Members of the Seattle Police Officers Guild packed the Council Chamber before the vote. 
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Members of the Seattle Police Officers Guild packed the Council Chamber before the vote.
Credit: KUOW PHOTO/CASEY MARTIN

Seattle police get big wage hike after years of no contract

Despite opposition from two dozen community groups, the City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday to approve a tentative agreement with the Seattle Police Officers Guild.

“I was a little surprised at an eight to one vote," said Sergeant Rich O’Neil, vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild. "I thought it would be closer than that, but it's a great day.”

Starting in February Seattle cops will get their first raises in over four years.

With a 17 percent pay hike they will be the highest paid law enforcers in the state.

“These police are working at 2014 salaries in a 2018 Seattle that is so much more expensive," Mayor Jenny Durkan said this week.

Andrè Taylor of Not This Time agrees.

“They should get their raises. It is unacceptable for them to be without a raise for four years," Taylor said.

However, Taylor joined the ACLU of Washington and Seattle/King County NAACP in rejecting this contract. They argued to the council that it undermines accountability legislation passed last year.

Sergeant O'Neal and the police union said these concerns can be addressed in two years when the contract is up again.

“In June of 2020, both sides will be starting all over again with a new contract. Both sides will come back to it with what they didn't think they got this time, they can try again next time," O'Neal said.

Next the contract will be reviewed by federal Judge James Robart to ensure it complies with a use of force agreement with the Department of Justice.