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Thursday, October 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Police ‘expectations’ accentuate positive

Interim chief rewrites department’s cardinal rules

Interim Spokane police Chief Scott Stephens, left, Capt. Brad Arleth and Spokane Police Guild President Ernie Wuthrich, right, present before the Use of Force Commission on Thursday at the Spokane City Hall council chambers. (Dan Pelle)
Interim Spokane police Chief Scott Stephens, left, Capt. Brad Arleth and Spokane Police Guild President Ernie Wuthrich, right, present before the Use of Force Commission on Thursday at the Spokane City Hall council chambers. (Dan Pelle)

The five guidelines that defined the administration of former Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick are history.

Interim police Chief Scott Stephens told the city’s Use of Force Commission Thursday that he has eliminated Kirkpatrick’s “cardinal rules” from the introduction of the Police Department policy manual. He also has rewritten the list of the department’s “workplace expectations.”

The rest of the long policy manual that details how officers should conduct themselves remains unchanged.

Stephens said he axed the cardinal rules because he wanted to introduce and summarize police policies based on how officers should act rather than stress how they shouldn’t.

Kirkpatrick’s five cardinal rules included her famous “you lie, you die” policy that resulted in an officer termination her first year as chief.

Stephens said the former chief’s rules are encompassed under other guidelines within the manual.

“I thought there was more benefit to the department, to the community, to have positive expectations of the officers rather than to highlight five items out of a policy manual that is about three inches thick,” he said.

“My expectation for officers is that they will follow the policy manual,” he said. The Use of Force Commission was formed by former Mayor Mary Verner and current Mayor David Condon in response to the police response that resulted in the death of Otto Zehm in 2006. The commission met for the second time on Wednesday. It focused on the police manual and how it is used and stressed within the department.

Before leaving the department at the end of last year, Kirkpatrick said in an interview that she believed the department had strong policies but that they may not have been interpreted correctly by the city.

The leaders of the city’s two police unions told the commission that the rules have been stressed by Stephens and the command staff.

Spokane Police Guild President Ernie Wuthrich said in an interview that the guild didn’t have a problem with the cardinal rules as written but did file a grievance at one point based on how Kirkpatrick enforced them.

He supports the changes to the rule book.

“Rather than say, ‘Don’t do this. Don’t do that,’ he’d rather say, ‘Do this,’ ” Wuthrich said. “The principles haven’t changed.”

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