The agreement with the department’s 74 captains and lieutenants amounts to a key endorsement of the City Council’s wide-ranging police-accountability ordinance and moves SPD closer to compliance with a 2012 consent-decree negotiated with the U.S. Department of Justice.
After years of failed negotiations and stalemate, the union representing lieutenants and captains in the Seattle Police Department has reached a tentative contract agreement with the city that includes the endorsement of sweeping police reforms and the trial use of body cameras by some supervisors.
The notice of settlement between the city and the Seattle Police Managers Association (SPMA) was filed with the City Council by the office of Mayor Tim Burgess on Monday, with the council expected to act on it next week, said Ian Warner, legal counsel to the mayor’s office and the city’s chief negotiator.
The contract is retroactive to January 2014 and will expire in just over a year, at the end of December 2019.
City officials hope that settling with the police managers and having them buy into the historic police reforms will be an incentive for the larger Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) to settle its contract. The rank-and-file officers have been without a contract since 2014.
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“This sends quite a signal to SPOG,” Warner said. “This is a big deal.”
After years of dickering — including an unfair-labor-practice complaint — the agreement with the SPD’s 74 captains and lieutenants amounts to a key endorsement of the City Council’s wide-ranging police-accountability ordinance. It also moves the department that much closer to compliance with a 2012 consent-decree negotiated with the U.S. Department of Justice over findings that officers routinely used excessive force. FBI investigators also found evidence of biased policing.
The proposed contract deal includes a “memorandum of understanding” in which the SPD supervisors agreed to endorse the ordinance, including a controversial section allowing for what Warner called the “civilianization” of the department’s Office of Police Accountability, which investigates allegations of police wrongdoing. The OPA currently is overseen by a civilian director, but its investigators and supervisors all are sworn officers.
Warner said the police managers have endorsed a change that will move two lieutenants and a captain out of OPA and replace them with civilian supervisors.
The memorandum also provides for a trial period in which some lieutenants will wear body cameras, Warner said.
A telephone message seeking comment from Capt. Mike Edwards, the president of the SPMA, was not returned Monday. A message left with Sgt. Kevin Stuckey, president of SPOG, also was not returned.
Burgess, in a prepared statement, said he was “very pleased” with the agreement.
“This is great news for this city and for the union,” said Burgess, a former Seattle police detective.
“I cannot overstate how significant it is that these dedicated lieutenants and captains chose to voluntarily and explicitly embrace our new police-accountability ordinance as part of their contract.
“This is what strong leadership looks like,” Burgess said. “We should all aspire to the kind of dedication and commitment to public service that these officers have shown.”
City Councilmember M. Lorena González praised the management union for bringing the city “one step closer toward full implementation of our police-accountability legislation.”
In exchange, the managers will receive raises totaling 10.25 percent from 2014 through this year. Next year, the supervisors will receive another raise amounting to 100 percent of the consumer-price-index inflation rate.
What it means is that a senior captain’s salary will go from $162,096 at the start of the contract to $179,952 this year. A senior lieutenant would see a salary jump from $136,308 to $150,828.
As part of the deal, the SPMA will drop the unfair-labor-practice complaint it filed with the state, according to the documents.