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Straub’s pick for assistant chief is veteran officer

Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub’s top candidate to be assistant police chief is an internal candidate.

City Councilman Jon Snyder, the chairman of the city’s public safety committee, said Friday that Straub’s choice is Capt. Rick Dobrow.

Dobrow started work as a police officer in Stockton, Calif. in 1982, according to a department newsletter. He joined the Spokane force in 1994. Dobrow was given the department’s purple heart award after a serious motorcycle crash in September 2006.

Assistant Police Chief Craig Meidl informed Straub last week that he was stepping down and wanted to return to being a lieutenant.

Murder investigation ‘ongoing, dynamic’

Spokane police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe briefed reporters today on the search for Sharlotte McGill's killer.

“It's really very, very fluid and so there's not an hour-by-hour update that I can provide,” said DeRuwe, police spokeswoman. “I just have to trust that the community will trust me when saying we're doing our very best. It's the top priority for us.”

DeRuwe reminded people to be aware of their surroundings and trust their instincts.

“I hate to think that people aren't comfortable to go walk on the trails, but I understand why they are,” DeRuwe said.

Police continue to compile names of people who could possibly be suspects based on the McGill's description of her killer.

“This is really an ongoing, dynamic investigation,” DeRuwe said. “So while names come in, names go out. people are excluded. people are included. You have patrol officers contacting people; detectives talking to people.”

“As soon as I have information, I will push it out,” she said.

McGill was fatally stabbed to death one week ago today as she walked her dog along the Spokane River in the 1800 block of East South Riverton.

She was able to describe her attacker before she died: a black man in his 30s with a bad eye. No other details were given.

Police said Wednesday that they believe a tip from the community will help them find the killer, but they're urging against racial profiling.

Past coverage:

May 5: Homicide victim's daughter speaks out

May 4: Attacker fatally stabs woman

Police continue homicide investigation

Police believe a tip from a community member will help them find the man who killed a woman along the Spokane River last week, but they’re urging people to use common sense and avoid racial profiling.

“Based on the description we do have from the victim herself … clearly this was a black male,” said Spokane police Major Craig Meidl. “We do have to look at the specific demographics given to us by the victim, but that does not by any means indicate everyone within those demographics is a criminal.”

Meidl briefed reporters on the status of the murder investigation Wednesday, nearly one week after Sharlotte McGill, 55, was fatally stabbed while walking her dog along the Spokane River in the 1800 block of East South Riverton. Police believe the attack was random.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

May 5: Homicide victim's daughter speaks out

May 4: Attacker fatally stabs woman

Police use-of-force case leaves questions

A Spokane man's arrest last July on suspicion of reckless driving, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license has led to a disagreement between the Spokane Police Department and police Ombudsman Tim Burns, who has refused to certify the department’s internal investigation into a witness’s complaint of excessive force used against the suspect.

Burns questions an administrative review panel’s recommendation to exonerate the two accused officers. But police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, who acted on the recommendation, said Burns doesn’t have the legal authority to make such a claim because his oversight is limited to internal investigations, not the later administrative review panels made up of police leaders.

“I don’t look at it as a substantive issue. To me, it’s just a legal question,” Kirkpatrick said. “What is Tim Burns’ authority and is the (panel) part of the investigation?”

Burns, who started work as the city’s first police ombudsman in August 2009, disagrees.

“My position is, If not me, then who?” he said.

Read my story here.