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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Anne Kirkpatrick

Stephens leading police department — at least until 1 p.m.

Spokane Mayor David Condon confirmed this morning that he will name his selection for interim police chief at a news conference at 1 p.m.

The current acting chief, Scott Stephens, declined to say if he will still be chief by the end of the day in a brief interview after he left a meeting at City Hall this morning.

Condon said last week that Stephens would be acting chief “through the weekend.” Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick's retired effective Jan. 2.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has requested the position in hopes that the city would consider contracting with his department. Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner started a national search for a new chief with Condon's blessing.

The interim chief will inherit significant obstacles, including the possibility of other officers facing federal criminal charges related to the handling of the Otto Zehm matter, low morale and recent budget cuts.

Stephens named acting police chief but only through weekend

Mayor-elect David Condon said today that Acting Assistant Police Chief Scott Stephens will lead the Spokane Police Department, but his appointment so far is extremely temporary.

Condon, who will become mayor at midnight on Jan. 1, said he has agreed to have Stephens lead the department “through the weekend.”

Stephens was a major in the department under retiring Chief Anne Kirkpatrick until Kirkpatrick named him acting assistant chief this fall after Assistant Chief Jim Nicks went on sick leave.

City hires attorney to fight lawsuit filed by detective

The Spokane City Council on Monday agreed to hire a local attorney to help the city defend itself in a lawsuit filed by a Spokane police detective.

The city will pay Milt Rowland, a former assistant city attorney for Spokane, up to $75,000 to assist the city in the case brought by Detective Jay Mehring. Rowland is part of the firm Foster Pepper.

Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick placed Mehring on unpaid leave after he was charged with felony harassment in March 2007. He was acquitted by a jury and received back pay. His suit alleges that Kirkpatrick continued to make public statements accusing Mehring of threatening his wife even after he was acquitted.

Other unions show support for Kirkpatrick

Division in the Spokane Police Department has been made clear by the March no confidence vote held by the Spokane Police Guild.

Some supporters of Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick within the department responded by printing and wearing the button pictured above, and it appears she has the support of smaller groups within the department that are members of other unions.

“The chief has always been more than fair,” said Mike Smith, staff representative of Local 270 of the Washington State Council of City and County Employees. Smith said Local 270 opted not to hold a confidence vote in response to the Guild’s decision because “this is totally their issue.”

Smith said Local 270 represents about 60 police records specialists, radio operators and other clerical workers in the department.

Two other unions in the department, the Lieutenants and Captains Association and the police employees of the Managerial and Professional Association, wrote Kirkpatrick letters of support.

“The Lt’s and Capt’s Association is supportive of our administration,” wrote Capt. Steve Braun in an e-mail to Kirkpatrick on March 18. “We believe in the agreed upon mission, vision and values of the Spokane Police Department.”

Kirkpatrick: We may cut 24 from SPD

Spokane police would cut 24 positions, most of them by attrition, to cover the department’s share of a projected city shortfall if officers don’t agree to wage concessions, Chief Anne Kirkpatrick told the City Council Thursday.

Half of the reductions would come from patrol officers, and another four would be detectives, she said. The cuts, plus a series of staff realignments, would allow the department to concentrate on what Kirkpatrick called the foundation of its mission, servicing 9-1-1 calls.

Like other city departments, police have been told to find a 4.07 percent reduction from their 2009 budget because of anticipated reductions in tax revenues. For police, that’s nearly $2 million the city will have to find in budget deliberations that begin in November and must conclude in December.

City to PD: We may need cuts in 2010

Spokane Police were told Thursday to begin thinking creatively about a cut to their budget next year which could top $2 million.

Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, Mayor Mary Verner and Chief Financial Officer Gavin Cooley held a closed-door meeting with more than 100 members of the department, both commissioned and civilian, to say that the budget looks steady for 2009 but cuts may be coming in 2010.

At a press briefing outside the meeting, Kirkpatrick emphasized that nothing has been settled and all options were “on the table.” All city departments have been told to look at ways to cut their budget by 4.07 percent in 2010, and for the police department, that would be about $2.2 million.

“We’re not making major changes right now in 2009,” Kirkpatrick said. “We must prepare for 2010.”

Personnel cuts of between 20 and 50 employees have been mentioned, but only as a starting point for discussions, Kirkpatrick said.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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