The Seattle Police rank and file were part of the fun Saturday as Capitol Hill’s East Precinct hosted its annual community picnic, this year back on 12th Ave in front of the precinct headquarters. If you noticed brighter smiles, one, hopefully the brass did all the work grilling the free hot dogs. Two, everybody is about to get a raise.
It’s not exactly a celebration but there is likely more than a little relief that the union representing the department’s more than 1,300 personnel seems to have finally reached a compromise deal with the city on a new contract that will give officers solid raises while also tying further reforms to the package.
The Seattle Times has had the most robust reporting on the tentative deal that comes in the fourth year without a contract for the union:
Seattle police officers and sergeants would receive accumulated pay raises of more than 17 percent under a tentative collective-bargaining agreement with the city, according to sources familiar with the six-year deal. In exchange, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) agreed to the removal of a stringent legal standard governing how officers can be fired for dishonesty; will allow the city to add civilians to the Police Department’s internal-investigation office; and narrow the appeals process for officers who have been disciplined, according to the sources.
Part of the deal is expected to include an agreement on the “civilianization” of the department’s Office of Police Accountability.
The boost in salary, meanwhile, will be retroactive to 2015 meaning officers will receive back pay covering the last three and a half years they have been without a contract.
Getting the contract sorted out will go a long way toward helping new SPD Chief Carmen Best get off to a good start on her efforts to finish Seattle’s federally-mandated police reform process. “We have persevered under intense scrutiny setting national standards for modern day policing,” Best said last week as she was sworn in as the full-time chief. “We’re a shining example to other departments. But this — this is only the beginning. We are going to keep raising the bar.”
The contract must now be ratified by the union and the Seattle City Council.
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