Posts tagged: police ombudsman
Good morning, Netizens…
Well, bless my heart! The City Council voted unanimously in favor of giving the Tim Burns, Police Ombudsman, additional autonomous powers last night.
Until last night, the Police Ombudsman only had the authority to observe and report on police reports and sitting in on detective interviews. If he believed that a police review was unfair or incomplete, he could file a complaint with the Mayor or Chief of Police. Now he can conduct his own review of cases, sitting in on internal investigations.
The Police Guild will probably challenge the City Ordinance in court, because such ordinances would have to be approved by the Guild, and based upon my limited experience, they do not want the public knowing what are in those reports and investigations.
Hitch up your tighty-whiteys if you have them and watch closely. If Tim Burns does his job, and I believe he is committed to it, perhaps we may see an end to the travesties on the part of the Police Department, cases such as Otto Zehm, where Police clearly exceeded their authority. That isn’t to say they won’t exceed the law, but at least under the new system the Police Ombudsman will have the power to bring justice for ordinary people to the equation, something that has been missing for far too damned long, in my opinion.
Now I will sit down and stop rocking the boat. I will wait to see how the Police Guild will react. As the New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra once stated, “It ain’t over until it’s over”.
Good afternoon, Netizens…
Tonight’s City Council Meeting promises to be interesting, and that is putting it mildly. City Councilman Bob Apple has brought forth a proposal to change the terms under which the current Spokane Police Ombudsman operates, giving him new powers and the authority to perform his own investigations when circumstances dictate. Unfortunately I will be unable to attend this important meeting due to certain family events which will keep me working late into the evening.
Before I truly get this apple cart rolling (pun intended), my vision of the Spokane Police Department’s Guild is perhaps a bit naive as I am inexperienced in how they operate, but I have a great deal of angst about the incredible power they possess. I believe it is time for change. I believe that the Guild should be accountable to the people, and yet I see no way for this to happen without creating anxiety on everyone’s part. In the current configuration, if the Guild opposes an investigation into the actions of a police officer, it is my experience that true justice can fall by the wayside. One case in point that comes readily to mind is the investigation into the shooting of Shonto Pete. If there ever was a silent scream for justice in this town, I don’t know how else to express it.
No one, not even the Spokane Police Department Guild, should ever be allowed to operate outside the law, and they should be accountable to the voters.
Now while I am opening up a few of what might be termed my crackerjack ideas, I perceive that one of the failures of the Ombudsman’s Office is that he, also, should be accountable to the voters. That, of course, opens up yet another can of worms which not only would create administrative nightmares, but perhaps violate the law.
Giving the Ombudsman the authority to investigate police cases and citizen’s complaints on his own is a good first step toward restoring public trust in our police. The Police Guild may not like it. I’m not certain whether Police Chief Kirkpatrick would support the changes to the Ombudsman’s powers.
More than anything else, it will be interesting to see who speaks out against Bob Apple’s proposal. Mark your ballots for the next election appropriately.