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Doug Clark: Police chief is suddenly America’s most wanted

Tue., Oct. 13, 2009

I’m weighing the merits of chocolate vs. white cake in a South Hill Safeway store Sunday when a stranger walks up and tells me he’s a big fan, so right away I know he’s not a cop.

The guy’s next sentence confirms this. He asks why I haven’t yet written a column about the possibility of our pixie police chief saying Anne Voyage to Spokaloo.

The story broke last Thursday all across our front page.

True, that isn’t quite the spread it used to be, but at least we’re still larger than Wheel Deals.

“Chief applied for new job,” the headline read.

What a shocker. Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has applied for the top cop job in that fabled City by the Bay, San Francisco.

Everyone, sing: “She broke our hearts, and fled to Friscooo.”

“I knew you’d have a field day with that,” says my new friend.

How well my readers know me. It’s true. I wasn’t about to let this slide. Especially with Chief Anne saying that although she did apply for the job she doesn’t consider herself actually “looking” for a new position.

I haven’t seen logic twisted like this since Bill Clinton was pioneering new definitions for the ooh-la-lah. I’m a simple man. To me, if you apply for a job, well, then you’re looking for a job.

Kirkpatrick’s take on it is more like she’s that hot girl at the mixer that all the guys want to dance with.

“So the bottom line is that I am recruited for almost every opening in the country because I am a minority and every recruiter wants a minority in the application pool,” she said in our news story.

Kirkpatrick is definitely a minority. She may be the nation’s only police chief under 4 feet tall.

Little Known Fact: When Kirkpatrick graduated from the Police Academy, she was issued a badge, a gun and a stepladder.

Look. I’m the last person who wants to see the chief abandon this sinking ship. Tiny though she may be, I believe the chief is still the SPD’s biggest force against RCY.

Rampant Cop Yahooism.

Trouble is, there are still way too many good ol’ boys who don’t like the chief’s my-way-or- the-highway rules. Last year, in fact, some of the grumblers threatened to deliberately slow down their response times to everything but major emergencies. No residents noticed any difference.

Oh, Anne. I tried to warn you. I tried to tell what you were getting yourself into. Remember back in 2006, when you were one of the finalists for our police chief job? “The poor souls,” I wrote. “They remind me of those brave soldiers in the ‘Aliens’ movie who stormed into dark tunnels on a rescue mission only to discover they had unwittingly wandered into a hive of acid-belching space insects.”

Now you know what I was talking about. You’re up to your eyebrows in acid-belchers. And that’s just the Police Guild.

How many more scandals can you take? The latest is a doozy – a boozed-up off-duty cop who rear-ended a citizen and ran. Allegedly.

So go ahead, Anne. Fill out those job applications. Don’t be ashamed. Nobody will blame you for wanting to beat cheeks away from Spokane’s grim blue line.

Oh, and if you really decide to blow this pop stand let me know. I can come over and reach those things off the high shelves.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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