Posts tagged: Spokane Police Department
Last night was a big one for Tim Burns, the Spokane Police ombudsman.
He was reappointed for another one-year term, setting him off on his fifth year as the civilian watchdog for Spokane police. Burns was appointed for a three-year term in 2009 by then-Mayor Mary Verner. His one year extension last night came from Mayor David Condon and a unanimous vote by the City Council.
Burns also unveiled his 2013 mid-year report, which contained some surprising numbers.
First, of the 142 complaints against the department in the first six months of the year, 75 were classified as formal. Of those 75, 15 came from within the department. This is a huge jump when compared to the same time period last year, when just three complaints were internally generated, of 46 total complaints.
Burns told the City Council the increase was notable, but he was unable to say what might be driving the change.
Burns also noted a decrease in taser use by police, which happened 14 times in 11 incidents this year. In the first six months of 2012, a taser was used 25 times in 21 incidents.
Finally, Burns said he was concerned by the increase in SWAT activations. In the first half of 2012, SWAT was called out 21 times. This year, it happened 29 times.
Check out the whole report on the ombudsman's website, or read it here.
File this under the FYI category.
The fatal shooting of a fleeing SUV thief March 25 by a gun-toting Spokane homeowner apparently has done little, if anything, to curb auto theft across the city.
In fact, the number of cars and trucks stolen across the city in the days following the the shooting climbed 15 percent over the previous week, according to crime stats compiled by the Spokane Police Department. There were 45 autos reported stolen during the week ending March 30, compared to 39 during the previous week.
Community debate over homeowner Gail Gerlach's decision to open fire on the fleeing thief, 25-year-old Brendon T. Kaluza-Graham, has continued to rage. Gerlach told police he thought the thief was armed and raising a weapon at him while driving away in the stolen SUV.
A bold cat made his presence known to a Spokane Police officer’s patrol car this evening after a SWAT standoff came to an end.
He sniffed around the scene near Princeton Avenue and Monroe Street looking for news and ducked under the patrol car for a few moments.
And then the cat jumped on the car's hood - probably expecting a ride-along - and sniffed the roof's antenna before running off.
Several Spokane Police officers and Sheriff’s deputies have been awarded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for protecting the community from a bomb planted by Kevin W. Harpham during the MLK Unity March in 2011.
(Pictured from left to right in front row: Lt. Matt Lyons, Cpl. Mark Fox and Sgt. Jason Hartman. Lt. Eric Olsen was absent from the award ceremony due to training, according to police spokeswoman Monique Cotton. Photo courtesy: SPD)
The bomb did not detonate because Harpham’s remote triggering device could not get close enough to the device. The bomb was laced with rat poison and placed on the northeast corner of Main Avenue and Washington Street, reports said.
Spokane Police Sgt. Jason Hartman and Lt. Eric Olsen were awarded Thursday afternoon for moving the march route, an act that’s believed to have saved several lives.
Court documents show three contract workers discovered the bomb as Harpham walked in the march. Police changed the route before he could walk in range of the device - losing his opportunity to detonate the bomb.
Cpl. Mark Fox and Lt. Matt Lyons with the Spokane County Sheriff’s were also awarded by the FBI for their work with the bomb squad disarming Harpham’s device.
Harpham was arrested in March near his rural home near Addy. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison in Dec. 2011.
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.
Icy conditions got the best of a Spokane garbage truck during the Thursday morning commute as it slid down a treacherous South Hill road and collided with several parked vehicles.
The drivers said their chains and parking brake of a garbage truck snapped as they were outside helping another driver stuck in the roadway. The heavy truck slid down Howard Avenue and hit several parked cars near Sixth Street.
Nobody was injured during the pile-up, according to Spokane Police officers, but multiple vehicles were towed away due to damage.
Maureen Henderson was inside her stuck car as the truck careened toward her. It hit hard, she said, but it wasn’t as jarring as she thought it was going to be.
“Last year it was a school bus that knocked out a couple cars,” Henderson said. “If the city - if they would come and gravel this, it wouldn’t happen.”
Because the garbage truck is owned by the city of Spokane, officers could not cite the drivers, but the incident report will be examined by a traffic lieutenant who will decide if a citation merits the situation.
City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said the drivers will not be held liable for damage to the other vehicles.
According to witnesses, the garbage men had finished picking up trash in a nearby alleyway when they stopped to help Henderson.
(The chains and parking brake of a Spokane garbage truck snapped during the Thursday morning commute. The truck collided with multiple cars on its way down Howard Street near Sixth Avenue. Nicole Hensley photo)
A thief accused of breaking into a South Hill home earlier this month has been linked to additional homes targeted Dec. 7, according to court documents filed Friday, but formal charges for those extra crimes have not been filed yet.
Police arrested 26-year-old Kyle P. Murphy after vigilant neighbors spotted a suspicious looking man checking out homes. Officers found him leaving a home in the 2800 block of south Manito Blvd. with a backpack filled with what they believed was stolen goods.
In addition to the 2800 address, detectives have linked Murphy to two burglaries in the 2100 block that occurred that same day, according to court documents, including the Emmersons who were featured in previous coverage.
Some of the property reported by neighbors as stolen were recovered inside a backpack including a fish finder that was meant as a gift to Scott Emmerson from his wife. The thief reportedly tore through the presents after breaking into the home through the dog door.
The fish finder will not be returned to the victims in time for Christmas, said Celeste Emmerson. They’ll have to wait until the investigations concludes while the gift remains at police property.
Murphy remains in custody at Spokane County Jail with a $15,000 bond.
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.
A woman's leg was broken after she was hit by a truck in a downtown Spokane intersection this morning.
Around 7:55 a.m., the driver of a truck was turning left on Washington Street from Riverside Avenue and hit the woman, said Spokane Police Officer Brad Moon.
Medics transported her to the local hospital for her injuries. The driver was cited for failure to yield to the woman in the crosswalk.
(Spokane Police Officer John O'Brien holds an IV while medics tend to a woman with a broken leg after the driver of a truck hit her in a downtown intersection Thursday morning. Nicole Hensley photo)
Next time a motor officer hands you a traffic violation, you could be eligible for a seat in the city’s new traffic school.
The county already has a traffic school, but now the city does as well.The six-hour course starts Jan. 5 and gives drivers an alternative to a violation stamped on their insurance or driving record through Spokane Municipal Court.
One of the instructors, officer Nate Spiering calls the course a good first option for drivers that are offered the course. Depending on the traffic violation, drivers are handed a flyer for the class while they’re handed a ticket.
Spiering says once the course is completed, the violation is gone, like it never existed.
For some drivers, the class will be a refresher course, others - a revelation.
“Some people have been through driver’s (education) in the past six months, some never had,” Spiering said. “We’re hoping for a full encompassing education back to the public.”
The course will be taught at Spokane Police Academy and will focus on the correlation between speeding and distractions like cell phones. They’ll also talk about bicycle and pedestrian safety and other rules of the road that are unique to Spokane like u-turn restrictions in the city limits.
When drivers receive a ticket, they have 15 days to apply for the course. When you go to the municipal court clerk’s office for your ticket, you can pay $124, which is the standard penalty for a ticket in Washington state if you’re caught not wearing a seat belt or using your cell phone, for the class.
There are a couple more conditions at Spokane Police’s website that explain who is eligible and who is not so if you’re stuck with a ticket right now, check out the requirements and see if the traffic school is an option for you.
A man suspected of stabbing another man on Saturday night near the intersection of Nelson and Wabash, was never arrested because the incident is being investigated as self-defense, says Spokane Police spokeswoman officer Jennifer DeRuwe.
Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office is calling the manner of the victim’s death a homicide.
The victim, who was later identified as 25-year-old Robert H. Fletcher, died from multiple stab wounds and incised wounds, says medical examiner officials. Fletcher was pronounced dead after he was transported to a local hospital.
Witnesses told police the name of the possible suspect and he was located nearby.
Police have yet to identify him since they’re still investigating the homicide.
A driver being pursued by Spokane Police for reckless driving in downtown Spokane hit another driver on Saturday evening.
The female victim had minor injuries when the other driver, later identified as 29-year-old Noah T. Grant, hit her vehicle in the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Jefferson Street.
Officer Micah Prim spotted Grant around 5:40 p.m. during a license plate check of a Nissan Pathfinder at Maple Street and 4th Avenue. The registered owner had an active felony warrant, said police in court documents.
The driver had difficulties turning left on 4th Avenue, ending up on the curb, making the officer believe he may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Officer Prim turned on his patrol lights, but the driver kept going and even accelerated when the sirens were flipped on.
The driver sped past a responding Corporal’s vehicle and ran a red light hitting another car in the intersection.
Police said in court documents that Grant fled the vehicle and ran down Railroad Alley where he slipped into a fenced area populated with wine racks. Frantically, Grant realized he was trapped. Another responding officer climbed the tall pile of wine racks into the fenced area and arrested Grant.
A switchblade knife found near Grant’s vehicle in the roadway was picked up as evidence.
Grant was booked into Spokane County Jail for vehicle hit and run with injury, attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle, possession of a dangerous weapon, resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving.
He’s to be arraigned next week with a $25,000 bail on his charges.
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.
Spokane Police detectives say a man may have targeted the home of a burglary victim because of an online obituary, entering when he believed she would be gone.
The burglar’s haul included multiple firearms, antiques, and the victim’s dead husband’s wedding ring. The crime occurred Sept. 22 on the 2800 block of West Lyons.
On Oct. 24, Detective Lonnie Tofsrud, with SPD’s Targeted Crimes Unit, arrested 27-year-old Michael Sisneros after Sisneros allegedly sold one of the stolen firearms, a .22-caliber gun, to Joseph Travis Sizemore.
Sizemore, 33, was arrested Oct. 4 after allegedly fleeing the scene of a crash that occurred near Monroe Street and Boone Avenue and leading police a short pursuit.
After police caught up to Sizemore, a convicted felon, they found a .22-caliber bullet, a .22-caliber revolver and methamphetamine. Follow-up investigation revealed the firearm was stolen from the West Lyons burglary.
Sisneros was booked into Spokane County Jail Wednesday on unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and trafficking in stolen property.
While they have nabbed the alleged thieves, police have yet to track down the wedding band and the other stolen items and are asking for the public’s help locating the items. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.
Items taken in burglaries tend to move quickly through the black market and are often difficult to track down, SPD crime analyst Tom Michaud said. Police encourage people to write down serial numbers and take pictures of valuables to help police locate them if they are stolen.
Spokane police arrested a panhandler Thursday afternoon after discovering he had a stolen car.
A man left a vehicle parked near the Office Depot by Wellesley Avenue and Division Street and proceeded to the intersection with a cardboard sign to panhandle, according to a Spokane Police Department news release.
Officers discovered the car had been reported stolen from the South Hill area two days ago and arrested Alex D. Treadway, 30, as he returned to the vehicle after collecting money from a number of motorists.
Treadway was booked into Spokane County Jail for possession of a stolen vehicle. He is a convicted felon with numerous Spokane-area arrests, including felon in possession of a firearm, armed burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and theft, according to police.
“Consider carefully who you might be rolling your window for,” police Spokesman Sgt. Jason Hartman said in the news release.
“The Spokane Police Department wants to remind the public that a multitude of government and charitable services exist, especially downtown, to assist people with food, shelter and medical needs,” Hartman said. “Members of the department are aware of numerous instances where panhandled donations have not gone for the stated purpose.”
The Spokane City Council passed an ordinance in August banning panhandlers in certain areas from reaching into the street to take money from drivers.
The affected area is south of Boone Avenue, west of Hamilton Street, north of Seventh Avenue and east of the Maple-Ash corridor on major arterials, including state highway routes. It also includes interchanges along the entire Interstate 90 corridor inside the city of Spokane.
Were detectives just doing their job or did they go too far?
A Spokane attorney has accused detectives of misrepresenting facts surrounding a homicide investigation in order to obtain permission to search the belongings of the victim's daughter.
Recently unsealed court documents show Spokane police detectives seeking search warrants told a judge the daughter, Billie McKinney, 25, was an uncooperative witness who hindered the investigation into the May stabbing death of her mother, Sharlotte McGill.
She has since been cleared of any involvement.
Jeffry Finer, who is representing McKinney, released a statement Wednesday stating he would seek an explanation of the alleged misstatements from authorities, but did not specify what those misstatements were.
Authorities were looking into a possible connection between McKinney and 20-year-old Steven Lewis, who matches the physical description given by McGill just before she died. Lewis was dating the mother of troubled teenager Avondre Graham, 17, who now faces charges for McGill's murder and two separate assaults.
Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said detectives have a duty to look at anyone close to the investigation.
The story surrounding the recently released documents is sparking a lively discussion in the comment section.
Read more here.
A man was hospitalized earlier this month after allegedly being the target of football rage at a downtown Spokane bar.
On Oct. 2 at 3:06 a.m., police took a report from the victim at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. He said he was assaulted by numerous men outside the Monterey Cafe located at 9 N. Washington Street.
Police said the victim was targeted for disparaging the Dallas Cowboys.
There was a football game televised the night prior. On Oct. 1, the Cowboys played the Chicago Bears and lost 34-18.
The condition of the victim is unknown at this time.
City leaders have apologized to a police detective fired last year for what officials described as a “troubled work history.”
The Spokane City Council voted 5-1 on Monday to approve a $350,000 settlement with Detective Jeff Harvey, who was rehired earlier this year.
The settlement stipulates that Harvey will not be disciplined for the episode that led to his termination.
Harvey argued that then-Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick fired him in retaliation for his leadership of the Spokane Police Guild. But city officials at the time said the last straw was an alleged confrontation he had with a state Fish and Wildlife officer who had pulled him over on suspicion of violating hunting laws.
Here's a link to the full story by SR reporter Jonathan Brunt.
A suspected drug dealer sought for questioning in the Sept. 13 shooting death of a Yakima man found dead in a downtown Spokane motel parking lot has been captured.
Kevin Heaton, 35, was taken into custody Friday at a small apartment complex in the tiny town of Metaline Falls near the Canadian border, according to the Spokane Police Department. Federal agents and the Metaline Falls town marshal assisted Spokane police in the apprehension.
Heaton was taken into custody without incident on an unrelated felony drug warrant. “They were looking to talk to him about his possible involvement on that Days Inn homicide,” said Spokane police spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe.
On Sept. 13, police responded to shots fired at the Days Inn hotel at 120 W. Third Ave. and found Paul A. Haney, 33, of Yakima, in the parking lot, dead from gunshot wounds.
Detectives searched three hotel rooms and found additional weapons and methamphetamine, according to a previously released statement from police.
Heaton’s record includes an April arrest for his alleged role in a burglary ring. Police found large amounts of stolen goods, including motorcycles and guns, and seized about 3 1/2 pounds of meth and marijuana in the case, which included six other arrests.
Can you do at least 21 pushups? Sprint 300 meters in 71 seconds or less? Run a mile-and-a-half in under 14:31? What about 30 situps in under a minute?
If so, you may be eligible for the Spokane Police Department's reserve officer program.
The department is looking to bolster its reserve force and urging those interested in serving as voluteers to explore opportunities at SPD. Reserve officers, once they've completed training, carry full police commissions while on duty and are paired up with full-time officers to help augment available resources.
Reserve officers must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED with at least a 2.0 grade-point average, a valid driver's license with no suspensions in the past five years. They must commit to a 15-week training academy that meets three nights a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) plus eight hours on Saturdays, and serve at least 20 hours a month on the job once commissioned.
Upcoming physical agility tests are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sept. 30, 5 p.m. on Oct. 3 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 5. Those who pass the physical agility tests are invited to proceed with the next step in the application process, which includes polygraph and background investigations.
Here's a link to SPD's Reserve Officer Program web page. Information also is available by contacting the department's Volunteer Services Unit at (509) 363-8283 or (509) 363-8281.