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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
6/25/2008  2:51:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Nigel Herbig, Burgess Office, (206) 684-8806

Councilmember Tim Burgess

COUNCIL COMMITTEE ADVANCES POLICE UNION CONTRACT
Public Safety Chair says, Agreement paves way for new era of policing in Seattle.

SEATTLE Councilmember Tim Burgess applauded todays approval of a new contract between the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) and the City by the Councils Culture, Civil Rights, Health and Personnel Committee.

Councilmember Burgess, chair of the Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee, said, This agreement paves the way for a new era of policing in Seattle. If the Full Council approves the contract on June 30th, Councilmember Burgess will bring forward a package of accountability measures that the agreement sanctions.

If ratified, the new contract will raise compensation levels for Seattle officers to the highest in Washington. These increases will help resolve long-term issues of recruitment and attrition. New officers will see a 36 percent jump in salary (to $64,300 over the four-year term of the contract), plus additional hiring incentives and moving allowances. Twelve-year veterans, as one example, will realize a 25.6 percent increase, to $90,500. The department is now well ahead of pace to achieve its 98-officer hiring target for this year.

The contract will also dramatically changefor the first time in at least 35 yearshow officers are deployed. Three patrol shifts will become six, some overlapping at critical, high-demand time periods. Officers will be assigned based on where and when they are most needed, predicated on 911-call patterns, crime statistics, and other key factors.

The new labor contract, along with the accountability ordinance changes Councilmember Burgess will be proposing, will strengthen Seattles three-part system of police oversight: (1) the civilian-led Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), which receives and investigates complaints of misconduct, (2) the independent civilian auditor, who reviews investigations, and (3) the OPA Review Board, which evaluates the complaint handling process and monitors trends. With the adoption of Burgess proposed ordinances, these entities will work in greater concert, collaborating on annual work plans, periodic audits, and community listening and outreach.

Councilmember Burgess said, Im confident that the Councils actions in the coming weeks will reflect both the value and honor we give our police officers and our expectations for their good service.

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