Originally published by The Spokesman-Review (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/feb/11/city-council-approves-new-spokane-police-contract/)

by Jonathan Brunt

Three more months of public debate, news conferences and negotiations have led to the Spokane City Council’s approval of a new police oversight law and union contract.

After unanimously rejecting a proposed Spokane Police Guild contract in November, the council approved a five-year labor contract Monday in a 6-1 vote. It also unanimously approved a law governing police officer oversight.

Council members said the deal and new law significantly improve citizen oversight of the Police Department, a dominating issue of city government at least since the 2006 death of Otto Zehm.

“If it’s not a perfect document, it’s damn close,” said City Councilman Steve Salvatori, who was one of the council members who led the charge last year to insert independent oversight into the City Charter.

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