Council President Harrell’s Statement on SPOG Agreement

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Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle), Chair of the Labor Relations and Policy Committee (LRPC), issued the following statement following the 8-1 passage of Council Bill 119368, an ordinance authorizing the execution of a collective bargaining agreement between the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild:

“This agreement allows us to move forward with a level of certainty that will put the Seattle Police Department and Chief Carmen Best in the best position to improve public safety, hire and deploy more patrol officers, and advance police reforms. Most importantly, the new contract ensures full implementation of body worn cameras by front-line police officers. I believe this is the ultimate tool for police accountability, public safety, and as a training tool to improve policing performance.

“While we cannot amend the terms of the agreement, we must honor and respect the outcome of what was negotiated in the process. I do not disagree with some of the concerns raised from community members. We have been side-by-side these last eight years on advancing reform and pushed for these measures at the bargaining table. However, delaying or rejecting this agreement would in fact thwart our police reform efforts because of a likely prolonged legal battle. Ultimately, U.S. District Judge James Robart, who is overseeing our reform efforts, will have final say on the contract and accountability legislation. I expect Judge Robart to hold the City accountable and issue orders, if the agreement is out of compliance with the Consent Decree. Police reform is not a destination, but a continuous commitment for a learning organization to review and improve training, policies, and police conduct. At the end of the day, we must support and give Chief Best and the Seattle Police Department the resources to succeed and we do that with the passage of the agreement today.”