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In brief: Use of force commission holds first meeting

The interim Spokane police chief and a Gonzaga University Law School professor were among the presenters Wednesday at the first meeting of Spokane’s commission on police use of force.

Jason Gillmer, a civil liberties expert, described the need for officers to be held to an “objective standard” regarding conduct instead of relying only on what the individual officer perceived at the time.

“This objective standard does not mean that an officer cannot make a mistake, but the mistake must be one that a reasonable officer could have made,” Gillmer said.

Interim police Chief Scott Stephens described the department’s mission and goals and answered questions about training.

The meeting began with a moment of silence for Otto Zehm, who died in 2006 after an encounter with Spokane police officers. It ended with comments from citizens, including the family of James Rogers, who was shot to death by police in September amid reports that he was armed and suicidal.

The commission, which was formed by Mayor David Condon, plans to finish reviewing Spokane Police Department policies by June.

Meghann M. Cuniff

County school district levies have been certified

Spokane County’s Feb. 14 special election on district levies has been certified, and voters approved all but two districts’ initiatives.

Deer Park School District’s levy failed by 52 votes, according to the elections office. Riverside School District’s companion levies – a maintenance and operations levy and a technology levy – were also unsuccessful.

The results of the recent levy were clear, Riverside school officials wrote in a newsletter. “Economic realities may prevent our community … from providing the support and level of investment we requested.”

Riverside will run one levy on April 17 for a smaller amount, $3.42 per $1,000 assessed value rather than $3.90 to $4.33.

Deer Park will rerun its levy the same day, Superintendent Becky Cooke said.

Jody Lawrence-Turner