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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: City should give Ozzie a chance to star in Spokane police drama

Doug Clark (Colin Mulvany / SR)
Doug Clark (Colin Mulvany / SR)

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich must’ve been woozy from exhaust fumes.

He couldn’t have seriously believed that the city’s brain trust would give his offer to lead the Spokane Police Department a nanosecond’s worth of serious consideration.

The sheriff had already been turned down on a similar proposal he made back in 2011.

Just as I figured, both Mayor David “Fooled ’em Again” Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart dropped Ozzie’s latest offer faster than a hot pail of Hanford nuke waste.

Thanks, but no thanks, Oz. Go peddle your pipe dreams someplace else and don’t let the door smack you on the badge.

Truth is, Spokane already has a proven 3-Step Plan to fill the void created by the mayor’s ousting of Chief Frank Straub last September. (Straub has since lawyered up and will probably own Riverfront Park by the time his angst is brokered.)

STEP 1 – Mayor travels off to some nebulous lawman convention.

STEP 2 – Mayor develops serious man crush on first bad boy who can say Spokane without the hard “A.”

STEP 3 – Over objections from the sane, mayor threatens to hold breath and turn magenta unless his new best bro-pal gets the chief’s gig.

Hold it. That’s no plan. That’s how we got Straubbed.

Another unverified yarn claims Condon and Straub were conjoined twins.

Or that the two are secretly tied to Cathy McMorris Rodgers through Republican subterfuge.

It’s impossible to figure out why Condon was hell-bent on hiring a guy who created so much chaos in Indianapolis where he was public safety director.

Come to think of it, maybe letting Ozzie lead our cop shop isn’t so nutty after all.

The sheriff does come with serious points in his favor.

Point one being that he’s positively loathed by the criminal element around here. Police unions aside, actual felons don’t like him much, either.

Point two is that the voting public trusts Ozzie even more than El Chapo trusted Sean Penn.

“I bring something that a chief from the outside maybe doesn’t bring, and that’s the support of the citizens,” Ozzie noted in a news story.

“That’s the key to being successful.”

Which leads us to point three …

How much more embarrassment and heartburn could an Ozzie-led force cause than what we’ve been experiencing?

At last count …

A sergeant is accused of raping a fellow officer at a party.

Another sarge is accused of leaking investigation details about the rape to the aforementioned sergeant.

And don’t forget the SPD captain placed on an unrelated leave over some sort of mysterious claim of insubordination.

And this is just the mess from the last few months.

Toss in the creepy allegations made about Straub from a police department spokeswoman who was abruptly transferred last spring to the parks department.

The “D” in SPD has to stand for “Drama.”

Or “Disservice.”

Ozzie’s had plenty of experience canning or at least trying to can the malcontents and miscreants that pop up now and then in his own department.

Unfortunately, however, life will slog on as it always does at the City Hall of Mirrors.

A committee will soon “make input” on how a new chief should be hired. Candidates will be rounded up and inspected, and eventually the next sucker will raise a hand and swear to preserve the peace – until the sky falls in.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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