UPDATE: City Council approves police officers’ contract; ‘good first step,’ says Saka

4:16 PM: District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka was one of eight “yes” votes on the years-in-the-works Seattle Police officers contract approved during today’s just-concluded council meeting. The only “no” vote was Councilmember Tammy Morales, who wanted to delay the vote, saying the public hadn’t had enough time to hear about and comment on the agreement. But no other councilmember supported that idea. Saka said that, like Morales, he is also concerned about officer accountability and civilian oversight, and hopes to find “other ways” to “strengthen” them. Saka, vice chair of the Public Safety Committee, said he believes the pay increases in the new contract will bring SPD closer to “competitive pay,” which he sees as a “central component” in retention as well as hiring. It’s been two weeks since the mayor announced the tentative agreement, which covers contractless years through the end of 2023 (by which point the wage increases total 23%); read the full agreement here.

P.S. This is likely to be a topic at the mayoral public-safety forum for West Seattle/South Park tonight – 6 pm at Concord International Elementary (723 S. Concord) – the online RSVPs have closed but you can still attend if you didn’t sign up in advance, that page says.

6:05 PM: Shortly after the council vote, Mayor Harrell signed it.

56 Replies to "UPDATE: City Council approves police officers' contract; 'good first step,' says Saka"

  • 937 May 14, 2024 (4:20 pm)

    Congratulations to the rank and file SPD officers!

    Kudos to Mike Solan and the staff at SPOG in delivering this long overdue and FAIR contract for their constituents.

    • Derek May 14, 2024 (4:53 pm)

      Even people who like the police don’t like Solan, not someone who deserves any kudos after his racist remarks on Fox News in 2020. Some of us don’t forget.

    • Seattlite May 14, 2024 (5:00 pm)

      100% agree with your comment.  SPD’s police officers are the best and deserve the best for risking their lives 24/7/365 to protect citizens.

      • Bird May 14, 2024 (7:20 pm)

        Per official data, police officer doesn’t appear to be in the top 25 most dangerous jobs. If we’re talking people actually risking their lives, thank the arborists, farmworkers, construction workers and more –https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2023/03/02/most-dangerous-jobs-america-database/11264064002/

  • Resident May 14, 2024 (4:35 pm)

    We’re closing schools, can’t fund needed services, and giving a department thats been under federal oversight for civil rights violations and is currently being sued for discrimination a huge pay increase without accountability? 

    • Mel May 14, 2024 (7:18 pm)

      Do you and others complain this much when SPS teachers get big increases after striking and keeping kids out of schools at the beginning of the year?

      • K May 15, 2024 (8:35 am)

        No, because teachers don’t have a history of civil rights violations requiring federal intervention and a quick search on the blog here will show you there’s PLENTY of oversight, hand-wringing, and transparency when it comes to how the schools spend their money.  Which is the point of Resident’s post; we don’t have that with police.

      • Bbron May 15, 2024 (10:20 am)

        Source for these “big increases”. c’mon, how can we compare it with SPOG’s if you don’t provide numbers? or would your argument start to fall apart, Mel?

    • Schoolhouse Rock May 14, 2024 (7:53 pm)

      1) There are too few kids in Seattle anymore to justify keeping so many SPS schools operating.2) Crime in Seattle is out of control and public safety is the NUMBER ONE publicly-funded service requirement of a municipality.3) EVERY police officer in this state is under more accountability than you’ll ever be.

    • Mike May 14, 2024 (8:32 pm)

      This is the most disingenuous post full of lies and propaganda.

      • Pete May 14, 2024 (10:17 pm)

        Where’s the lie? 

  • Melissa May 14, 2024 (4:50 pm)

    An appalling miscarriage of justice. More pay, but no more accountability. Also, Mike Solan supports January 6th and loves Trump. As long as he’s the head of the police union, the union will represent injustice and oppression.

    • Ryno May 14, 2024 (9:45 pm)

      They have THREE oversight entities hovering over them already…how many more do you want?? Also…not EVERYTHING is as politically motivated as you have imagined it to be. 

  • not surprised May 14, 2024 (4:54 pm)

    $60 million in back pay for cops, meanwhile we’re closing 20 SPS elementary schools. your tax dollars at work. 

    • Mel May 14, 2024 (6:04 pm)

      They’ve gone years without pay increases and unlike other professions (teachers) they don’t strike when they want a pay increase. I don’t see this as being unfair. Seattle Public Schools needs to learn how to manage their money better.

    • K May 14, 2024 (6:06 pm)

      On top of the $10 million and counting that has been paid out for civil rights lawsuits related to their handling of BLM protests.

    • Anne May 14, 2024 (6:11 pm)

      And I’m more than happy about it- voters here NEVER demand accountability from SPS & State -just keep on forking over  the $$ -then act so  surprised when we hear they have no money & have to close schools. Pay attention folks – don’t just blindly agree. Expect & demand accountability. 

      • Bbron May 15, 2024 (10:22 am)

        well since SPOG is being given much more funding than SPS, it should follow that there’s greater transparency there, right? is that true? if not (and it isn’t) then everything about your comment is hypocritical.

    • Alki resident May 14, 2024 (9:42 pm)

      I’m happy to see my tax dollars going to the police. They go through a lot, they’re a part of my family and I’m happy to see they finally get the wages they deserve. 

    • Wseattleite May 14, 2024 (10:16 pm)

      Follow the math.  Fewer school kids, more brazen criminal activity. Budgets follow.  It certainly is not surprising to anyone paying attention.  

    • The King May 14, 2024 (10:19 pm)

      So what did the schools do with the McCleary decision money? Take a dive into where the money goes and you’ll have a better understanding 

      • AD May 15, 2024 (3:14 pm)

        A bunch of the added resources went into funding special education programs.  Are you really trying to imply SPS is corrupt for *checks notes* providing accommodations for kids with disabilities?  Police apologists really will demonize anyone…

    • Eric1 May 14, 2024 (11:36 pm)

      SPS has the exact opposite problem of SPD.  Too few students and too many teachers. Unfortunately Seattle has too many criminals and not enough police officers which necessitates increasing salaries to attract more employees.  In theory, you could lower SPS employee pay until sufficient numbers voluntarily leave to balance the staff/student ratios if you want a fair comparison. There are also alternatives to SPS including private schools, home schooling, and moving to other districts. Unfortunately there are fewer legal alternatives to police officers, although moving to a safer city is viable. 

  • Rhonda May 14, 2024 (5:26 pm)

    Good on SPOG’s Mike Solan for standing firm for his union officers. Every city resident and visitor will benefit from this long-overdue deal.

    • Josh May 14, 2024 (6:25 pm)

      They are a guild, not a union.  Cops are the ones who bust unions and were rightly kicked off the labor council a couple years ago.All workers should get paid, and paid well for their labor.  I just wish the money that leaks out of the coffers of the rich and us regular folks taxes were spent more sensibly then on giving this much money to a department that will use much of the money for things like to pay insane overtime so we can have marginally effective human traffic cones along event routes.  

      • Rhonda May 15, 2024 (2:53 am)

        “Cops are the ones who bust unions”? Every one of us in municipal law enforcement are union members…..PAYING union members. It’s clear from your comment of just why we need our union protections, representation, collective bargaining, etc, etc.

        • Bbron May 15, 2024 (10:44 am)

          Police unions are not labor unions. just like how cops may sell their labor but they are not a part of the labor-class as their primary purpose is to serve as a tool of the capital owning class to oppress labor. question for you Rhonda: when labor unions protest and are then brutalized or violently dispersed, who is carrying that out? a union is a labor union if it will always align with every other labor union; that is false for police unions, so you trying to dress it up as one is disingenuous.

      • Mel May 15, 2024 (5:39 am)

        They wouldn’t be paying so much overtime Josh if the attitudes of the city hadn’t decimated the department. They’re looking for bodies. You interested? The more people they hire, the less they’ll have to pay out in overtime. While overtime isn’t good for the officers, in terms of having to work that many hours, each additional person they hire requires the cost of benefits which also adds to SPDs expenses. 

    • Brian May 14, 2024 (8:41 pm)

      No it won’t. SPD doesn’t serve or protect citizens in this city. 

    • MacJ May 14, 2024 (9:11 pm)

      Mike Solan and the good people at SPOG, yes, the same guys who jeered and laughed when an officer they knew had been fired by Tuscon’s PD for poor performance ran down and killed a Seattlite. We taxpayers gave the man a hiring bonus, even! Our finest citizens. Worth every penny.

      • Pete May 14, 2024 (10:19 pm)

        Just look at the absolute scumbags they elect to represent them. 

  • Rob May 14, 2024 (6:03 pm)

    They deserve every dime  plus our support in the future. God bless our men an women in blue 

  • WSNerd May 14, 2024 (6:09 pm)

    Thank you, Rod and the other, “yes” voters.  Appreciate you.  There are no words fit for public consumption to describe the other one. Why can’t we shake her?! District 2 just keeps believing she will save them. (insert eye roll) All anyone has to do is spend time listening to OpenMHz to get a slim taste of what our LEOs go through Every. Single. Day. It’s not pretty. Thanks again, Rod and the “yesers”.
    This is long over due.

  • HappyCamper May 14, 2024 (6:17 pm)

    People all over the job spectrum have been getting large COLA’s and raises the last couple of years. Now when some public employees get a raise it’s a big deal? Public or not, police or not (whatever your opinion of the police is) people must get paid a competitive wage for their craft/profession or no one will do that job. The fact that they are getting double digit raises is a clear indication that according to a wage study they were under paid for that job in this area, the money part is that simple. Yes, there’s a lot to improve upon with policing in general and although related that’s somewhat separate from pay. That’s more of an accountability thing and not getting to stay and get that pay if you’re not a good cop.

  • Rosey May 14, 2024 (6:41 pm)

    Solan is a trashy grifter who has leveraged SPOG for his own podcast endeavors and if there’s any good in the SPD it is brought into the negative by being repped by him. As a reminder VP of SPOG Daniel Auderer is still employed at the time of this posting despite OPA conclusion. If you don’t know who he is, google him. The results will tell you everything you need to know, including that Solan was on the phone with him during his incident and spoke up on his behalf.

  • Jesse May 14, 2024 (6:45 pm)

    Why is ANYONE supporting Mike Solan? This guy said hateful remarks about the Black Lives Matter protesters– while supporting Jan 6 protesters. And turned a blind eye to the department’s wrongdoings in the process. Shame on him. He’s the sole reason this contract period dragged. And why did they ignore Tammy Morales’s request for a public hearing? Saka needs to actually start listening to constituents, even those who didn’t vote for him.

  • wscommuter May 14, 2024 (6:49 pm)

    Not a fan of Mr. Solan or his tactics/politics.  But getting past him, we have an actual problem in our shortage of police officers and thus, market conditions compel hiring more/retaining more, which, in turn, requires paying more.  Some folks here who just don’t like police  are going to complain.  I understand that.  Others understand that the increase in crime we all see has some nexus to the shortage.  Unfortunately, too many car thieves, shoplifters, etc. know there is a shortage and their chances of getting caught are depressingly low.  It will take a few years to build up SPD’s numbers to get better enforcement and better deterrence.  There are no easy fixes here.  But paying more to get SPD back to where we need it to be makes sense to me.    

    • CAM May 15, 2024 (12:29 am)

      Research would disagree with you and would tell you that nobody who is about to commit a crime, today or 5 or 10 years ago, thinks that they are going to get caught. “Deterrents” don’t stop people from committing crimes because there aren’t any effective ones out there. Police are good at investigating crimes after the fact and arresting people. You want to prevent crime? Improve your schools, have more healthcare freely available to underserved communities, improve access to jobs in underserved neighborhoods, build more grocery stores and basic necessities in under resourced neighborhoods, etc. We could also talk about improving the air and sound/noise quality in lower SES neighborhoods as a way to decrease crime rates. All of those things have research support. 

  • Shanti May 14, 2024 (6:53 pm)

    Finally, good news! Thank you to the brave men and women of the SPD and all first responders. Much deserved pay raise and much needed contract.

  • Admiral Resident May 14, 2024 (6:59 pm)

    An incredible waste of money with no meaningful civilianization or accountability improvements.  Exactly what our worthless stooge of a council member promised.  Congratulations to Solan’s fascist brigade on their victory over the people of Seattle.

  • Millie May 14, 2024 (6:59 pm)

    Second Rhonda’s comment in respect to Mike Solan’s and SPOG membership’s steadfastness in obtaining a good contract.  Yes, every city resident and visitor will benefit.

  • jeff May 14, 2024 (7:12 pm)

    Id like to see them start doing their job before anyone gets a pay raise. we’ve been paying them this whole time and crime is worse than ever. honestly ridiculous.

    • Mel May 15, 2024 (5:41 am)

      Your comment shows you know nothing about the current state of policing in this city. You can’t be everywhere at once without enough people.

  • Kadoo May 14, 2024 (7:21 pm)

    Good news! 

  • OneTimeCharley May 14, 2024 (9:21 pm)

    We can all carp about the expense once we get to 100% staffed. Until then, keep upping the ante every 6 months until their are no more unfilled positions. I am sick and tired of the lawlessness I see every damn day. It’s sickening how some people need a heavy police presence in order to behave, but there ya go. We all now get to pay in both cash and opportunity costs. Thank the scofflaws for all the things you supposedly now cannot have.

  • CAM May 15, 2024 (12:34 am)

    Nobody has been withholding pay raises from SPD during these negotiations. The city has been offering them the entire time. That was not what SPD was holding out for. SPD was holding out to have language removed from the contract that made officers more accountable for bad policing. And to get the contract signed your city council just gave them everything they wanted. You want to complain about lawlessness? Just wait for what the SPD has just been encouraged to go back to doing. 

  • Bwth May 15, 2024 (7:18 am)

    The contract gives police officers a 1.3% raise in 2021, 6.4% in 2022, and 15.3% in 2023. The raises make SPD some of the highest paid.  The COLAs are also the highest compared to other City employees.It costs $57 million.  The 2025 city budget is projected to have a deficit of at least $230 million.  Where is the money coming from?  What additional taxes are we going to pay and what additional City services will we lose to find this?  The Mayor already instituted a hiring freeze across City departments months ago, but that only covers a small fraction of costs.  Because of this freeze and natural attrition, some City departments are having to cut back services drastically since they do not have the staffing levels to sustain services.  For instance, the library cut 1,500 hours that they are open over the current two months (22 of the 27 locations are closed at least one day a week) with even deeper closures being planned next because there isn’t staffing to keep these services open safely given the Mayor’s hiring freeze.  It seems like inappropriate timing to institute a massive pay hike without any plan on how to cover the steep costs adding to an already huge City deficit.  

    • 937 May 15, 2024 (1:30 pm)

      Not a “revenue” problem.

      It’s a SPENDING problem – how many ZERO result programs does this generational government have?? As people have been saying – follow the money.

      • AD May 15, 2024 (3:24 pm)

        I would say the police are a zero result program since there’s still crime, but I guess we can all form our own definitions of “zero result”.  Remember in 2018 when the cops brought in SEVERAL dozen officers and a very expensive sound system to encircle Westlake Mall, while blaring Christmas music so loudly you could hear it 5 blocks away, for the sole purpose of drowning out the the maybe two dozen peaceful BLM protesters across the street and “protecting” the mall (lol)?  How is antagonizing protesters that aren’t even engaging or speaking to the cops protecting and serving?  How is bringing in a sound system worth thousands of dollars to blare Christmas carols so loudly it violated the city’s noise ordinance a good use of taxpayer dollars?  Why are people so unwilling to “follow the money” to see the nonsense crap SPD spends your taxes on before defending them?  It’s not all police salaries and ponies.

  • Watertowerjim May 15, 2024 (8:02 am)

    Gee, who would have thought?Four short years after running them out of town and letting the criminals run the show we need to increase salary to beef up the force?My only surprise is that it took four years.  Unbelievable.

  • Lauren May 15, 2024 (9:53 am)

    I am heartened by so many commenters demanding police accountability and talking about research-backed alternatives to policing that can lift up our community. Gives me hope.

  • Scarlett May 15, 2024 (11:37 am)

    The more unequal a society becomes and the more the asset class accumulates wealth the more they want hired guns , aka police, to protect them and their stuff.   Any benefits accruing to the poor – when they aren’t being harassed – are incidental.   

  • TG May 15, 2024 (11:41 am)

    I’ve been lucky enough to only need police a few times in my life. They were unresponsive, arrived after the problem had already resolved, and in one case, outright refused to help with the man who forced entry into my house. The officers even questioned the validity of my complaint, even after I showed them the threatening messages I had received from the man. The death of Jaahnavi Kandula alone should call for a reckoning of the entire police force, not more taxpayer money and more political support.

  • Kim May 15, 2024 (2:01 pm)

    Found this info of some of the cops getting back pay now that our city council approved the SPOG contract-“Sgt. Paige Maks will take home nearly $161,000. The department’s highest-paid employee, Maks made $418,000 last year and $390,000 in 2022, when she was photographed sleeping in her cruiser on 3rd Ave. Ofc. Jason Atofau comes in close second with $144,000 estimated back pay. Atofau was one of three officers who took 23 minutes to respond to a call about a shooting where someone was injured. Ofc Ron Willis, who will get $131,000 in back pay, was previously suspended for violating overtime rules. He clocked implausible 140-hour weeks and worked more than 24 hours on several days in 2019. Recently, Willis was suspended for ignoring a call about a DV in progress to do paperwork at the end of his shift.Some other officers with long rap sheets at the top of the seniority ladder will also get six-figure payouts under the agreement. Ofc. Zsolt Dornay will pocket $102,000. Dornay shot a lawyer off-duty, did donuts in his neighbor’s yard, was arrested for DUI, and was investigated or sued multiple times for police brutalityOfc. Autumn Arbogast, who was suspended for throwing away her gun, will get $103,0000. Arbogast also flubbed a hate crime investigation and mishandled a sexual assault case.Officers fired for criminal behavior or bias will get tens of thousands for hours spent on extended leave. Ofc. Andrew Swartz was placed on leave in Sept 2021 when SPD learned of allegations that he was stalking his girlfriend. He will get more than $45,000 for two years that he didn’t work.  Ofc. Rosa Ojeda-Lopez also spent two years on leave while awaiting an investigation into a DV assault. She will receive $12,000 in back pay. Burton Hill, who likely be terminated for using racist and sexist slurs, is expected to take home an extra $65,000.“

  • Elaine May 15, 2024 (5:57 pm)

    Thank you as always,Tracy, for your factual and thorough coverage which I appreciate reading and learning from. Often cannot make it to all the important events and meetings and your coverage is reliable and solid. 

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