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Police reform resolution wins Spokane council OK

The Spokane City Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution calling for a series of measures that they said would improve accountability of the police department.

At the heart of the resolution is a provision to amend an ordinance governing the Office of Police Ombudsman to restore independent investigative authority to the ombudsman and remove a pre-screening requirement provided to the Police Guild, which represents rank-and-file officers.

The resolution calls for publishing internal affairs reports from 2009 through 2011 on the website of the Office of Police Ombudsman by March 1.

The council also is calling for a program to purchase and equip officers with body cameras.

The Police Guild said Monday it agrees with the issue of reform, but that changes would have to be negotiated under the Guild’s labor contract with the city because the changes could affect working conditions.

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Then and Now: Comstock Park

new  James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.