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Clark: Police chiefs’ parting gifts will embody law, odor

Thu., Sept. 15, 2011

The ongoing soap opera that is Spokane law enfarcement has had more twists and turns lately than a Ringling Bros. trapeze act.

Fortunately, Cpl. Clark has returned to help guide us through this briar patch in blue.

So let the unraveling begin …

Q: What do you make of Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and Assistant Chief Jim Nicks both abandoning ship at practically the same time?

Cpl. Clark: It’s poor time management. Even Nixon and Agnew had the decency to keep their departures separate.

Q: Chief Kirkpatrick has had a pretty rough go of it, huh?

Cpl. Clark: “SPD” doesn’t stand for Schemes, Prevaricators and Debauchery for nothing.

Q: Do you know what Chief Kirkpatrick will do after she leaves the department?

Cpl. Clark: First up is a long, hot, soapy shower.

Q: To relax?

Cpl. Clark: To wash the stink off.

Q: And then?

Cpl. Clark: As luck would have it, she’s found police work in a far happier and less stressful place.

Q: You mean like Palm Springs?

Cpl. Clark: No. Libya.

Q: Did the Nicks retirement surprise you?

Cpl. Clark: Not really. Nicks, as we all know, was the SPD’s minister of disinformation in the smear against Otto Zehm, the innocent and mentally ill janitor who died following a violent encounter with thug police.

Q: That’s right. But then Nicks flip-flopped his story to implicate Karl Thompson Jr., the officer facing a federal trial over what he did to Zehm. Did Nicks have a sincere change of heart?

Cpl. Clark: More like a sincere fear of committing perjury.

Q: Will there be much political fallout from the Kirkpatrick/Nicks exit?

Cpl. Clark: Rumor has it that Spokane Mayor Mary Starshine is planning another ragtag, impromptu news conference.

Q: To address the police leadership vacuum?

Cpl. Clark: To scold us for overwatering our lawns.

Q: And what about David Condon?

Cpl. Clark: Who?

Q: You know, Condon. The wannabe mayor who got his ass kicked by Mary in the primary.

Cpl. Clark: Oh, him. Condon’s been in round-the-clock meetings with his campaign advisers.

Q: Looking for ways to turn around our police department?

Cpl. Clark: No, looking for ways to turn our police scandals into votes.

Q: Condon’s interest in Otto Zehm does seem shamelessly opportunistic, huh?

Cpl. Clark: Condon couldn’t even spell Otto Zehm three weeks ago.

Q: Has the Spokane Police Guild reacted to the news about Kirkpatrick and Nicks?

Cpl. Clark: The guild is already planning a big “Nice Knowing You, Anne & Jim” party.

Q: Sounds festive.

Cpl. Clark: Guild officials plan to present Chief Kirkpatrick with a ceremonial SPD dagger.

Q: Why a dagger?

Cpl. Clark: It’s the same one they stuck in her back when she applied for the chief’s job in Seattle.

Q: What are they giving Nicks?

Cpl. Clark: A ceremonial dead fish wrapped in newspaper.

Q: Isn’t that a Mafia symbol of doom?

Cpl. Clark: What’s your point?

Q: That’s cold.

Cpl. Clark: Not as cold as the parting gift proposed by a reader who left a message on my voice mail.

Q: What would he give Nicks?

Cpl. Clark: A 21-Taser salute.

Q: Pretty soon we’ll have to go through the long, ugly process of selecting a new Spokane police chief. Do you have advice for any candidates who might be considering the job?

Cpl. Clark: Run for your bloody lives.

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

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