Law Enforcement Accountability

Law Enforcement Accountability

Spokane League supports an independent Office of Police Ombudsman
Position In Brief: 

LWVWA based on our 10+ years of supporting the Police Ombudsman with independent investigation calls on the City Council 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 disclosure of 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.”
Position History: 

Law Enforcement Accountability (2008) The LWVSA favors formation of an oversight system for law enforcement.  To be effective said system would need to have:

  • Independence
  • Sufficient and clearly defined scope
  • Adequate resources
  • Access to department records, yet maintain confidentiality and anonymity
  • Adequate authority, including some authority to investigate
  • Ability to compel cooperation and testimony of officers
  • Community involvement

The preferred model would be a hybrid that would include an ombudsman and a citizen advisory panel.

Re-adopted at Annual Meeting, May 2013

Regarding current Spokane Police Guild Contract 6-2020

“This is a huge impediment to the Office of Police Ombudsman (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

Issues: 
Democratic government depends upon informed and active participation at all levels of government.
League to which this content belongs: 
Spokane Area