Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Wednesday, August 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 65° Clear

Sirens & Gavels

Spokane police chief receives another complaint

On the heels of last week's complaint against Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub for misrepresentation, Brian Breen, a retired police officer and frequent commenter on Spokesman-Review stories, has filed a complaint against the chief for providing "false information to members of the City Council ... during a budget presentation."

At issue is the number of domestic violence calls Spokane police get a year. At a budget meeting last month, Straub said the department gets an average of 8,000 calls per year, as we reported. Spokane's Journal of Business reported a similar number in an article, which read, "Straub says for the past five years, SPD has responded to about 8,000 domestic violence calls per year."

Breen's issue with these statements is that they are far higher than what the police department has reported to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Over the past five years, those annual numbers range from 2,988 domestic violence reports to 3,823 a year.

"There are two things that become blatantly obvious when reviewing the data SPD has submitted to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) in 2009 through 2013, either the statements made by Mr. Straub to those in attendance at a very important budget meeting were false, or the Spokane Police Department has not been following State Law," Breen wrote in his complaint.

Complaints against the police chief submitted to the Police Ombudsman are forwarded to the mayor and city administrator.

Read an excerpt below:

As a longtime advocate for crime victims I am submitting this complaint with a two-fold purpose. First to establish whether or not Mr. Frank Straub provided false information to members of the City Council and others during a budget presentation earlier this summer. Secondly to establish whether or not the Spokane Police Department is following state law as required pursuant to RCW 10.99, as well as their own policy regarding the reporting of Domestic Violence.

Both the Spokesman Review and the Journal of Business have reported that Mr. Straub advised the City Council that the Spokane Police Department “gets an average of 8,000 domestic violence calls a year”. The Journal of Business reported that “Straub says for the past five years SPD has responded to about 8,000 domestic violence calls per year”. There are two things that become blatantly obvious when reviewing the data SPD has submitted to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) in 2009 through 2013, either the statements made by Mr. Straub to those in attendance at a very important budget meeting were false, or the Spokane Police Department has not been following State Law.

I understand that because this complaint involves Mr. Straub and policy requires that it be investigated by the City of Spokane Human Resources Department, beyond the Human Resources investigation I feel it is important that you independently investigate to determine if the SPD is following their own policy and State Law. If false statements are being made to members of the City Council during any of their decision making processes by any City Administrator care should be taken to see to it that it hasn’t happened in the past nor will it in the future.

At a minimum individuals present during the budget presentation should be interviewed and their notes reviewed, any minutes of the presentation should be reviewed, reporters Nicholas Deshais from the Spokesman Review and Judith Spitzer from the Journal of Business should be interviewed, email interaction regarding Domestic Violence between Mr. Straub the Mayor, staff, as well those present during the presentation should be reviewed including all email or communication interaction regarding the subject on the SharePoint system.

I have provided links to some of the pertinent information sources available in an effort to add clarity and perspective. I have also provided of a summary of Domestic Violence data submitted to WASPC by SPD however my data should be reviewed for accuracy.

This complaint should not be handled as an “Inquiry” the importance of our Council Members receiving true and accurate data is very important, and the importance of the SPD following the Laws of the State of Washington regarding Domestic Violence is of extreme importance.




You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Sirens & Gavels
Nicholas Deshais
Joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He is the urban issues reporter, covering transportation, housing, development and other issues affecting the city. He also writes the Getting There transportation column and The Dirt, a roundup of construction projects, new businesses and expansions. He previously covered Spokane City Hall.

Follow Nicholas online: