What do Spokane’s citizens, the mayor and the establishment want in a police chief; a reformer, a water carrier, or someone who will kowtow? If these candidates are the best, then vetting has gone awry. The Spokesman-Review editorial of July 22 lists good criteria.
Let me summarize a short history of Spokane chiefs: patrol officer made chief as a political appointee; sergeant made chief who kept hitting parked cars; a good chief beaten down by a budget-killing councilman; a chief who didn’t want to offend anyone; a chief too independent; one who manipulated the budget crisis to the detriment of the department; one over her head who tried to bully the rank and file.
A former deputy chief was quoted as saying you will be asked to do things you do not like to do – that implies covering problems up.
If the mayor were smart, he would extend the search to find a leader who could meet the editorial’s criteria. Three things could happen: The mayor would fire him or her. He or she would stand their ground on reform or quit. Or, it could result in a mutual lovefest.
Retired police captain