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Doug Clark: Corporal Clark talks cops, crooks, downtown violence

Sun., Feb. 2, 2014

Corporal Clark returns to address your concerns about cops, crooks and your odds of getting a black eye after dining out in downtown Spokane.

Q: Wasn’t it terrible what happened to Bruce Palmer, the citizen who was attacked by street punks outside the Steam Plant the other night?

Cpl. Clark: It certainly wasn’t one of Spokane’s better Chamber of Commerce moments.

Q: Yet Spokane police quickly assured everyone that the downtown is safer than Parents Day at vacation Bible school. Now, where have I heard that before?

Cpl. Clark: The mayor in “Jaws” telling everybody it was OK to go back into the water?

Q: Bingo! But do you think the cops are right?

Cpl. Clark: The police mean well. They just see things from a different point of view than victims like Palmer and his wife, Billie.

Q: What point of view would that be, Cpl. Clark?

Cpl. Clark: The “we got guns and bullet-proof vests” point of view.

Q: That’s a pretty good point of view to have, huh?

Cpl. Clark: It’s the best one there is.

Q: What about you, Cpl. Clark? Are you scared to go downtown?

Cpl. Clark: I never go into downtown Spokane without worrying about bandits.

Q: Bandits?

Cpl. Clark: Or parking meters. Some people still call them that.

Q: In all seriousness, don’t you think Spokane’s downtown streets are getting meaner?

Cpl. Clark: I’ll say. Just the other day I got accosted on West First Avenue by this wild-eyed, crazy woman who demanded my money.

Q: Meth addict?

Cpl. Clark: Worse. It was Sally Struthers trying to make me buy “Hello, Dolly!” tickets for her Super Bowl Sunday performance.

Q: Man, you’re lucky you got out of that alive. With this level of desperation going on, don’t you think the cops are secretly worried about our downtown?

Cpl. Clark: Well, the official SPD stance is to encourage citizens to not to be afraid to go downtown as long as they take reasonable precautions.

Q: Reasonable precautions?

Cpl. Clark: You know. First-aid kit. Tourniquet. Ice packs. Bodyguard with Uzi. … Normal stuff like that.

Q: But didn’t Mayor David Condon just declare in his State of the City address that Spokane was safer and stronger than ever?

Cpl. Clark: True, but that wasn’t the mayor’s main message.

Q: What was the mayor’s main message?

Cpl. Clark: Re-elect Mayor David Condon.

Q: Yikes. We’ve sure heard that song before. You think Boy Mayor really believes he can be our first two-term mayor since the Clocktower was hooked to a depot?

Cpl. Clark: All our mayors are true believers. That’s what makes them all so darned endearing.

Q: Like Verner and Hession and West and Powers?

Cpl. Clark: Yep. And Talbott and Geraghty and Barnard.

Q: And McNeill and Chase?

Cpl. Clark: And Ron Bair. Oh, my.

Q: You sure do know your mayors, Cpl. Clark.

Cpl. Clark: I love all my one-term mayors.

Q: Getting back to our topic du jour, did you read the story about the big shakeup at the Spokane Police Department?

Cpl. Clark: You mean the story about how three of the department’s top jobs are vacant and that there are no uniformed officers within much of the command staff?

Q: Yeah, and Assistant Chief Craig Meidl stepped down and was returning to a civil service job as a lieutenant even though it meant taking a huge pay cut?

Cpl. Clark: That’s the story.

Q: Is this the plan Mayor Condon had to restore the rocky image of the SPD when he insisted on ramming Frank Straub into the chief’s job?

Cpl. Clark: I don’t know. But I’m feeling safer by the second.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

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