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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Spokane Police Department

Straub’s pick for assistant chief is veteran officer

Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub’s top candidate to be assistant police chief is an internal candidate.

City Councilman Jon Snyder, the chairman of the city’s public safety committee, said Friday that Straub’s choice is Capt. Rick Dobrow.

Dobrow started work as a police officer in Stockton, Calif. in 1982, according to a department newsletter. He joined the Spokane force in 1994. Dobrow was given the department’s purple heart award after a serious motorcycle crash in September 2006.

Assistant Police Chief Craig Meidl informed Straub last week that he was stepping down and wanted to return to being a lieutenant.

What if Straub doesn’t get commissioned?

If the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission today doesn’t grant the new leader of the Spokane Police Department’s request to waive a requirement to join the state police academy, it’s unclear if the city will bother making him the chief.

City officials are confident that the commission will allow Spokane’s new director of law enforcement, Frank Straub, to become a commissioned officer without having to take the usual five-month training required to earn the status based on his 28-years of experience in law enforcement.

“The City of Spokane believes that Mr. Straub has the background, training and expertise to lead the Spokane Poice Department and to quickly become an asset to our community,” said a letter signed by Mayor David Condon to the training commission. (The full letter and Straub's resume are attached to this post.)


Documents:

New police leader will live within city limits

Spokane's new director of law enforcement will start his job in Spokane on Oct. 1.

Frank Straub, the former director of public safety for the city of Indianapolis, was hired by the Spokane City Council in a 6-0 vote Monday night. He will appear at a press conference this afternoon in Spokane.

Straub said Monday night that he has made an offer, which was accepted, on a home on the South Hill. He hopes he and his fiance can move in by Nov. 1.

Condon pays to fly four to Spokane to back Straub

Tired of hearing negative things about the man he selected to be police chief, Mayor David Condon and his top administrator personally paid to fly four Indiana residents to Spokane to vouch for him.

The four, including the former editor of the Indianapolis Star and the leader of the Indianapolis fire union, told the Spokane City Council on Monday night that Condon’s pick, Frank Straub, is a hard-working, caring reformer who listens to the community. Straub last month left his job as Indianapolis’ public safety director after a controversial two-year tenure.

After the four Hoosiers and 10 others testified, the council appointed Straub as Spokane’s new director of law enforcement in a 6-0 vote. (Councilman Steve Salvatori was absent.)

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.

County commissioners urge Condon to consider Knezovich for police chief

Spokane County's three Republican county commissioners are asking Mayor-elect David Condon to strongly consider Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich's offer to be the city's interim police chief.

The three signed a letter to Condon's transition team saying that with Chief Anne Kirkpatrick retiring, it makes sense to consider consolidating the Spokane Police Department with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. If Knezovich is selected as interim chief, it would allow the concept to be studied, they said.


Documents:

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.

Today’s prediction: Fireworks ahead on ombudsman

This doesn't take a crystal ball or Karnak the Great: The city of Spokane and some of its citizens groups are headed for a heated fight over the current police ombudsman's ordinance.

The Center for Justice and others today are urging the city to appeal a recent arbitrator's decision that the expanded powers for the ombudsman had to be negotiated with the Police Guild. The council, meanwhile, is considering whether to repeal the 2010 ordinance that expanded those powers and go back to the previous configuration.

Read the full story about it here.

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.”

Word.

What’s in a word? When the word is “lunge”, it could be quite a bit.

That’s lunge the verb, as in the Spokane Police Department’s repeated insistence that Otto Zehm “lunged” at Officer Karl Thompson the night of March 18, 2006, in an altercation that led to Zehm being struck with a police baton, jolted with a Taser, handcuffed, hog-tied, going unconscious, slipping into a coma, being declared brain dead, and eventually dying.

That word was used by Acting Spokane Police Chief Jim Nicks the night of the altercation, who had been called to the scene.“The suspect lunged at the officer during the initial contact and basically a fight occurred at that time,” he told the assembled news media.

All the bad things that happened, it seemed, sprang from that lunge.

But Nicks wasn’t there when the altercation started…

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.

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