February 16, 2012 in City

Condon lays out plan for policing

Mayor seeks input on search for new chief
By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

Spokane Mayor David Condon gestures during a news conference Wednesday as he announces his plan to help restore public trust in police.
(Full-size photo)

Spokane Mayor David Condon said Wednesday that the search for a police chief won’t be rushed.

The city still is accepting applications for the job. But Condon said he will seek feedback from the public on the kind of experience and other parameters the city should use to narrow the field of candidates.

“We need to understand as a community what we want in our next police chief,” he said.

Meanwhile, Interim Chief Scott Stephens said he likely will apply for the job.

“Everybody is driving toward the same goals, and I find that very encouraging,” Stephens said. “That has encouraged me to lean strongly toward putting myself into consideration for that position.”

Condon and Stephens spoke at a news conference laying out their “immediate police action plan.”

Most of the plan already had been announced by Condon, in a speech to Greater Spokane Inc. last week or at earlier events.

The plan calls for officers to attend all neighborhood council meetings to start creating closer relationships with citizens, an evaluation of officers wearing cameras to record their interactions with the public, a review of the department’s use-of-force policy and a commitment to provide training to officers to “better serve vulnerable populations.”

Stephens said the department is working with mental health experts in Spokane to create a training program that will be presented at the Spokane Police Academy sometime in “early spring.”

Condon said he wanted to craft the action plan before moving ahead with the search for police chief.

“I wanted to make sure that I understood what were the areas that we needed to work on, start that work and then flow into the search process,” he said.

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