks and the community has received mixed messages.

We sought clarification from the City Council. The response in a letter (PDF 55 KB) dated November 14 was “7 different descriptions of independent authority” (PDF 75 KB) – demonstrating the challenge before us.

However, one thing became clear – the City Council remained aligned to our common goal of enhancing citizen oversight and improving police services.

Today, I presented to the community for input a proposed ordinance (PDF 109 KB) and a tentative contract agreement (PDF 549 KB) that 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.

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

It gives us unprecedented civilian police independent oversight, locks in compensation that we know we can afford and allows us the ability to expand our services.

We continued the community dialogue last night with citizens who serve on the public safety committee of the Community Assembly and will continue discussion regarding my proposed ordinance over the next couple of weeks:

  • Citizens can dial into a public safety Telephone Town Hall meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. at 888.409.5380
  • We will be having a discussion with the full Community Assembly on Friday at 4 p.m. in the Council Briefing Center in City Hall
  • We will host a traditional Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. at the West Central Community Center

You can also send your comments to mayor@spokanecity.org.

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