King County and the King County Police Officer’s Guild this week negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement that will include general wage increases, implementation of the authority of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight, and future use of body-worn cameras.
The King County Police Officer’s Guild represents more than 630 patrol officers in the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), which contracts its police services to the City of Burien as well as for 15 other jurisdictions.
The agreement will deploy body-worn cameras, ensure cooperation with the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO), and increase salaries to ensure the Sheriff’s office can recruit and retain deputies. The agreement has been ratified by the Guild and was passed by the King County Council on November 1.
“These critical agreements will help alleviate historic recruitment challenges while ensuring transparency and accountability in how we deliver public safety in King County,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “I thank our Office of Labor Relations, the Sheriff’s Office, the King County Police Officer’s Guild, and the Council, and look forward to ongoing collaboration as we implement this new contract.”
“The public has been clear in their call for more independent oversight of law enforcement. It is an issue of accountability, and we are delivering results,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. “Like many others, I have pushed hard for years for these important changes in order to strengthen law enforcement oversight. When people throughout King County took to the streets to demand more accountable policing, we seized that momentum and have kept at it. As a result, we now have made real progress for King County with truly independent investigations and subpoena powers.”
“I’m pleased that we were able to reach this important agreement with our Police Officers Guild,” said King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall. “It provides the pay and benefits that our hard-working deputies deserve while also building on our foundation of trust and accountability for delivering public safety services to communities throughout King County.”
Here’s more from the county:
After the completion of a successful 90-day pilot in 2021, KCSO and the Guild worked to adopt a new policy regarding body-worn cameras. In spring 2022, representatives from the Executive’s Office and KCSO held a number of meetings with community partners to gather feedback for the final body-worn camera policy.
Following these discussions and meetings with OLEO, the new policy was adopted in the KCSO General Orders Manual and is available here. The Sheriff’s Office is now developing an implementation plan to begin training and deployment of both body-worn cameras and vehicle cameras in the first quarter of 2023.
General wage increases will be implemented both retroactively for 2022 and throughout the contract, which runs through 2024. This includes a retroactive 6% increase for 2022, 10% for 2023, and 4% for 2024.
KCSO recruitment has been a priority of the Executive and the Sheriff since the start of the year. To date, new hires have increased 47% over 2021, and this new contract provides the competitive wages necessary to ensure ongoing recruitment success and supports the valued services provided by the Deputies and Sergeants of the KCSO.
The current recruitment bonus program in place will continue for the duration of the contract, due to a memorandum of agreement attached to the CBA and includes $7,500 for new hires and $15,000 for lateral hires with recent prior law enforcement experience.
Office of Law Enforcement Oversight
The new agreement recognizes the authority of OLEO to conduct independent investigations and issue subpoenas, in line with the 2020 voter-approved King County Charter amendment and King County Code.
Additional cooperation between KCSO and OLEO is now solidified by requiring joint witness interviews for administrative investigations by either agency and allows for OLEO’s attendance and participation in KCSO review committees.
Several additional changes were made including those related to operations such as scheduling and payroll, benefits, and the full recognition of KCSO’s transition to reporting to the Executive.