City Council strengthens police accountability subpoena powers — and, they hope, Seattle’s leverage in contract fight with police union

The City of Seattle has new leverage in its upcoming contract fight with the city’s police union. The City Council voted Monday to strengthen the subpoena powers of the Office of Police Accountability and Office of Inspector General.

The legislation passed Monday will empower the offices to subpoena witnesses and officers involved in incidents of reported police misconduct, clarifying the powers that had been weakened in recent SPD union contracts.

“For our civilian-led police accountability system to work, investigators must have access to key information in pursuing misconduct complaints,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold representing West Seattle and chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee. “The City will negotiate aspects of this legislation in the next police union contract to keep us on the path toward realizing true accountability and transparency.” Continue reading