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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Frank Straub

Quarles faced discipline twice before

The Spokane Police officer, who was suspended this week for two months after associating with a woman tied to prostitution, drugs and burglary, had been disciplined by the department twice before the latest incident.

Police Chief Frank Straub suspended Officer Darrell Quarles on Monday for 60 days without pay after an internal investigation determined that he not only associated with the woman but also violated department policy by searching internal records to check on the status of her criminal investigation.

The Spokesman-Review also asked police spokeswoman Monique Cotton on Monday whether Quarles had received any prior commendations or discipline. Cotton listed the life saving award that Quarles earned in 2010 by dragging a shooting victim to safety, but she said she did not have access to the discipline records.

Cotton followed up today said that Quarles has been the subject of three complaints that have been founded, with the most recent on resulting in the 60-day suspension.

The first complaint was filed in 2009 when someone complained that Quarles used profanity during an interaction. “He was given counseling by his sergeant and then apologized” to the person and family of person who made the complaint, Cotton said.

Then last October, Quarles was disciplined for failing “to respond with actions consistent with policy and procedure” when he responded to a disturbance call at a restaurant.

Quarles apparently responded to the call and “did not wait for backup, did not properly advise a citizen that he or she was under arrest and then wrote an inadequate report,” Cotton said. “He was given a letter of reprimand following the incident.”

In the most recent case, Quarles – who made $82,519 in pay and overtime last year – Cotton said Quarles was having an “off-duty, interpersonal relationship” with the woman. “He did not pay for her services,” Cotton said. “She did not commit a crime to his knowledge while they were together. But he knew of past incidents.”

In addition to his life saving award from 2010, Quarles has received three unsolicited letters from residents complimenting him on his work.

In March 2009, Quarles responded to a resident suffering a mental crisis and a woman credited Quarles’ actions for saving the person’s life.

In April 2009, Quarles also received a letter saying he was “extremely professional” in dealing with another tense situation with a mentally-ill person.

And finally, in August of 2010 Quarles received an e-mail from a woman who thanked Quarles for helping convince her son, who had mental and chemical dependency issues, to return back to the hospital.


Spokane police officer suspended for ties to woman

A Spokane police officer has been suspended for two months without pay after the department determined he had been associating with a woman engaging in prostitution, drugs and burglary.

Police Chief Frank Straub issued a “last-chance agreement” to Officer Darrell Quarles, according to a news release Monday.

“It is my obligation to hold all employees, police officers and civilians to the highest ethical and professional standards” Straub said. “Unethical and unprofessional conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Check out Tom Clouse's full story here.

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.”

Spokane’s police chief - groom to be

Congratulations to Frank Straub and his fiancee. The couple's marriage license application was submitted to Spokane County Auditor's Office this week.

Straub will soon be wed to Amber Myers. The couple moved to Spokane together earlier this year when Straub was hired as Spokane Police Department's new police chief.

Our city editors spotted the public record late last night while scanning the Northwest section of the paper. You can see the notice in the Dec. 21 edition on page A6. 

SPD sent officers to city schools in show of support

Although more symbolic than practical, Spokane police sent officers to every school today in an effort to demonstrate that the community is working together to keep kids safe.

New Chief Frank Straub said he hoped it also would provide anxious parents with some level of comfort to see officers positioned near their schools as the nation struggles to make sense of the deadly Connecticut school shooting.

“The Spokane Police Department works very closely with Spokane Public Schools to be able to respond to emergencies,” Straub said in prepared remarks. “Every SPD officer is trained to respond to active shooter situations. We have trained in our local schools, developed joint plans, and have detailed layouts of every school within in the City to speed our response. Protecting our students and our schools is very important to us, and we have increased our police coverage at our schools today in light of the day’s events.”

You can find full coverage of the Connecticut shooting online and in Saturday's edition of The Spokesman-Review.

Police reform meeting canceled/rescheduled

A previously scheduled meeting to discuss Spokane police reform and an update of its progress was canceled on Monday afternoon due to an absent chief of Police.

Due to a scheduling conflict, chief of Police Frank Straub was unable to attend the Public Safety Committee and members of Spokane City Council voted to reschedule the meeting for a tentative date next week.

They were slated to discuss progress in the city’s reform outlined earlier this year. A resolution was passed by city council on Feb. 6, to improve oversight, community involvement, training, and service through specific goals like developing a body camera program, discipline matrix, more civilian oversight, etc.


Straub promises innovation for SPD

Spokane Mayor David Condon made it official Wednesday, naming former Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub as his choice to take over leadership of the city's scandal-scarred police force. The appointment requires City Council confirmation, which could take up to a month to bring to a vote, but a majority already have indicated their support for the pick.

Straub brings an interesting background to Spokane. He's served in a various law enforcement capacities at the federal, state and local levels. His experience includes spearheading corruption investigations as a special agent with the U.S. Justice Department to helping craft strategies for improving community trust in law enforcement while overseeing public safety services in the upscale New York City suburb of White Plains. And while he held a key role in developing anti-terrorism training for the New York Police Department in the months following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and has led dignitary protection teams for the U.S. foreign service, Straub has never worked as a patrol officer in a local law enforcement agency.

The lack of street cop experience is a common criticism among Straub's detractors, of which he has many. An article on the Indianapolis Star newspaper's online site about Condon's announcement Wednesday quickly filled up with comments from readers happy to see him go.

In case you missed The SR's coverage of Straub's selection, you can find Wednesday's print edition version of the story here.

Police chief candidates down to two

Mayor David Condon said Wednesday that he is “very confident” one of two remaining finalists will be the next Spokane police chief, despite a law enforcement panel’s recommendation that he restart the search.

Either Daniel Mahoney, the commanding officer of the Ingleside Police Station within the San Francisco Police Department, or Frank Straub, director of public safety in Indianapolis, will be the city’s next top cop.

Read the rest of my story here.

July 26: Read a summary of the candidates' interviews last week here.

3 police chief candidates visit Spokane

From left facing camera, Spokane police chief candidates, George Markert, Daniel Mahoney and Frank Straub, visit with Spokane Mayor David Condon, left, and police historian, Susan S. Walker, during a meet-and-greet Wednesday in City Hall’s Chase Gallery. (SRphoto/Dan Pelle)

Three men vying to be the city of Spokane’s next police chief touted their experience, integrity, commitment to the job and their ability to solve tough problems in a series of interviews Wednesday with city officials and community leaders.

Only one of the five interviews with each candidate was open to the public, but the candidates said questions largely focused on the same issues: building trust, not just with the community but within the Spokane Police Department.

Read the rest of my story here.

Chief finalists to be interviewed today

The remaining Spokane police chief candidates each will have a 50-minute televised interview today on Comcast channel 5.

Daniel J. Mahoney, commanding officer of the Ingleside Police Station within the San Francisco Police Department, will be on at 11:10 a.m., George E. Markert, director of the Office of Public Integrity in Rochester, will be on at 1:15 p.m. and Frank Straub, director of public safety in Indianapolis and former commissioner of the Department of Public Safety in White Plains, N.Y., at 2:20 p.m.

Blair Ulring, retired police chief of Stockton, Calif., dropped out Tuesday, the day The Spokesman-Review published an article questioning his academic credentials.

Past coverage:

July 19: Four police chief finalists named

Straub tapped for Spokane police chief

The embattled top law enforcement official in Indianapolis will be among those considered for Spokane’s next chief of police.

Mayor David Condon confirmed to The Spokesman-Review that he asked Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub to apply for the opening here, and Straub has told Indianapolis media outlets that he’s taken Condon up on the offer.

Read the rest of my story here.

Straub is pictured in April courtesy of the The Indianapolis Star.

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