Sirens & Gavels

Chief praises police action in MLK bomb

Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick credits two officers, including Sgt. Eric Olsen, left, with  steering the  Unity March on Martin Luther King Jr. Day away from  an explosive device in downtown Spokane.  (Dan Pelle)
Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick credits two officers, including Sgt. Eric Olsen, left, with steering the Unity March on Martin Luther King Jr. Day away from an explosive device in downtown Spokane. (Dan Pelle)

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick on Wednesday praised Sgts. Jason Hartman and Eric Olsen for their decisions to reroute the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade after a sophisticated bomb was found along the original route.

“We are trying to have a national conversation to learn to say, ‘See something, say something,’ ” said Kirkpatrick, pictured above with Olsen. “I’d like to get all of our residents to

put that phrase into their thinking. We don’t want to be a city paralyzed by fear, but we must be a community that is mindful.”

Olsen, who was managing the traffic around the MLK march, said Hartman (right) called him at 9:37 a.m. Monday and told him about the backpack, which was discovered by three workers from the Spokane Public Facilities District.

Without enough time to determine what was inside, the sergeants decided to change the route of the march.

“We always assume the worst,” Olsen said on Wednesday. “But when I found out it was a viable device, I was both scared and relieved. I was scared that someone would do that but relieved that it was resolved. I felt very fortunate … just from the chaos and devastation it would have caused.”

The FBI said on Wednesday that hunt for the person who left the bomb will focus on two aspects: forensics and the region’s violent history with white supremacists.

Read Thomas Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Jan 18: FBI says backpack on Spokane parade route was bomb




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