Mayor Hopeful City Council and Guild Will Condone Police Oversight Proposal

By Paige Browning

Monday, Spokane’s mayor laid out new plans for police oversight, and announced a series of meetings for the public to weigh in. 

Mayor David Condon’s administration and the police guild were sent back to the drawing board last month after their Tentative Agreement (TA) was unanimously denied by city council. Now, the Mayor proposes that the council include police oversight structure into a city ordinance, bypassing the TA. Condon says some things do not need to be negotiated in the guild contract.
Condon: “It is the purview of this administration and I believe many of the council members, that the things we are talking about are clearly identified as possible in the ordinance and would not need refinement in the contract.”
Condon’s proposal would work as follows: complaints sent to the police ombudsman would be studied by the ombudsman commission, who could then order a full investigation or contract a third party investigator. The ombudsman’s office would be involved in every step of the complaint process, but investigation could not directly result in officer discipline.
Condon says the ultimate police oversight model needs to follow state law, and have the guild’s support.
Condon: “We are working as closely as possible in the collaborative effort with the guild, so whether there is a challenge or not that will be their decision to make. But we feel comfortable with state law of what’s necessary to be negotiated and what is not.”
Condon hopes for an ordinance from the council as soon as possible. City council’s primary concern is upholding a voter approved proposition from last February, which mandated the creation of an ombudsman commission and that the ombudsman have independent investigative powers. The original TA was shot down by the council because it didn’t outline investigative powers.
The city is giving three options for the public input. The first is a telephone-town hall this Thursday at 6:00pm; the second is at the community assembly this Friday at 4pm in city hall, and the third is a town hall meeting Thursday, December 12th at the West Central Community Center. To join the tele-town hall this Thursday, call 888-409-5380.
Copyright 2013 Spokane Public Radio
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