The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) announced Thursday it is endorsing state Sen. Ed Murray for mayor, snubbing Mayor Mike McGinn, who appeared to represent the interests of the rank and file when he fought the Department of Justice over the extent of police reform.
Guild President Sgt. Rich O’Neill said in a written statement: “Many view Seattle government as broken and dysfunctional. SPOG believes that in order to work on all the problems facing the city we need Ed Murray and his ability to unite all of the different groups for the common good.”
The union cited Murray’s legislative experience and expertise on civil rights, transportation, budgetary problems and public safety. It noted that Murray received the 2013 Legislator of the Year Award from the Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriffs and the same award in 2009 from the Washington State Council of Police & Sheriffs for his work supporting public safety.
O’Neill said that Murray assured the guild he would make public safety his No.1 priority. “We need a Mayor that will stay focused on public safety!” O’Neill said in the statement.
Murray strategist Sandeep Kaushik said the campaign “appreciates the guild’s support. They were looking for leadership in the mayor’s office.”
McGinn campaign manager John Wyble said McGinn tried to strike a balance in the negotiations with the Department of Justice over sweeping reforms in the department, the cost to the city and the concerns of the city’s minority communities over the use of force and bias.
“Reform is happening. The mayor fundamentally believes in police reform. Maybe the Guild was saying, ‘Let’s take a chance with somebody else,’ ” Wyble said.