ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Anne Kirkpatrick

Playing the Ozzie card

A chosen tactic of outgoing leaders in the Spokane Police Department: talk highly about the sheriff’s plan for regionalizing police forces.

Documents recently released from last December’s investigation into reports that former Assistant Police Chief Scott Stephens had threatened to go “postal” after hearing of his impending demotion contain a line from a “confidante and friend” of Stephens describing the tactic.

In her account of Stephens’ behavior the day he’s alleged to have made the threats, Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said Stephens told her he “wanted to talk to Sheriff Knezovich about becoming his undersheriff. [Stephens] said he would push the sheriff for a regional agency and be a part of that team. (This was very similar to previous Chief Kirkpatrick’s ‘threats’ when she was leaving her position a year ago.)”

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, however, said it's news to him.

“I never had those conversations,” Knezovich said Thursday. “I feel honored that they felt that way, that they wouldn’t mind working for me. But I didn’t talk to them.”

For her part, former Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said in an email Thursday that as the department continued to lose credibility with the public over various misbehavior, she told officers that “if they did not start taking control of themselves … then a good argument could be made for the Sheriff's Office to take over the police department and become a regionalized force under the Sheriff and I would advocate for it.”

Kirkpatrick, now working as the chief deputy sheriff in King County, said she assumed this potential advocacy for regionalization “is the ‘threat’ Officer DeRuwe is referencing.”

Former SPD Chief lands new post

It appears that former Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick's search for a new job has ended. King County voters chose John Urquhart as their sheriff; Urquhart, you'll recall, vowed earlier this year to hire Kirkpatrick, who left late last year after serving five years as Spokane's top cop.

Urqhart spent 24 years with the King County Sheriff's Office in various roles and had a commanding lead in votes over Sheriff Steve Strachan, who was appointed to the post by the King County Council in April.

Kirkpatrick, who announced when she came to Spokane that she intended to stay just five years, sparred with the Spokane Police Guild and called out officers to change the culture of both the union and the department.

Kirkpatrick could find new role in King County

Former Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick is back in the news.

Kirkpatrick, who turned in her badge last year after voters ousted Mayor Mary Verner, has caught the attention of King County sheriff's candidate John Urqhart, who says he would hire her to serve as his chief deputy if voters elect to the post next month.

Urqhart spent 24 years with the King County Sheriff's Office in various roles and is challenging Sheriff Steve Strachan, who was appointed to the post by the King County Council in April.

Here's a link to the article about Urqhart's announcement that SR reporter Nicole Hensley put together today.

Kirkpatrick speaks about 5 years as chief

Anne Kirkpatrick’s last official day as chief of the Spokane Police Department is today, but she’d already left the city by the end of last week.

She spoke candidly with The Spokesman-Review before she did. Check out my interview with her here.

Mayor David Condon will name a new interim chief today at 1 p.m. Stay tuned.

Chief honors woman who tracked robber

Citizen Award recepient Carey Smith and Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. (Spokane Police Department photo)

A Spokane woman who helped police catch a bank robber last summer was honored today by Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. 

Carey Smith was driving north on North Monroe Street near West Dalke Avenue on July 20 when she saw a man running with orange powder coming from a bag he was carrying.

She turned around to follow him and memorized the license plate of his getaway vehicle. Smith gave the information to police, who were searching for a man who held up the Wells Fargo bank at Monroe and West Francis Avenue. 

Police spotted the car and followed it; suspect Lawrence A. Wideman (pictured) was arrested after driving through a metal fence into a cemetery and trying to escape in the Spokane River.

Wideman, 44, is a level 2 sex offender with a conviction in 2009 for third-degree rape of a child. He pleaded guilty to the bank robbery in October and was sentenced to 162 months in prison.

Kirkpatrick awarded Smith the chief's Citizen Award this morning at the Public Safety Building.

Chief: ‘Silent majority needs to stand up’

Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson outside the federal courthouse in Yakima on Nov. 2 with (from left) his lawyer, Carl Oreskvocih, and Spokane Police Guild Vice President John Gately. (SRPhoto/Chris Anderson)

Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick suggested Monday that no cultural changes will occur within SPD until frontline officers change the leadership of the guild. 

As president, Ernie Wuthrich keeps two vice presidents, Officer John Gately, who attended every day of Karl Thompson’s trial and was by his side outside of trial, and Tim Moses, who required a letter of immunity from the U.S. Department of Justice before he would testify about his previous grand jury testimony incriminating Thompson.

When Moses (pictured right) did testify, he he blamed the FBI for intimidating him into testifying under oath to a grand jury that Thompson had struck Otto Zehm in the head with a baton.

“If you want true culture change, you look to your leaders and see who is being elected,” Kirkpatrick said. “That will be your weather vane of the cultural mindset. The silent majority needs to stand up and take back the voice and leadership of who they really are.”

But in an e-mail to The Spokesman-Review, Moses said he recalls Kirkpatrick supporting his promotion.

If “you really want to find someone to point the finger at for a lack of direction … deficiency of faith in the police … or issues with public trust … remember, we were under Kirkpatrick's administration and guidance the past 5 years,” he wrote in part. “Put the blame where it belongs.”

Read much more about the expected federal investigation n into the Spokane Police Department here.

Police Chief Kirkpatrick to leave Jan. 2

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick confirmed Friday that she will not wait for a new chief to be hired and will leave at the first of the year.

Kirkpatrick has said as late as Nov. 4 that she would stay through the first few months of the year as the city searched for a new chief.

But on Nov. 6, she sent a letter to Mayor Mary Verner announcing a departure date of Jan. 2.

“My family’s a priority and I’m at a great age for new things,” Kirkpatrick, 52, said in an interview Friday.

Read the rest of my story here.

Jury awards police detective $722k

A jury on Friday awarded more than $700,000 to a Spokane police detective they say was wrongly fired and retaliated against by Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.

The amount includes $250,000 in punitive damages against Kirkpatrick, who quickly left Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor’s courtroom with Assistant City Attorney Ellen O’Hara after the verdict was read. Both declined comment.

Read the rest of my story here.

Attorney Bob Dunn gave a closing argument Thrusday so critical of Kirkpatrick that her attorney aplogized to her. Read more here.

Police chief addresses property crimes

Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick took to YouTube yesterday to address concerns about the elimination of the property crimes unit. While police are no longer investigating property crimes, Kirkpatrick said patrol teams and repeat offender programs have helped decrease property crimes in Spokane.

Past coverage (look for future coverage after the Zehm trial):

Oct. 6: Spokane police cut property crimes unit

Trial begins in SPD detective’s lawsuit

Trial began today in a lawsuit filed against the City of Spokane and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick by a detective who was fired in the midst of a messy divorce.

Jay Mehring alleges he was wrongfully terminated and defamed in 2007 when Kirkpatrick heard reports that he'd threatened to burn his wife's house down.

Kirkpatrick, who is sitting at the defendant's table for the trial, announced Mehring's arrest in a press conference.

 A jury acquitted him of felony harassment and he was reinstated with the police department. He's currently on paid administrative leave.

Bob Dunn is representing Mehring in the case, which continues with testimony Thursday before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Connor.

 Past coverage:

Oct. 8: City must turn over emails in Mehring suit

Oct. 7: Judge calls Mehring case 'dysfunctional'

Oct. 4: Detective alleges witness tampering in civil suit

Oct. 4, 2010: Detective in civil suit on leave

Spokane police prepare for busy time

It's going to be a big few months for the Spokane Police Department.

With pending leadership changes and the federal trial of Officer Karl F. Thompson for the death of Otto Zehm set to begin next week, the department is preparing for a stressful time, as Capt. Frank Scalise said in the latest employee newsletter.

Scalise (pictured) said police are used to dealing with unpredictable change, “but the control part creates a little anxiety or frustration,” he said. “Critical incidents, whatever our involvement, add to this,” Scalise wrote. “Media coverage, particularly if not entirely favorable or even accurate, compounds this further.”

Scalise offers this advice to navigate what he calls “these sometimes treacherous waters of change.”

“I would offer you two things to remember. One is that you are involved in an extraordinarily difficult, honorable profession. Take pride in that. You’re part of the SPD. You’re part of your individual team within the SPD. I know the good work you’re doing, and so do you. Be proud,” Scalise wrote. “Secondly, remember what we can control – how we treat each other. This is true at all times, but even more so when we get into difficult times. We are likely facing such a time over the next six months – legal events, media coverage, and leadership change. Any of these events would be a big change all by itself, much less all at once. At these times, we need to pull together as a family. Treat each other well. Look out for each other. Because no matter what else changes, we know we can count on each other.”

The entire newsletter is available in PDF format here.

Charges dropped against ex-detective

The case against former Spokane police Detective Jeff Harvey has essentially been dropped after a jury deadlocked Wednesday on an obstruction charge and the prosecutor said he won’t pursue a second trial.

 Verdicts require unanimous decisions and the jury split 5-to-1 in favor of acquittal. Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Brian O’Brien said the case is over.

“I won’t be pursuing it,” O’Brien said. Harvey “had to go through the full trial. We had our day in court on this charge.”

Read the reset of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 20: Obstruction trial for ex-police detective begins

July 16: Fired detective files $10 million claim

July 15: SPD detective fired for 'troubled history'

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

Fired detective’s criminal trial begins

The obstruction of justice trial began Monday against embattled former Spokane police detective Jeff Harvey.

Harvey was fired this year after being charged with a gross misdemeanor following a confrontation with a state Department of Fish and Wildlife police officer who responded on Jan. 22 to a report of boys shooting after hunting hours on private land north of Spokane. Harvey, who was off-duty at the time, is accused of hindering the investigation, which involved his sons.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

July 16: Fired detective files $10 million claim

July 15: SPD detective fired for 'troubled history'

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

City to begin search for new chief in ‘12

The City of Spokane expects to begin a regional or national search for a new police chief by next spring, officials said today.

Spokane Police Department employees are interested in the position but “we also have a desire to look outside the department,” City Administrator Ted Danek told the Public Safety Committee at its monthly meeting. 

Assistant Police Chief Jim Nicks recently announced plans to retire when Chief Anne Kirkpatrick leaves early next year.

Kirkpatrick has said she'll stay until a new chief is appointed, which officials say won't happen until after the mayoral election.

“People are not going to apply until they know who the boss is,” Kirkpatrick said.

Danek said the search, which could take three to six months, could begin in March or April.

Kirkpatrick has always said she planned to stay in Spokane about five years. She said she's looking at other opportunities.

“It's not a retirement, I'm just moving to a different stage in my life,” said Kirkpatrick, adding that neither she nor Nicks will be “lame ducks” in the meantime.

Spokane police majors Scott Stephens and Craig Meidl said after the meeting that they are not interested in applying to be the next police chief.

Past coverage:

Sept. 15: Nicks to retire as Kirkpatrick steps down

April 20: Chief says time in Spokane nearing end


  

Nicks to retire as Kirkpatrick steps down

The Spokane Police Department’s top two officers are on their way out, leaving city officials to find new leadership as they struggle with the continuing legal fallout surrounding the death of Otto Zehm.

 Assistant Chief Jim Nicks announced Tuesday his upcoming retirement will coincide with the previously announced departure of Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.

 Nicks, who is 53 and has spent 30 years on the force, played a pivotal role in the city’s handling of the fatal 2006 confrontation involving the unarmed Zehm.

At that time, Nicks was acting police chief and publicly backed the actions of Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr., telling the community that the 36-year-old mentally ill Zehm “attacked” and “lunged” at Thompson.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

April 20: Chief says time in Spokane nearing end

SPD detective fired for ‘troubled history’

Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick fired Detective Jeff Harvey on Wednesday as a result of an alleged confrontation Harvey had with a state Fish and Wildlife officer and what his termination letter labeled a “troubled work history.”

The incident was “part of the pattern of behavior that (the department) had documented over the years with this particular employee,” said city spokeswoman Marlene Feist.

Harvey is the former vice president of the Spokane Police Guild.

Mayor Mary Verner said she “backs the chief’s decision.”

Havey’s termination letter was hand-delivered to his home, Feist said.

Read the rest of Jonathan Brunt's story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

Quick thinkers earn police chief’s praises

For Dillon Fabie, there was no decision to be made. Just an adrenaline rush and a quick sprint across a parking lot and there he was, restraining a suspected purse thief as police arrived.

 “Instincts took over,” Fabie, 21, said Monday as he recalled taking the man to the ground in the north Spokane Walmart supercenter parking lot last November. “The next thing I know I’m all the way back here holding the guy.”

Fabie was among Spokane residents honored by police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick before the Spokane City Council on Monday. The Whitworth University student received the Chief’s Citizen Award, along with Karl Erbacher, who also is credited with stopping a purse-snatching suspect last fall.

Read the rest of my story here.

Kirkpatrick 5-year tenure nears end

When Anne Kirkpatrick was interviewed to be Spokane’s police chief, she was asked how long the city could expect her to stay.

Her answer was frank: about five years. Nearly five years later, that position hasn’t changed.

Kirkpatrick confirmed Tuesday that she has suggested Mayor Mary Verner start thinking about finding a replacement.

Kirkpatrick, however, stressed that she hasn’t picked a departure date and would be open to serving during a transition “if I’m in the good graces of the city, the department and the community.

“We need to start looking at 2012 and beyond,” Kirkpatrick said. “I plan to run hard through the finish line, wherever it is.”

Read the rest of Jon Brunt's story here.

Chief wants to shift focus in shootings

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said this week that she hopes to bring more public focus on the perception of officers involved in fatal shootings.

 ”We get so focused on whether a person is armed and is it a knife or whatever. We've got to change this focus. It's whatever the officer is faced with - is it life threatening to that officer?” Kirkpatrick said at a meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee.” We need to continue to bring this forward, because officers do get killed when there was no gun.”

City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi said the media and public don't focus on that. 

“The public or the media will focus on, from the public's perspective, you know, what occurred,” Treppiedi said. “The law focuses not on what the public perceived or what the witnesses perceived or even what the shooting victim perceived. The law focuses on what the chief said, and that is what did the officer perceive?”

Treppiedi continued, “whereas a lot of the public's discussion comes from 'but witnesses said x and the editor says y.'”

The discussion took place Monday as Lt. Craig Meidl presented to committee members internal affairs investigation data that included the number of officer-involved shootings since 2006 (three in 2010, two in 2009, zero in 2008, four in 2007 and zero in 2006.)

Committee member and City Councilman Bob Apple asked if the department was revamping policies and questioned shooting suspects who are armed with knives and not guns.

Kirkpatrick said she once had an officer shot in the line of duty with his own weapon.

“No one was armed when he showed up, but…he lost the wrestling match and the guy grabbed his gun and shot and killed him,” Kirkpatrick said.

 She emphasized that the threat of grievous bodily injury - one justification for the use of deadly force - can differ from situation to situation.

“What is grievous bodily injury is going to be very unique in that particular event that that officer is faced with,” Kirkpatrick said.

City Council President Joe Shogan said situations could end differently if police were called sooner. He referred to the Dec. 4 shooting of Jeremy Groom by police outside a Hillyard tavern.

Groom was shot as he pointed a gun at a man who turned out to be one of his best friends. His friends say Groom never would have shot the man and say officers didn't give him time to drop the gun.

The dispute began inside the tavern. Shogan said options seemed limited by the time police were called.

“I would hope that citizens would say 'OK if we're going to involve the police, let's involve them sooner than later,” Shogan said. “Don't wait until this gets to be a flash point and then hope that there are a lot of options, which, at that point, I don't think there are.”

Police use-of-force case leaves questions

A Spokane man's arrest last July on suspicion of reckless driving, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license has led to a disagreement between the Spokane Police Department and police Ombudsman Tim Burns, who has refused to certify the department’s internal investigation into a witness’s complaint of excessive force used against the suspect.

Burns questions an administrative review panel’s recommendation to exonerate the two accused officers. But police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, who acted on the recommendation, said Burns doesn’t have the legal authority to make such a claim because his oversight is limited to internal investigations, not the later administrative review panels made up of police leaders.

“I don’t look at it as a substantive issue. To me, it’s just a legal question,” Kirkpatrick said. “What is Tim Burns’ authority and is the (panel) part of the investigation?”

Burns, who started work as the city’s first police ombudsman in August 2009, disagrees.

“My position is, If not me, then who?” he said.

Read my story here.
  

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Sirens & Gavels.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here