Why not try real solutions?
Spokane could just decide to love its community more. Everyone wants less crime, but leaning on police to do all the work just creates more prisoners. We need to actually invest in our community; in each other.
In the wake of nationwide unrest due to the murder of George Floyd, Spokane’s Mayor Nadine Woodward released a draft police contract that would reduce independent oversight of the police.
You read that correctly — instead of a bold policy to respond to protestor demands to end police violence and invest in our communities, she is proposing to make the police less accountable.
Time is short! The draft contract was released to the City Council this week and a vote is expected next Monday June 15th. To stop this awful contract from passing, we need to demand the city council reject any contract that violates the city charter and fails to provide independent oversight of the police.
Edit the email below or add an opening sentence to personalize it!
Email to: All council members, Mayor Woodward, Chief Meidl (addresses below)
Email subject line (editable): Reject the Police Guild contract!
Email text (editable):
We all want our families to be whole and our communities to be vibrant. No matter our race, how little is in our wallet, or whether we live on a city block or a country road, we all want to move through our communities without fearing for our lives or our loved ones.
You are holding public office at a very important moment in our country’s history. We are coming together – from country roads to suburbs to cities – to stand with Black leaders across the country who are calling for divestment from police and prisons and for investment in health, education, housing, arts and culture, and the environment. We know a better future is possible. By pulling together, we can make this a place where all of us can not only survive, but thrive.
Here in Spokane, decades of calls for real oversight of police have been stymied time and again by Police Guild contracts and the failure of Mayoral administrations to produce real results that comply with the City’s own Charter which mandates OPO independence and investigations. Now more than ever, we must strengthen, not weaken, independent oversight of police.
I am writing to call on you to reject the proposed contract because it guts the independence of the Office of Police Ombudsman and the Ombudsman Commission and violates the City Charter:
The proposed contract prohibits independent investigations of police behavior
The proposed contract prohibits public closing reports with findings and recommendations on Internal Affairs investigations of police behavior
The proposed contract would gut the independence of the Office of Police Ombudsman and the community members on the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission! This contract would give the Police Guild even more power to file a grievance against a candidate for the job of Ombudsman to stop them from being appointed. In addition, it would give the Guild the ability to attempt to have the Ombudsman or an Office of Police Ombudsman Commission Member removed for “exceeding their authority under the collective bargaining agreement.”
“This is a huge impediment to the OPO and its commission from doing its job without fear of retaliation and removal. It will encourage the OPO and its commission members to play it safe and not push for full implementation of the Charter, the municipal code and civilian police oversight. There is already a basis under the municipal code for removing an ombudsman or commission member who violates the law, but it is controlled by the City Council and the Ombudsman Commission rather than the union being investigated.” – quoting Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs who has provided analysis of the contract.
The proposed contract would reduce OPO participation in Use of Force review
The proposed contract fails to give OPO authority to mandate officer interviews.
I am calling on you to refuse to approve any contract that fails to create independent investigations and transparent public closing reports or fails to protect the full independence and authority of the Office of Police Ombudsman and Ombudsman Commission. Please respond with your position on this issue.
Nadine Woodward (Mayor)
Craig Meidl (Police Chief)
Breean Beggs (City Council President)
Kate Burke (City Council Member, 1)
Michael Cathcart (City Council Member, D1)