SEPTA’s transit police strike ended Tuesday night after the agency and police union reached a tentative contract agreement.
“Officers are expected to begin returning to duty for the shift that begins at 11 p.m. tonight,” said agency spokesman Andrew Busch in a statement. "Details on the terms of the tentative contract will be announced at a later date, after the [Fraternal Order of Transit Police] has the opportunity to discuss the agreement with its members.
“SEPTA looks forward to having its police officers back on duty to serve riders throughout the system,” Busch added.
Omari Bervine, president of FOTP Local 109, said Tuesday night that he did not wish to discuss the agreement until it was ratified by members. Earlier that afternoon he said a meeting was being held to iron out the language in SEPTA’s body camera policy.
SEPTA’s policy bars officers, who are all equipped with cameras, from reviewing video before writing an incident report. Bervine has said the policy puts officers in the position of inadvertently making statements that are contradicted by camera video and thus risk of losing their jobs even if there was no intent to deceive.
SEPTA’s standards are stricter than those of the Philadelphia Police Department, which allows officers to review video except in cases when a person is hospitalized or there is use of force, officials said.
Civil rights advocates say allowing officers to see the video can distort and taint memory, and cause them to shift their accounts to match the footage.
Union representatives were also concerned about wages, which they say are significantly lower than officers with comparable experience make at other departments. The disparity contributes to officers’ quickly leaving the department for better-paying jobs elsewhere, Bervine has said.
The union went on strike last Wednesday. It represents nearly 200 officers. During the strike, SEPTA used supervisors and city officers to fill the gap.