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Seattle police union approves contract with city

After more than three years without a contract, Seattle police officers voted to ratifying a new contract agreement with the city of Seattle.

The Seattle Police Officers' Guild has voted to ratify a collective-bargaining contract with the city that includes pay raises while imposing comprehensive accountability reforms.

Guild President Kevin Stuckey says that 1,013 of 1,059 returned ballots voted to accept the contract offer.

The contract is now subject to City Council approval.

“This marks the end of a long negotiation process. This contract recognizes the hard work done by all Seattle Police Officers and rightfully compensates them as the highest paid officers in Washington State,” said Seattle Police Guild Vice President and Lead Negotiator Sergeant Rich O’Neill. “It is my hope that this new deal will assist in recruiting and retaining officers for the Seattle Police Department.”

The two sides reached a tentative agreement last month on a six-year contract, retroactive to 2015. The last contract expired at the end of 2014.

Under the deal, guild members would receive “wage increases, changes to the OPA disciplinary system to include the new Inspector General position and two civilian investigators for the Office of Police Accountability, and the acceptance of the Body Worn Video Camera Program,” according to a press release.

“Even without a contract, our officers deserve credit for the significant changes that have been made during the Consent Decree process, which has now reached ‘full and effective’ compliance. Officers have embraced the use of body cameras, new trainings that emphasize de-escalation, a new approach to how officers interact with people experiencing mental crisis, and improved supervision and oversight with community involvement. And it has made a difference across this city,” said Chief Carmen Best. “Mayor Durkan and I are committed to making sure we have the best department in the country. We will continue to support our officers, continue the focus on public safety and community policing, and ensure the Department reflects the best values of Seattle, including equity, inclusion and respect.”