May 7, 2014 in City

Boston-based police consultant cited after fight at Spokane hotel

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A consultant hired by the Spokane Police Department to improve relations with at-risk youth was cited for assault Sunday night after he was involved in a fight in the lobby of a downtown hotel.

Paul Lewis, a trainer with the Boston-based North American Family Institute, was in town to oversee the police department’s Youth and Police Initiative program.

Police spokeswoman Monique Cotton said Lewis, 51, asked one of the officers who responded to the fight at the Davenport Tower to call police Chief Frank Straub. Straub told the officer to cite Lewis and said there would be no special treatment for the consultant, Cotton said. “He made it clear Lewis was to leave the hotel,” she said. “We treated this individual the same as any other individual.”

Cotton said Lewis returned to his home in Massachusetts on Tuesday. “This individual is no longer participating in any facet of the program,” she said. Lewis declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday.

Cotton said she was not aware of the details of the incident. “Some words were exchanged, which led to an altercation,” she said. The police report on the incident is not in Lewis’ court file.

Straub worked with the North American Family Institute in his previous jobs with police departments in White Plains, New York, and Indianapolis. He penned a recommendation for the Youth and Police Initiative promotional materials while he was in White Plains, calling the program “a critical component of our department’s violence reduction strategy.”

The Spokane City Council approved a contract with the institute in September for $84,715. Much of that cost was for a trainer, plus a $22,000 intellectual property development fee and $10,403 for unspecified indirect costs.

The Youth and Police Initiative is used across the country and is designed to create connections between at-risk youth and police officers. Teens are paid $80 in exchange for attending five nights of various activities. As part of the program the teens are asked to give a presentation on the choices they make at home, at school and in the community.


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