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Spokane police oversight, contract on council’s agenda

Sun., Dec. 15, 2013, midnight

Spokane City Council members will have a full plate of issues as they convene their last meeting of the year on Monday.

Mayor David Condon’s proposal to give broader investigative power to the city’s police ombudsman will be one of the top issues.

The mayor wants to create greater independence for the ombudsman to investigate officer wrongdoing and establish a citizens commission that would have authority to oversee investigations and order follow-ups.

Council President Ben Stuckart said he expects the proposal will go to a vote.

The council rejected an earlier plan from the mayor because it didn’t provide the ombudsman independence approved by voters in a city charter amendment earlier this year.

The new plan from the mayor creates a “relief valve” to allow third-party investigations if the citizens commission concludes that investigations by police internal affairs and the ombudsman were insufficient.

Along with the ombudsman revisions, the council may also take up a new labor contract with the Spokane Police Guild. The contract includes provisions for greater ombudsman power as well as salary increases of 2 percent annually from the start of 2012 to the start of 2015.

Also, a proposal making it a misdemeanor to sit or lie on sidewalks downtown is on the agenda following revisions that provide greater specificity in how the rule would be enforced. The law would be in effect from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

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