SPOG Reaction to OIG Lisa Judge / Gay Pride Parade Ban

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) strongly disagrees with the Office of Inspector General Lisa Judge’s recent open letter to Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz advocating that SPD stop conducting traffic stops within the City of Seattle. SPOG also condemns in the strongest language possible any entity involved in scheduling events for Seattle’s Gay Pride Week that has already decided to ban Seattle Police officers from participating.

In reaction to both of these decisions, SPOG President Mike Solan said the following, “Inspector Judge’s stance advocating that Seattle Police officers no longer conduct traffic stops in our community is absolutely ill advised, reckless, bizarre and non sensical. It is not rooted in facts and contradicts city data. It reeks of activist virtue signaling and perpetuates the false narrative that Seattle Police officers serve our community through a lens of bias. Inspector Judge should know that our courts decide what is an infringement on civil liberties and not a City of Seattle employee. As we all know, one year ago Mayor Durkan and City Council President Gonzalez boasted that SPD was the model reformed police agency. Can you imagine what will happen if police stop enforcing our city and State traffic laws in our community? What the Inspector General is advocating for could result in more crime impacting our community which has already seen an extraordinary increase in crime. Does this now signal people to stop registering their vehicles and completely disregard the rule of law? I’m sure the insurance industry will view her position as derelict and deeply troubling.

Solan added the following on the banishment of Seattle Officers from Pride Week, “Banning Seattle Police officers from Pride Week events is disgusting, bigoted, discriminatory and contradicts our community’s beautiful inclusive LGBTQ message. Our LGBTQ members serve our community with distinction and pride. They value inclusiveness and demand respect not only for proudly being LGBTQ but for serving our community as police officers. Anyone that believes in their banishment has no place in Seattle and does not believe in the inclusive LGBTQ message. To date, close to 300 police officers have left our agency. The Inspector General’s position pertaining to traffic stops and the bigoted decisions banning officers from Pride Week events do not aid in stopping this mass exodus of cops. All we ask as SPOG members is some reasonable messaging of support from our elected officials and people in positions of power/influence. Police are fantastic human beings especially SPOG members.”

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild is the largest police labor group on the Pacific Northwest. We represent line officers and sergeants.

 

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CBS News Interview

CBS News interviews a former SPD officer and SPOG member that finally had enough of the lack of city leadership. WATCH: https://youtu.be/vlqM6ntHdjU

COMPAS: Departure of Long Time Executive Director Renee Maher

The Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriffs (COMPAS) announces the departure of long time Executive Director Renee Maher.

COMPAS is the lobbying organization originally created to represent the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, the King County Police Officers’ Guild and Port of Seattle police officers. While Port of Seattle officers are no longer part of COMPAS, the Puget Sound Police Managers’ Association eventually joined as well. The organization only represents active, fully-commissioned law enforcement officers and focuses on statewide issues affecting officers’ pension and collective bargaining rights. Ms. Maher has been the only Executive Director since the position was created.

“I was hired in September 2009, one month before we lost Tim Brenton in the line of duty,” she said. “I will never forget those first few months on the job when we lost Tim, then four Lakewood officers, followed by Pierce County Deputy Kent Mundell in December and then Grant County Deputy John Bernard in early January 2010. It was beyond overwhelming especially being new to the organization.” Still, Maher said she embraced the opportunity to advocate on behalf of officers and their families.

“As the surviving spouse of a Federal Way officer shot and killed in the line of duty, I brought a unique perspective to the conversation. I’m also a licensed attorney in two states and a former prosecutor so I see the world from many different angles. Most police officers don’t want awards or accolades, they just want to do their jobs knowing they are serving their communities. But those officers – and their families – pay a heavy price for that service,” Maher commented. “One of my main objectives in this job was to remind people that officers are members of the community, they have spouses and children, and every year several of those officers will make the ultimate sacrifice in service to their community. We shouldn’t ever forget that.”

“Renee has been an incredible advocate not just for officers in Seattle and King County, but across the entire state,” remarked COMPAS President Mike Solan. “We are grateful for all of her hard work and we want her to know that she will always be a big part of the law enforcement family.”

When asked why she was leaving, Maher simply said, “It was time.” While she acknowledges that it will be difficult to leave COMPAS after so many years, Maher chooses to focus on the accomplishes of the organization. Since coming on board, COMPAS spearheaded the Jason McKissack Act in 2010 that provided medical insurance coverage for catastrophically disabled officers and firefighters and their families. Jason McKissack was a Seattle Police Officer who was viciously attacked while on duty in West Seattle. While assisting a person being attacked by a group, the mob turned on Officer McKissack and he was repeatedly kicked in the head. He never returned to duty. Officer Mckissack, no longer able to work in any capacity, then lost medical insurance for himself and his family through the Seattle Police Department.

“It was a disgustingly accurate statement to say that an officer or firefighter was better off dead than injured or disabled because line of duty death benefits would kick in and help their family in their time of need,” Maher pointed out. “When we passed the Jason McKissack Act, that was no longer true. Our officers and firefighters no longer needed to die in the line of duty to know their families and their futures would be secure.” Maher paused then continued, “Getting that bill passed helped others besides Jason McKissack. It also helped Seattle firefighter Mark Jones who was catastrophically disabled after falling 15 feet down a fire-station pole hole. There were so many others who had been injured and seemingly forgotten who now would have medical coverage. Helping those families was one of my proudest moments in all of my professional career.”

COMPAS also was instrumental in getting the Blue Alert passed in 2012 after the death of Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu. The Blue Alert, patterned after the Amber Alert, created a statewide alert system to speed the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously injure local, state or federal law enforcement officers. COMPAS also worked to ensure that the LEOFF 2 pension system was fully funded and protected so that when officers retired, they knew the pension earned over their law enforcement career was going to be there for them and their families.

Maher also stressed that many of these victories were a group effort. “I’m extremely grateful for the strong relationships we have established over the years. The Washington State Council of Firefighters are incredible partners to have in the legislative arena. The same is true for the Law Enforcement Officer and Firefighter Plan 2 (LEOFF 2) Board. Executive Director Steve Nelsen and his staff are second to none. They will move mountains to help first responders and their families.” COMPAS has also participated in workgroups, rulemaking and on-going work sessions related to police reforms.

When asked if she could impart any lessons learned in the last 12 years, Maher had two responses. “I would like the people of Seattle and King County to know that we have some of the best trained, most diverse members of law enforcement right here in our backyard. These are hard working men and women willing to die to save you and your families. We really see an immense amount of appreciation and support when we lose an officer in the line of duty. But it shouldn’t take an officer to die for us to appreciate their service because then it’s too late. They’ll never read the hundreds of cards received by the family or see the people standing along the funeral procession route. We need officers to know that we support them while they are still here serving our communities.”

The second point Maher hoped to convey was addressed to the officers and deputy sheriffs she has had the honor to represent. “Don’t assume that one political party supports you and one does not. I’ve met incredible people on both sides of the political aisle who support our officers and their families. Former Speaker of the House Frank Chopp was one of the most genuine, compassionate, honest and patient people I’ve ever met in the political arena. He was always willing to listen to the concerns of law enforcement. The same was true with former Governor Christine Gregoire. It’s easy to see the world as “us v. them” but politics is never black or white. It’s always somewhere in the middle. The most important thing is to stay involved and be your own best advocate.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOG’s Response to the Chauvin Verdict

Today, a Minnesota jury respected due process and the rule of law by issuing a guilty verdict in
the Chauvin Trial. For communities across our nation to trust law enforcement, they must have
trust in our nation’s criminal justice system. Adhering and respecting the rule of law is key to
that trust.

Just days after George Floyd’s death, SPOG authored a letter to our Seattle community that said,
“The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild is shocked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
This incident is in complete opposition to everything we stand for, and everything we are
trained to do. There is no law enforcement or self-defense rationale for the prolonged use of
the officer’s knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck.” As of today SPOG still believes in this statement.

Seattle Police Officers are amazing professional police officers who serve at the communities
will, and understand that we must continue our commitment to learning new skills and being a
partner in evolving policing. We promise to continue being that model of police reform that was
recently touted by our elected politicians. We promise to never rest on continuing that work.

We hope that today’s decision will allow our community to heal, embrace peace and rebuild our
trust. Our bond must be stronger than those intent on dividing us. Our hope for the Seattle
community is that those who will be exercising their right to free speech in the coming days can
do so without violence and destruction. The Seattle Police Officers Guild supports the right to
free speech, but cannot support continued destruction of businesses and property or assaults on
police officers.

SPOG is a strong reflection of Seattle’s diversity and values. I want to thank each and every
Seattle Police Officer for taking part in being that model of reform and for serving our
community under immense scrutiny this past year. You are valued and respected. Thank you for
your service.

Respectfully,
Mike Solan
President
Seattle Police Officers’ Guild

 

 

 

 

 

SPOG – Response to MLK Labor Council Vote

June 17, 2020

Today’s decision to disaffiliate the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) from the MLK Labor Council is deeply disappointing and concerning. SPOG has been an effective police labor union for its members since 1952. We take pride in consistently working hard to protect the collective bargaining rights for our members – always focusing on improving hours, wages and working conditions. We’ve also fostered long-lasting relationships with our fellow labor brothers and sisters. Today’s troubling political decision should sound the alarm to other public safety labor unions across our region, state and nation that they’re next.

SPOG has addressed the demands set forth in the MLK Labor resolution. We shared our answers via a letter to the labor council on June, 15 2020. Our executive board also participated in a 2.5 hour Zoom meeting with the executive board of the MLK Labor Council to further address the resolution. This conversation allowed our unions to immerse ourselves in a cathartic, robust discussion on race relations and how we ALL can move forward in labor solidarity against racism. Despite our expulsion, SPOG is hopeful these important conversations will continue.

SPOG is profoundly proud of our wonderfully diverse membership who reflect Seattle’s values. We have a long history of positive community engagement through many innovative programs. Our Emerald Protection Plan is an excellent example of our commitment to our community as our membership partnered with independent grocers and community members to collect and donate over five tons of food to feed our most vulnerable in just six “Food Bank Fridays.” SPOG members also saved over one hundred and fifty lives when we donated blood in partnership with the American Red Cross. During COVID-19, SPOG dues were used to assist local restaurants in an effort to keep them economically viable and help keep their workers employed. This financial assistance continued as we provided financial support to SEIU 1199 health care workers to help feed them as they worked tirelessly to protect our community ravaged by the pandemic.

Regardless of today’s decision, SPOG will continue to protect the collective bargaining rights for our members. We will remain open to working with the MLK Labor council, and will also foster quality relationships with other labor unions across our region, state and nation so we ALL can continue to grow, learn and protect labor rights.

Seattle Police Officers Guild members are high-caliber individuals who swore an oath of service. The job of policing is a calling that not many can do. We are willing to risk our lives to save others; while others run from danger, we run toward it. As the job becomes increasingly political and dangerous, I’m confident SPOG members will continue to serve professionally, for the betterment of our society.

 

In solidarity,

Officer Mike Solan
President
Seattle Police Officers Guild

 

 

 

 

Seattle Police Officers Guild – Press Conference 6.8.20

SPOG President Mike Solan held a press conference addressing the dangerous working conditions for the 1,300 members of SPOG.

SPOG – Open Letter to Mayor Durkan, 6/6/20

June 6, 2020

Mayor Durkan,

I’m writing this letter to inform you of the tenuous situation impacting SPOG members at the Seattle Police Department East Precinct. As I author this letter, several objects have been thrown at officers which have exploded. Several SPOG members are injured. As the situation on the ground devolves into more violence, singularly perpetuated by a group of criminal agitators on the west side of the barricade on Pine Street and 11th Avenue, I’m fearful that further exposure to SPOG members from these criminal violent acts will have drastic repercussions for public safety.

I also want to convey that I recognize and I feel the deep resentment being expressed by members of our Seattle community toward law enforcement regarding the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. SPOG shares their anger, which we affirmed in our open letter to Seattle https://seattlepoliceofficers.org/seattle-police-officers-guild-open-letter-to-seattle/, strongly condemning the involved officers’ actions. We also signed on to another open letter with a coalition of police unions across the nation who are equally outraged. https://mailchi.mp/8a1d24e5ca1f/law-enforcement-statement-on-floyd-protests?fbclid=IwAR2AiYXLjC4Wyr8L5deUEnWwfo1JE1vasMbDq_SrrFKg_sxtYRrJ-xMjZFk.

As peace officers, we swear to an oath of service.  That oath of service is noble and it bonds us with our community. SPOG members take great pride in our bond and that bond is reflected by the professional service that we provide to our community on a daily basis.  We’ve participated in and have accepted reform. We also understand that we must always strive to improve for the interests of the public, whom we serve. We also take great pride in knowing that our membership is a wonderfully diverse group of human beings that reflect Seattle’s values. We love our job and we love Seattle.

In our second open letter to our community, we expressed our full support for peaceful protests https://seattlepoliceofficers.org/spog-response-to-the-ongoing-protests-in-seattle/. But now I am appealing to you for help, because I fear that our daily peaceful protests are unfortunately being stolen at night by a group of criminal agitators who continue to attempt to provoke police. This hostile, violent group continues to throw projectiles and injure police officers. Many SPOG members have sustained significant injuries including broken bones, stitches, bruises and one almost lost an eye. This is unacceptable.

SPOG members follow orders from the department’s chain of command. It is our understanding that we’ve been instructed to protect police facilities in our city so those facilities can be used to continue police services. We have been following these orders for days now. It is also my understanding that the use of an effective less-lethal chemical munition has been removed as a force option by elected city officials. The removal of this tool is concerning because without this tool our ability to safely and effectively protect this police facility has been hindered. Our community must realize that the only other options available to help us solve this predicament are physical confrontations or for us to simply walk away if instructed to do so. If we have to engage in physical confrontations, more of our members and our community members will unfortunately get injured, and no one wants that. If we are instructed to walk away, then what will become of our city police facilities? One can only imagine. We must develop a plan or this will continue without end.

This situation is becoming more untenable by the day and I fear law and order and SPOG members’ safety are in peril. As president of SPOG, I have the responsibility to protect the working conditions of my members and it is also my sworn duty to protect the lives and property of our citizens. You have the responsibility for the overall safety and wellbeing of Seattle’s citizens as you are the executive officer. It is our hope that we can begin to work as a team to solve this public safety crisis because at this point, I’m extremely worried about the safety and morale of the SPOG membership and our community’s safety.

Respectfully,
Officer Mike Solan
President
Seattle Police Officers Guild

 

 

 

SPOG – Response to the Ongoing Protests in Seattle

The Seattle Police Officers Guild continues to support those who gather to grieve and protest for George Floyd. We have added our voice to those who have spoken out and condemned his tragic death in Minneapolis. SPOG encourages peaceful protests and demonstrations – please communicate with us and the department and we will facilitate your freedom to assemble.

We also understand that peaceful protests are designed to disrupt – that is what makes them noticeable and effective. The beginning of the day on Saturday was an excellent example of this. But our job is to keep demonstrators and others safe, so we must at times intervene and guide a group’s movement. Marching in the streets poses a risk to you and motorists, and impacts the lives of those who live and work in the area because busses and vehicles must be re-routed.

Additionally, it is clear two groups have emerged over this weekend: the truly peaceful protestors described above, and those who simply wish to instigate violence, incite chaos, destroy property, loot businesses, and assault both officers and innocent civilians. Please understand that in Seattle we do not arrest people for protesting – there is no crime of “protesting.” Individuals over the weekend have been arrested for assaulting officers, property destruction, drive by shootings, burglary, robbery, and other serious, felonious crimes. These rioters disguised as protesters must stop their violence and the damage they are doing to our city.

Lastly, there are several videos circulating on social media regarding SPD conduct during the events of this weekend. As always, those events will be investigated and SPOG is confident when information is released it will be clear our officers’ actions were not malicious.

In closing, we ask that you remember that the actions of one do not define the character of many. Communication with our communities is one of the most significant areas in which we can improve, but we cannot start that process when we are devoting all our resources elsewhere. We have joined with several other officer associations in expressing the following message:

“The rank and file police officers that we represent want to provide our perspective, we must be part of the national dialogue that works toward a more perfect union. It is time for the discussion on policing in America to include the actual people that patrol our streets and respond to calls for service. That can’t happen when our cities are on fire.

Mourn, protest, honor George’s memory, but please, please do it peacefully, and let’s begin the difficult dialogue that must be had – our police officers are ready.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2020
Contact: Mike Solan
Email:  Mike@seattlepoliceguild.org

 

SPOG – Open Letter to Seattle

The Seattle Police Officers Guild is shocked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This incident is in complete opposition to everything we stand for, and everything we are trained to do. There is no law enforcement or self-defense rationale for the prolonged use of the officer’s knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck.

We swear an oath to protect people, whether they’re a person in our custody or a victim of a crime. Reverence of life and rendering aid to those who need it are tenets of our profession. Officers must treat every citizen with respect, and should be held to the very highest standards of conduct. We have been entrusted by our communities to perform a complex and powerful role in our society, and this singular act completely violated that trust.

Although what was depicted in that video does not represent who we are as law enforcement professionals, we know it has diminished the trust and respect of officers nationwide. We trust Minneapolis officials will conduct a thorough investigation and push for accountability while knowing all officers will be held accountable for possibly years to come. We cannot affect the outcome of this tragedy in Minneapolis, but we can begin to repair and rebuild the trust of our communities.

The Seattle Police Officers Guild pledges to always protect and serve the people of Seattle.

We will continue to actively train, and seek training, to safely manage similar situations we may encounter to ensure safe resolutions. We vow to repair any trust lost by holding ourselves to the highest possible standard in a transparent way.

As we’ve already proven with food drives, blood drives, youth mentorship, and day-to-day interactions, we are an integral and invested part of Seattle. Our officers will continue to demonstrate our utmost professionalism and genuine caring for the people of this city on every contact they have with a citizen. SPOG members strive every day to be worthy of the badge they wear, and they are true public servants. We are proud to be part of this city and we believe we are a police force this city can be proud of in return.

As officers, we must speak out against injustice, but our actions will speak even louder than words. We will not let this tragedy define our noble profession.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2020
Contact: Mike Solan
Email:  Mike@seattlepoliceguild.org

 

May 1st Food Bank Friday: Seattle Police Officers Collect Over 2,000 lbs of Food

Seattle Police Officers Guild partnered with Grocery Outlet Bargain Market and Red Apple Market to support the Food Bank at St. Marys. Officers brought their own personal food items as well. Officers collected and delivered well over 2,000 lbs of food in support of our community during this difficult time. This effort is part of the on-going Seattle Police Officers Guild Emerald Protection Plan. The Emerald Protection Plan is dedicated to helping our community and those most in need. If you want to participate, send us a message through our contact form!