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Who polices the police?

The issue is who polices the police? In the 1960s, the U.S. Supreme Court adopted the exclusionary rule suppressing evidence where the constable blundered, with the suspect often going free. Again, in the Civil Rights era, Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act allowed police and agencies to be sued for violating constitutional rights. In both cases, the public suffered.

Obviously, law enforcement needs to be held accountable. Normally this requires a strong mayor and police chief doing their jobs. While both the prior administration and local criminal justice system failed in the Otto Zehm case, nevertheless the administration cannot be let off the hook.

The objective should be a model organizational justice system fair to both public and working officers. The Spokane City Council should not allow the process to become bogged down in politics, as it has done.

A public vote should not override state collective bargaining law, if in fact it does. The local print media has long tended to beat local law enforcement up, rightly or wrongly. The Police Guild needs to protect the collective rights of the officers in the face of political pressure.

Robert Allen



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Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.