City: Western Spokane County, Wash.
Occupation: Spokane County sheriff
Education: Graduated from Rock Springs High School in Wyoming. Graduated from Weber State College with an integrated studies bachelor’s degree in 1985.
Work experience: Became town marshal in Superior, Wyoming in 1990. Joined Rock Springs, Wyoming police force in 1991. Joined Olympia Police Department in 1995. Joined Spokane County Sheriff’s Office as deputy in 1996. Became sergeant in 2004. Appointed Spokane County sheriff by county commissioners in 2006 and won election to the post in November of that year. Re-elected while unopposed in 2010.
Political experience: Former president of the Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association. Former president of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Named to the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Association in 2008. Served as president of that group in 2012.
Military: U.S. Army airborne medical specialist and combat medic, served in Korea, 1987-90.
Family: Married, three grown children.
Facing the muzzle of a gun, a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy said he had one immediate thought: death. Ryan Walter squeezed off eight rounds at the gunman, Donald J. Lafavor. His partner, Deputy Rustin Olson, fired three.
Spokane County will pay $60,000 to a 79-year-old robbery victim who says he was seriously injured when sheriff’s deputies manhandled him after he called them for help. Several deputies reported the home-invasion robbery victim, Terrance McDonald, shouted profanities at them and refused numerous orders to cooperate in the July 2006 incident.
The family of Pastor Wayne Scott Creach said Friday that a key piece of evidence in his death has been compromised – the squad car driven by the Spokane County sheriff’s deputy who shot him.
A Spokane County Jail inmate claims in a federal lawsuit that he was beaten without warning by a cell extraction team and later tortured with blows to his genitals. One problem: As Nicolas Garcia’s recent lawsuit notes, the Sept. 21, 2009, incident was filmed by a Discovery Channel television crew.
The autopsy report of pastor Wayne Scott Creach has been turned over to Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker, but it does little to answer many of the family’s questions. Creach’s son, Alan Creach, said the autopsy revealed no indication of a baton strike that Deputy Brian Hirzel claims he made during the Aug. 25 encounter in which Hirzel shot Creach in the parking lot of his business at 14208 E. Fourth Ave.
A Spokane man shot by sheriff’s deputies two weeks ago pleaded not guilty to a single assault charge this week as investigators examined his medical records and searched the shooting scene for the second time. Sean P. Houlihan, 37, is charged with first-degree assault after a friend said he fired a gun at him on Sept. 16 during an argument in the basement of Houlihan’s home at 909 E. Brentwood Drive.
A 2 ½-hour Sheriff’s Office budget meeting Tuesday produced more heat than light. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and County Commission Chairman Mark Richard each accused the other of “insulting” comments.
Two deputies involved in a shooting last month near Wandermere have not changed their stories about what happened that night, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said. A search warrant stating that interviews with Deputies David Westlake and Thad Schultz indicate it’s possible Sean P. Houlihan didn’t initiate the gunfire Sept. 18 was misinterpreted, Knezovich said in an interview this week.
Investigators probing officer-involved shootings will no longer be required to wait at least 72 hours before interviewing Spokane County Sheriff’s Office employees. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich announced the change Thursday, ending a departmental practice common at many law enforcement agencies but seen as contradictory and confusing outside of police circles.
A Washington State Patrol sergeant who shot an unarmed pregnant woman during a drug raid last week has told investigators it was “an accidental discharge,” sheriff’s officials announced Thursday. Sgt. Lee Slemp said he accidentally fired his weapon as the woman, whose name has not been released, attempted to flee out a window at 1405 N. Lincoln St. on Sept. 24, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.