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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

City Council lays out timeline for new police chief search

Spokane police Capt. Brad Arleth could get a second chance at becoming the next permanent police chief.

Spokane City Council members signed a letter Monday requesting Mayor David Condon forward them a name by Sept. 30 to lead the police department, which will have been without a permanent leader for over a year if the timeline holds. The letter calls for an 11-member selection panel to reconvene by Sept. 15 to choose as many as four finalists from a pool of 11 possible candidates – which will include acting Chief Craig Meidl and may involve Arleth, who said Monday he didn’t know if he’d apply for the job.

“I haven’t given it much thought,” Arleth said, noting he was satisfied with his current position in the department. “I’d need to see what the process is going to be.”

Meidl was appointed by Condon on Aug. 2, prompting public outcry because the 22-year veteran of the department hadn’t applied for the job. Arleth, who was reprimanded earlier this year in a dispute over furniture at Spokane’s downtown police precinct, did apply for the position but was not among the two finalists who were interviewed publicly earlier this summer.

Condon agreed last week to relaunch the interview process, hours before Meidl was to go before the City Council for an up-or-down confirmation vote. The timeline for selecting a new chief, and the process, was a collaboration between the mayor’s office and the council, said Brian Coddington, spokesman for Condon.

Coddington said Condon intended to sign the letter starting the second round of interviews.

Councilwoman Lori Kinnear said the process the council forwarded was the most fair because it resembled the original vetting of candidates. But Councilman Mike Fagan, who also signed the letter, questioned if re-evaluating candidates previously rejected by the selection committee was fair to those who’d been selected as finalists in the first round of interviews.

The letter sets deadlines for specific steps in the selection process:

    Week of Aug. 29: Condon will ask community leaders to participate again in panel interviews of up to four finalists.

    By Sept. 15: The selection panel will review the credentials and recorded answers of all semifinalists still interested in the job. They will vote for as many as four finalists.

    Week of Sept. 19: Panel interviews will be held with the top four candidates. A televised public forum, with professional moderation, will be held in the evening.

    By Sept. 30: Condon will forward his appointee to the City Council for confirmation.

The members of the selection panel are Kinnear, City Councilman Breean Beggs, Gabe Cabellero, Shon Davis, Rick Dobrow, Ken Hohenberg, Bart Logue, Gloria Ochoa-Bruck and Theresa Sanders.