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Council News Release

10/7/2009  4:15:00 PM
Lisa Herbold, Licata Office, (206)768-8803 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Nick Licata

Statement from Councilmember Nick Licata on todays PERC decision

Today the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) upheld an important law for citizen review of Seattles Police accountability efforts.

The Seattle Police accountability system, called the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), has a citizen review board, the OPA Review Board or OPARB. The law I led the Council to pass in 2006 gave OPARB access to closed disciplinary files and obligated them to strict confidentiality in their review of those files. OPARB cannot use that information to impact the outcome of any individual case, but it has a responsibility to review some sampling of cases to better inform them in practicing their obligation to make policy recommendations to the Council for OPA improvements.

I am gratified that todays PERC decision confirms the citys position that since the OPARB ordinance did not impact working conditions it did not need to be bargained.

In either event, I hope to hear that SPOG accepts the decision so that we all, police officers, city officials and citizen watchdogs can together put this chapter behind us. In doing so we can better concentrate on the important dialogue on the issues that police officers and citizens share: how to ensure the OPA is effective, fair, and responsive to all parties in resolving citizen complaints.

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