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Seattle council members call for changes in mayor's approach to police reform

The Seattle Police Department has been under a consent decree since 2012.

SEATTLE — Seattle city council members are saying it's time address a federal ruling requiring changes to the Seattle Police Department when it comes to police accountability. 

Council members sent an eight-page letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan on Monday highlighting how the city should approach an August 15 deadline to address the federal ruling.

In May, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart said the appeal process for fired or disciplined officers needs to be adjusted before the department can be in full compliance.  

The deadline to address the ruling was scheduled for July 15, but the city was given a one-month extension. 

RELATED: Seattle Police Department partially out of compliance with consent decree

"We are asking that SPOG [Seattle Police Officer's Guild] jointly come to the table to address the concerns from Judge Robart, who sits in this very courtroom," said Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez.  

The letter includes four preferred next steps recommended by the city council: 

  • Exhausting all efforts to reach an agreement with the Seattle Police Officer's Guild by August 15. 
  • Immediately pursue an already agreed upon contract re-opener with the city and the union regarding the terms that seek to limit the subpoena powers for the Office of Police Accountability and Office of Inspector General. 
  • Set the framework for future negotiations by presenting a set of principles and values the city intends to follow. 
  • Begin future labor negotiations with the union as soon as possible to allow the maximum amount of time for a joint agreement. 

A spokesperson for Mayor Jenny Durkan's office said the city has been working to respond to the federal ruling since it was issued in May. 

"The City Council has been briefed twice by the City Attorney, and the Mayor, at her monthly meeting with Councilmember González, and offered to meet on the Consent Decree," said Kamaria Hightower, the mayor's spokesperson.

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