BURIEN, Wash. — Spokane’s new director of law enforcement will not have to attend a five-month police academy to become a commissioned officer in Washington state.
The state’s Criminal Justice Training Commission this morning granted Spokane city officials’ request for a waiver, ruling instead that Straub could take a nine-week course focusing on differences in Washington’s laws and procedures that’s essentially designed for out-of-state police executives.
Spokane Mayor David Condon said today he was pleased with the state’s decision and that Straub’s official title will change to police chief once he’s successfully completed the online course.
Commission staff said that while Straub has an extensive law enforcement background, he has not attended a police officer’s training course that is recognized by the state. The course he took as a federal officer is not among those the state recognizes, Tisha Jones told the commission.
Straub does have “a significant level of law enforcement training and education,” Jones said, as well as 28 years in the profession. “He has not worked in a certified police officer position … ever.”
Straub told the commission, however, that he was certified as federal law enforcement officer, and was certified as a New York state police officer.
Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo, the commission vice chairman, said Straub’s resume is impressive, but he was concerned about setting a precedent by waiving the academy requirement. In the end, the commission decided to grant the waiver based on the “totality” of his experience, emphasizing that it wasn’t creating a precedent for future applicants who received their training from an academy the state doesn’t recognize.
Straub said he was happy the commission had approved the waiver, adding it was something that couldn’t be taken for granted.
“It’s very important that I’m able to establish my bona fides in the state of Washington among my colleagues,” he said.