City Council President Addresses Community Conversations on Police Reform

Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at 3:46 p.m.

City Council President Breen Beggs has issued the following statements as a response to ongoing Community Conversation on Police Reform:

“Shortly after the death of George Floyd, I released a resolution with a suite of 24 proposed police reforms that I believed would support the reconciliation of our community and the police officers who work for us. CP Beggs Proposed Reform Agenda Resolution

Many of those reforms have been completely or partially achieved through negotiations with the Spokane Police Department and advocacy at the Legislature.

In 2021 the Mayor, Chief of Police, and I agreed to convene a conversation of invited community leaders across a broad spectrum of interests and lived experiences to discuss specific proposed reforms and ideas for further community reconciliation. The City hired two facilitators with deep experience in community policing issues and race relations to lead the conversation.

The facilitators guided the group through many authentic conversations regarding participants’ experiences and a draft outline for a joint statement/plan for police reform developed by the City Administrator, the Chief of Police and myself. After many hours of discussion, the group was able to provide individual feedback on those proposals. (See attached Draft Outline for Joint Statement/Plan for Police Reform with Community Conversation participant feedback.)

In order to support personal and authentic conversations, the invitees initially agreed to keep the conversations private between the participants and release the results after the process was completed. After many unanticipated scheduling delays, the final meeting was set to occur on January 31st. The police reform proposals with participant feedback was planned for release shortly after the meeting so that the City Council, the Police Department, and Community could move forward on additional reforms. Unfortunately, one facilitator was unable to continue due to health issues, and the other decided they could not continue their work- thus the meeting was cancelled.

It seems unlikely that this particular group will meet again. Therefore, today I am keeping my commitment to release the draft outline of the proposed reform plan with participant feedback from our community conversations.

I will now ask City Council and the Administration to move forward with further implementation in collaboration with all interested stakeholders.

I am especially grateful to the volunteer community members who participated with their full selves in this challenging process. I also want to thank our facilitators, the Mayor, and the numerous City employees who participated in or hosted the conversations. Spokane has made substantial progress in its evolving police force over the last ten years, but we still have plenty of work to do before everyone in Spokane feels like they belong.”

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