Since council members approved the police accountability legislation in May, an unfinished piece of reform has been hiring the watchdogs who would be key to ensuring those promises are kept—one being the director of the civilian-led Office of Police Accountability, a key position responsible for independently investigating complaints of police misconduct and bringing investigations forward.
Mayor Tim Burgess on Monday nominated Andrew Myerberg to that role. Myerberg has been serving as interim director of the Office of Police Accountability since July, when Pierce Murphy left. Isaac Ruiz, co-chair of the CPC, in a statement said there's been improved morale at the Seattle Police Department, "a dedication to transforming that agency," and a fairness for officers.
He was also the lead counsel on the Department of Justice lawsuit against the city, and an advisor to the Community Police Commission.
“I am honored to be nominated for this role and look forward to continuing my work strengthening the Office of Police Accountability,” Myerberg said in a statement. “This work is not just about disciplining officers when necessary. It is about building and sustaining a culture of accountability throughout the Seattle Police Department. I brought this firm belief to my role as interim OPA director, and I promise to hold fast to it as director.”
The city on Monday took another big step on reform with a tentative collective bargaining agreement with the Seattle Police Managers Association after years of stalled negotiations. The contract would be valid from 2014 and expire at the end of next year, December 2018.
But the SPMA in the agreement explicitly supports the police accountability legislation and allows a trial run for body cameras, putting further pressure on the Seattle Police Officers' Guild to embrace the bill. In exchange managers will get 10.25 percent salary raises since 2014 to this year; the SPMA will also drop the unfair labor practice complaint.
"I cannot overstate how significant it is that these dedicated lieutenants and captains chose to voluntarily and explicitly embrace our new police accountability ordinance as part of their contract," Burgess said in a statement. "This is what strong leadership looks like. We should all aspire to the kind of dedication and commitment to public service that these officers have shown.”