After four years of negotiating the city could soon have a new police contract.
Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward announced the contract in a press conference Friday and members of the city council and police union both voiced their support.
The new contract would retroactively provide officers with years of raises they missed while it was negotiated, and will require independent oversight.
“What we’re celebrating today is the result of what happens when you do get to the table face to face, in person outside of what we’re experiencing today,” Woodward said. “That dynamic changes everything and allows you to listen better and learn more.”
This proposal is Woodward’s second attempt at getting a new contract. In June her proposal was unanimously voted down by the city council, members saying it did not comply with the city charter.
While most city leaders and the police union have agreed that raises are overdue, oversight has long been a sticking point. In 2013 voters overwhelmingly approved a measure that gave the ombudsmen more power to investigate police misconduct.
Previous contracts including the rejected proposal did not give the ombudsmen independent investigative authority.
Spokane City Councilwoman Betsy Wilkerson said the proposal is a good first step, and moves the community forward.
“I think it lays the groundwork for the next contract as we can come together on really what our city says it wants to see in our police department,” Wilkerson said. “I think we’re really on the same page, and reform has started and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Before the contract can go into effect both members of the police union and the city council must vote to adopt it. Once both groups have voted, it will apply retroactively from 2017 to the end of this year. The city and the police guild will go to work later this year on a new contract for 2022.