Kudos to Shawn Vestal for his Oct. 12 article addressing the slim likelihood of independent investigatory oversight of the Spokane Police Department. The possibility of settling for a better-than-nothing arrangement, despite long-standing support for such oversight by the public and the entire City Council, and numerous tragic instances that might have been avoided with such oversight in place, reminds us of the lack of progress and the undue influence the Spokane Police Guild has exerted on this subject.
The concept that the Police Department works for the city, and is consequently answerable to it, has been hijacked by the quixotic notion that police self-governance is sufficient for everyone’s needs. Subsequent events have made it clear that this is not the case. Self-regulation, whether by public utility or media companies, banks, or public servants like the SPD, usually evolves into an exercise in reconfiguring the political landscape to one’s own liking. It would be difficult to argue that this isn’t exactly what has happened here.
Please support the Spokane City Council in their quest to implement meaningful independent oversight and reasonable accountability for the Spokane Police Department.