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Sat., Dec. 14, 2013

Reject ombudsman plan

The citizens last February overwhelmingly passed an ordinance by over 69 percent to expand the police ombudsman’s responsibilities with investigatory independence. After monthslong, behind-doors strategizing with the police department, the mayor has laid an egg. And those who embrace this egg will only gain their own stench.

Under the proposed revision, the ombudsman at best monitors, and even that only where permitted. Internal Affairs still does the investigation. This revision actually diminishes the ombudsman. For example, he no longer sets his own rules. The revisions rein in the ombudsman throughout the investigation by IA from start, triggered by the chief, through finish, halted by decision of the chief. Police control also dominates the choices for occupants of the independent commission that may intervene.

Would the commission’s investigator, perhaps a suggested State Patrol officer, really provide a fresh look as an outside investigator with suggested guidance from the supposedly less than satisfactory Spokane police itself? So helpful this is. We have another travesty here that should again be summarily rejected by the council.

Dave Plemons


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