Advertise Here

Huckleberries Online

Posts tagged: Spokane Police

Spokane police, firefighter pay outpace region’s average wage

As budget discussions ramp up at the city of Spokane, a conservative think tank has released a study suggesting that pay for Spokane’s police and firefighters has not only outpaced the region’s average wages but is better than what their peers in larger Northwest cities are earning.

Among the highlights in the Seattle-based Washington Policy Center study: The average firefighter and police officer salary in Spokane is 87 percent higher than the median household income in Spokane; police and fire union dues total about $750,000 annually; and police and fire employees on average are compensated better than their peers in Portland.

Though the numbers could be read as an indictment, the study’s co-author said the study wasn’t meant to sway people but rather inform them.

“People can see what the numbers are and decide if they’re too low, too high or just about right,” said Chris Cargill, the center’s Eastern Washington director. “People make good policy decisions when they know the numbers.” Read more. Nicholas Deshais, SR


Thompson Gets 4 Years, 3 Months

Originally posted 5:08 p.m. Thursday

Updated: After being handed a sentence Thursday of more than four years in federal prison – the culmination of six years of investigations, legal action and community soul-searching – former Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. walked away passively in handcuffs. U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle admonished the courtroom in advance that demonstrations of any kind would be inappropriate, and the sentence was greeted with silence by both Thompson and Zehm supporters. Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich lost a last-minute plea to keep the decorated officer out of jail pending appeal of his convictions for using excessive force and lying to investigators to cover up his actions/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here.

Question: Was justice served?

Judge Denies New Trial For Thompson

A federal judge has denied the motion for a new trial for convicted former Spokane Police officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. (pictured). Thompson’s lawyer Carl Oreskovich argued on Aug. 31 that Thompson should receive a new trial because federal prosecutors hid information from the defense that could have won his acquittal. Thompson was convicted by a federal jury in Yakima in November of using excessive force and lying to investigators in the violent 2006 confrontation with Otto Zehm, a mentally ill janitor mistakenly identified as a possible thief. Zehm died two days after being beaten, tasered and hog-tied by police in a Spokane convenience store/SR. Developing. (SR file photo)

Question: Anyone remember when Thompson was a captain under former sheriff Pierce Clegg?

Vestal: Addiction Excuse Used Before

Get a job with a badge and a gun. While catching drug dealers, start smoking pot and snorting coke. Just to fit in. Find yourself going a little further than your undercover duties require. Snort some more cocaine, then smoke it. Then smoke it. Then smoke it. Take paid leave to go to treatment, turn in your badge and gun – and sue the city of Spokane for $2 million, for getting you hooked on crack cocaine. If you thought the Brad Thoma case was something new under the sun, think again. A quarter-century ago, Spokane was rocked by a case with unmistakable similarities: an addicted cop, a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, and a City Hall that doesn’t want to settle … except it also doesn’t want to lose a lot of money in court. We don’t know the end of the Thoma case, yet. The City Council is showing some backbone, Thoma is suing, and the case will doubtlessly drag on for a good long while/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here. (Spokane police photo of Brad Thoma)

Question: Was the city of Spokane right in rejecting a proposed settlement with fired/disgraced former cop Brad Thoma?

1600 Beanie Babies Donated To Cops

Thanks to a donor, Spokane police officers have new toys to use to comfort children in traumatic situations. A young woman who wishes to remain anonymous recently gave the Spokane Police Department 1,600 Beanie Babies in near perfect condition. “Apparently she got into her 20s and decided she didn’t need them anymore,” said Officer Ryan Snider. All patrol cars will have a few of the miniature stuffed animals, which were once a collector’s craze. Wal-Mart donated sandwich bags to store them, Snider said. Patrol officers have long had older stuffed animals to give to the children they encounter in all types of calls, from car crashes to domestic violence reports and drug raids/Meghann Cuniff, SR. More here. (Colin Mulvany SR photo: Spokane police patrol officer Ryan Snider holds two of the 1,600 Beanie Babies stuffed animals)


Question: What did you do with all those Beanie Babies you used to collect?

Thompson Juror: ‘A Police Coverup’

The forewoman of the jury that convicted Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. said none of the jurors brought information to deliberations from media reports, as alleged by defense attorneys seeking a new trial. Diane Riley, 57, of Ellensburg, granted an interview with The Spokesman-Review after first contacting the newspaper in an e-mail Monday to voice her concerns about allegations made by defense attorney Carl Oreskovich that jurors may have been exposed to television reports that indicated Otto Zehm was mentally ill – something U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle barred from the trial. Riley said no juror mentioned anything about gleaning information from media accounts and that the jury decided the case based only on the information presented at trial/Thomas Clouse, SR. More here. (SR file photo)

Question: How would you feel about your department if you were a Spokane police officer trying to do your best to serve the community?

Spokane Cops Salute Karl Thompson

Some four dozen Spokane Police officers and other supporters stood when someone yelled “Present Arms” and saluted Thompson as he was led away by U.S. Marshals without being handcuffed. As the crowd saluted in unison, attorney Jeffry Finer turned and apologized to the family of Otto Zehm, who died after a violent confrontation with Thompson and other officers in a North Spokane convenience store in 2006. Finer is representing Zehm’s family in a companion civil suit. Thomas Clouse story here.

Question: What do you make of this show of support from Spokane officers as Karl Thompson was being led away?

Spokane Cops Support Thompson

As the excessive force trial of Officer Karl Thompson enters its second week, many Spokane police officers have made his badge number their personal Facebook profile pictures as a show of support. Thompson is a mentor to many in the department and was drafted to run for police chief before Anne Kirkpatrick was appointed in 2006. His indictment on federal charges of lying to investigators and violating Otto Zehm's civil rights during the 2006 confrontation that led to Zehm's death has drawn the ire of many in the department, who have joined a Facebook group that says Thompson is “a media scapegoat, wrongly accused, and wrongly charged”/Meghann Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels. More here.

Question: Should Spokane police be taking sides in this case?

Should We Have Published Photo?

Spokane police Officer Greg Thieschafer checks the body of a male who was shot by police after a chase, near the corner of Indiana Avenue and Madison Street last Friday. The shooting closed a four-block area around the intersection of Northwest Boulevard and Monroe Street. Latest on gunman & shootout from Meghann Cuniff/S&G here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

DFO: NIC Sentinel instructor Nils Rosdahl & I discussed this photo this AM. He plans to discuss it in class with his journalism students. He doesn’t think the SR should have run a photo with a body in it. “What if it was one of your relatives,” he asked me. I, on the other hand, see it as the exception to the rule — a photo taken of the instigator of a very public event.

Question: What do you think? Publish? Or no publish?

CC: How Can We Stop Suicide By Cop?

Based upon what limited information is currently available a man, name unknown, left a house on Cedar and eventually ended up at the Indiana address, shooting a rifle or shotgun into the air sporadically. When police instructed him to drop the weapon he fired it at them. Eventually he was surrounded and shot by Spokane Police. There may be several versions, multiple choice details to this crime, but as far as I can tell from what little public information that exists, I would term this “Suicide by cop”. I can think of no other reason a man in possession of his senses, surrounded by police officers, would continue shooting his gun in the air in the vicinity of a busy city intersection. Now the real question remains: what can we as concerned individuals do to stop suicide by cop?/David Laird, Community Comment. More here. And: Meghann Cuniff SR story here.

Question: Can society do anything to reduce the number of episodes of suicide by cop?

Police: Pastor Shot While Drawing Gun

A Spokane Valley pastor had put his gun in the waistband of his pants and was reaching for it when he was shot by a Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy late last month, a Spokane Police investigator said at a news conference this afternoon. The pastor, Wayne Scott Creach, had approached an unmarked police car in the parking lot of his Spokane Valley business where Deputy Brian Hirzel was sitting processing tickets, Spokane Police Lt. Dave McGovern said at a press conference today. The driver’s side window was down, and Hirzel warned Creach up to six times to drop the handgun he was holding down at his side, McGovern said. Creach replied that “he didn’t have to” drop his gun, but stowed the gun in the waistband of his trousers, McGovern said/Spokesman-Review. More here

Question: What do you make of this announcement by Spokane police?

Noon: Ninjas Steal From Ferris High

Two suspects dressed in ninja-style black outfits broke into Ferris High School Saturday night, stealing thousands of dollars in electronics. Spokane Police are investigating the incident and reviewing surveillance video that shows the suspects inside the school. Images recorded at 11:06 p.m. Saturday night show the two suspects, dressed in black pants, black long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and wearing black masks covering everything but their eyes, walking around the corner of a Ferris hallway/Lindsay Chamberlain, KREM2. More here.

Question: Aren’t ninja outfits so 1980s? What would be more appropriate attire for the high school burglars?

Spokane To Rally Vs. Police Abuse

ALoafOfBread: This Thursday (6/25) at 5pm at Spokane City Hall, folks from many community groups will be rallying against police abuse and for police accountability. The focus will be calling on the city to push for full investigative authority for the Ombudsman when the city re-negotiates its contract with the police guild this summer. We welcome everyone to come join us in this nonviolent expression of the outrage, distrust, embarrassment, and concern that so many in our community feel about the ongoing SERIES of incidents and the city’s continually unsatisfying responses.

Question: What would happen in Coeur d’Alene or Post Falls, if the local police were involved in the sort of shenanigans that seem to be an ongoing thing in Spokane?

Catch But Not Release

Domestic violence suspect Paul Reinhardt is attended to by Spokane Police on the eastside of Latah Creek Monday morning. Police were chasing Reinhardt when he abandoned his car at 27th and Inland Empire Way. He ended up crossing the cold waters of Latah Creek. After police arrested him, the Spokane Fire Department did a technical rescue to bring him up a cliff. Story here. (Colin Mulvany/SR)

Interest Grows In Local Police Work

Item: Interest in law enforcement careers growing/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR

More Info: A career that involves putting your life on the line has apparently become more appealing, as long as it offers decent pay and job stability. Applications for police work are climbing after several years of recruitment struggles, according to most Inland Northwest police agencies. In the past 12 months, the Spokane Police Department received nearly double the applications it did over the same period the year before. The Coeur d’Alene Police Department saw 36 percent more interest.

Question: When you were little, did you dream of growing up to be a fireman or a policeman?

Union Helps Another Bad Apple Cop

Now, the Spokane Police Department is back in the headlines. An officer gets reinstated with back pay after arbitration ruled firing was too stiff a penalty. For what? For driving his city assigned car after having been drinking and using his city issued cell phone to snap pictures of a bare breasted woman then having sex with her in her car. According to arbitration, the penalty was too stiff. He deserved punishment but not dismissal. Here’s Dogwalk’s take. There was no policy regarding cell phone pictures. Come on! It was city property. A Mayor was ousted for cruising gay web sites on a city computer! He was nowhere near legally intoxicated. Just when was he tested? He’s a police officer for crying out loud!/Dogwalk Musings. More here.

Question: Could police officers and sheriff’s deputies get away with as much as their counterparts do in Spokane County?

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

Find DFO on Facebook

DFO on Twitter

Betsy Russell on Twitter

HBO newsmakers Twitter list

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Huckleberries Online.

Take this week's news quiz ›
Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
Advertise Here