Olympia Drills Down on Police Misconduct

Comments

1

What, no mention of the disgusting display of opposition to these bills from the Teamsters, WA State Labor Council, and other unions?

That’s right: the same unions who profess to support BLM are circling their wagons around abusive, racist cops... because... collective bargaining rules!

2

The story repeats some statistics regarding the numbers of appeals of disciplinary decisions. These statistics lack any context, specifically qualitiative context. Another employee may be disciplined, for poor work, being late, or mouthing off. Police officers are disciplined for killing people, maiming people, beating them, planting evidence, and other issues. Its misleading to compare an appeal for unnecessary shooting leading to death, to an appeal for failure to wear the name tag correctly. This is key. When a teacher messes up, there is no body. When a police officer messes up, there may be one.

3

Collective Bargaining DOES rule, NoSpin. Perhaps if you had a nice union job you wouldn't be so cranky all the time.

I understand why the other unions are uncomfortable with the restrictions on the arbitration process because - wait for it - unions represent their members.

But as a union member myself, I have long thought that unions need to get out of the arbitration business entirely, and focus on wages, benefits and working conditions.

Also, in regular union jobs, you can be fired with no chance for appeal for many reasons. I have known people who were fired for testing "hot" on a drug test, stealing, having sex on the job, giving friends or relatives breaks on utility bills, and running a private business with city property. I don't know why cops get such special treatment.

4

One thing the article doesn't mention, which I know is a big part of the problem :

There are many many cops out there with multiple community complaints against them, even multiple multi-million-dollar judgements which their city is required to pay, who still cannot be fired or held responsible in any way.

My own opinion is that any cop whose actions or police brutality ( excessive force ) lead to a court judgement, the cop should be immediately fired, and that no other police department in the state would be allowed to hire them.

I personally would go even further : Any cop who accumulates 3 or more community complaints within a 10 year period would ( If a civilian review board upholds the complaints ) also be fired, and forbidden from being hired as a cop in another jurisdiction.

If the problem is truly "bad apples" as we're constantly being told, you'll never improve things until you get rid of the "bad apples".

5

Here’s the thing: if one is a “good” cop, they find themselves in a quandary. They can’t trust their union, they can’t trust their employer, and they can’t trust some of their co-workers. If they speak up, they can find themselves fired, forced out, blacklisted, or worse. Their dues are going to defend their most dangerous co-workers.

And the longer your on the force, the higher the stakes get. If you lose your pension, you are SOL.

The union arbitration system perpetuates this. Discipline and termination should be a function of the HR department of the municipality in which they are employed, with input from an oversight commission. There’ll still be some politics, but overall it would be much cleaner and more just for everyone. And it might just start to change the us-vs-them mentality that is rampant in law enforcement.

6

All long overdue and greatly needed steps to protect all citizens including POC from bad cops in WA. Who knows, maybe the job will start attracting better quality human beings as an additional benefit.

7

@5- As usual, insightful, intelligent comments and firmly rooted in the real world, Catalina, thank you.

8

The article lists "Knowingly hiding material evidence, failing to report exonerating information, or making materially misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent statements or representations during an investigation, in law enforcement documents or reports, or while testifying under oath" as a dischargeable action two times. Perhaps if The Stranger had a copy editor, that person would've caught the error. Otherwise, solid piece!

I hope these bills are passed and signed into law this session. Rare area of agreement with Durkan; trying to make nice with the public after teargassing several city blocks last summer is too little, too late, but I'm still glad she's lent her support here.

9

If significant legislation is passed that finally allows cops to be held accountable, and not act with utter incompetent or malicious impunity, I'd be pleasantly surprised.