The Seattle City Council took a step in the right direction Monday, unanimously passing a resolution recognizing community members and city accountability groups who have spoken out about the need for a strong police accountability system.
The resolution, from the Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee led by Councilmember Lisa Herbold, memorialized that community testimony and said they would work in good faith to consider raising the concerns identified by the public and the City’s police oversight agencies.
While this in no way guarantees the next contract will live up to the promises our elected leaders have made to community on police accountability, it’s a step in the right direction.
However, we must continue to work in partnership to ensure Seattle implements the historic 2017 Accountability Law and institutes lasting reforms within the police department. The CPC has given city leaders a road map for how to do that.
Community members packed City Hall in December when the Community Police Commission and Council jointly hosted a hearing for people to talk about their priorities in the upcoming contract negotiations with Seattle police unions. As we know, police contracts are a critical part of ensuring we have a strong police accountability system. At the hearing, there was strong consent that the way to do that is by implementing the reforms in the historic 2017 Accountability Law.
Meanwhile, the CPC is continuing to highlight community concerns in federal court as we fight to make sure a strong police accountability system in place before we are discharged from the Consent Decree. We filed our latest court brief earlier this month.
What comes next?
The first step, and one that the city can do at any time, is committing to appoint an expert in Seattle’s police accountability system to the city’s police contract bargaining team. That experts should be jointly appointed by the CPC, Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Police Accountability. This is the way city leaders can make sure they have all the expertise they need in the negotiating room to fulfill their promises to community.
Want to get involved and help advocate for a strong police accountability system in Seattle? Email OCPC@Seattle.gov.