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Doug Clark: What does it take to can a cop?

I’m hotter than a car hood baking under a July sun over the rehiring of Travis Smith, that disgrace of a deputy who was rightly canned last year by Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

Smith racked up three internal investigations in one year, which could be some sort of record.

His many infractions, including the mishandling of seized painkillers, established what Knezovich dubbed a poor performance pattern.

No, duh.

But the real nugget came when Smith committed malicious mischief by stabbing the seat of a truck he was searching like Brutus skewering Caesar.

Claimed he thought it was funny.

Et, tu, Travis?

The bottom line is that Ozzie did the right thing for humankind by firing this clown.

But apparently we have gone through the looking glass.

We now live in a world where up is down, down is up and fuzzy-thinking fatheads like Shelly Shapiro take moral relativism to an art form.

Though conceding Knezovich had acted on “clear and convincing evidence,” Shapiro, a state arbitrator, determined that Smith should be rehired.


Because he didn’t hurt anybody and his “acts were done out of the public view.”

All together now: “Are you #$%$#!!ing kidding me?”

Listen up all you cowboy cops. The law is yours to trample. Just don’t cause any bloodshed and make sure nobody’s looking.

The insanity of this situation provoked the sheriff to utter the following:

“I have a very fundamental belief that law enforcement shouldn’t be committing crimes and they definitely shouldn’t be committing crimes on duty.”

Thank you, sheriff.

And for the record, I would like to pass along my own fundamental belief that …

• Cocktail-swilling pilots don’t belong in cockpits.

• Catholic priests should pray with kids, not prey on kids.

• Cooks who visit the bathroom better scrub their mitts before touching my meatloaf.

I could give more examples of truths that should be self-evident, but you get the idea.

This is a bad case of déjà blue all over again for the Oz.

Please fasten your seatbelts while I flash you back to June 2006, when an off-duty sheriff’s detective whipped his manhood out at a female barista who was working at an Airway Heights espresso stand.

Remember Joseph “Cuppa Joe” Mastel?

That jerk thought what he did was hilarious, too.

Knezovich, however, was not amused. He gave Cuppa Joe the boot faster than you can whip up a pot of French press.

Months later, however, ignoramuses on the county’s civil service commission reversed the firing, which caused Knezovich to make another memorable utterance.

“What do you have to do to get fired?”

I get rapped all the time for being antipolice, but it’s not so.

I have no doubt that the vast majority of our local enforcers are honest and true.

But just once I’d love to see some of these stalwarts unzip their lips and take a loud and public stand against the fools who, like Smith, make law enforcement a laughingstock.

Forgive me for not holding my breath while I wait.

Columnist Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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