The city keeps making moves to have its own attorneys—rather than pricey law firm Stafford Frey Cooper—represent cops accused of misconduct, which would save the city about a million bucks a year.
Blink and you missed it, but [yesterday] morning, the city council quietly (and tentatively—the final vote isn’t until November 22) approved ending a longstanding contract with private law firm Stafford Frey, which defends the police department in tort cases, instead handing more of those cases to city attorney Pete Holmes’ office. Stafford Frey’s attorneys cost about $275 an hour; the city attorney’s lawyers, just over $100. The city will have outside firms bid on more complex cases, and “Stafford Frey can certainly compete for those contracts,” Holmes’ spokeswoman Kimberly Mills says. Stafford Frey will continue representing the city in cases involving officer use of force.
We also hear the city has put together funding to hire an in-house attorney to represent cops. Clearly they mean business. However, the Seattle Police Officers Guild will likely have something to say about all of this. Legal wrangling is likely on the horizon.