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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Let’s spice up police body cam footage with tunes

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

Cpl. Clark returns to answer your latest concerns about Spokane law enforcement.

Q: Thanks, corporal. Could you tell us about the Spokane Police Department’s exciting, new use-of-force protocol?

Cpl. Clark: Glad you asked. For the first time, the Spokane Police Department will be tracking neck restraints, pepper spray, tear gas and clandestine transfers to the parks department.

Q: Wow. Will police cars blowing through red lights be counted as a use of force?

Cpl. Clark: No, these incidents are covered under SPD’s new Impaired Drivers Crackdown Protocol.

Q: Are you referring to the teen driver who was cited for DUI after a police officer ran a red light without his flashers on and crashed into him?

Cpl. Clark: Why, yes I am.

Q: Well, don’t you consider this a rather reckless way to apprehend an impaired or buzzed driver?

Cpl. Clark: You know that old saying. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few fenders.

Q: No. I’ve never heard that. But what if an officer blows a red, smacks into a pedestrian and sends the pour soul crashing through the window?

Cpl. Clark: In that case it would be ludicrous to issue a DUI.

Q: I hope so.

Cpl. Clark: That’s breaking and entering.

Q: Seriously?

Cpl. Clark: We take our property crimes seriously around here.

Q: OK, what if a cop runs a red and just sends the victim flying?

Cpl. Clark: Leaving the scene of an accident.

Q: You’re quite an old joker aren’t you, corporal?

Cpl. Clark: Recycling is key to saving the planet.

Q: Let’s move on to something else. What do you consider SPD’s biggest problem?

Cpl. Clark: We need to change our image to win back public trust.

Q: I’ve heard that one before. So where do we start this time?

Cpl. Clark: We’ve found that many Spokane residents positively hate it when an officer behaves poorly and then gets sent away on “paid administrative leave.”

Q: There’s been a lot of that going around lately, huh?

Cpl. Clark: It’s worse than herpes. And to civilians it sounds like we’re just giving our bad apples a paid vacation.

Q: I’d sure like to take a paid administrative leave to Honolulu.

Cpl. Clark: I hear ya.

Q: So what’s the solution; do we start demanding better behavior?

Cpl. Clark: Whoa. Have you been visiting Sativa Sisters? This is SPD, remember?

Q: Sorry.

Cpl. Clark: You’re excused. No, the answer is that we change our nomenclature.

Q: Change our what?

Cpl. Clark: Nomenclature. Like, instead of “paid administrative leave” we say that said officer is “visiting the farm” or “taking an extended sabbatical.”

Q: That does sound better.

Cpl. Clark: Baby steps. Every journey starts with baby steps.

Q: On another subject, Spokane’s still in the hunt for a replacement for the recently canned Chief Lord Frank Vader. What qualities do we look for this time?

Cpl. Clark: After the Frank Straub fiasco there’s only one quality that actually counts.

Q: What’s that?

Cpl. Clark: That the new chief, whoever he or she turns out to be, has never-ever palled around with Mayor David Condon.

Q: True dat. Any other qualities?

Cpl. Clark: Just the usual: thick skin, solid experience and a background in ventriloquism.

Q: Ventriloquism?

Cpl. Clark: That way when the new chief talks out of both sides of his mouth, as they all do, it’ll be harder for the witless public to catch.

Q: Before we conclude, do you have any concerns about our cops wearing body cameras?

Cpl. Clark: As a matter of fact I do. After reviewing hours of on-duty camera footage, it appears there’s something missing.

Q: Like what?

Cpl. Clark: A peppy soundtrack. Most of the video turned in is quite boring and, at times, even depressing.

Q: So what mood music do you suggest?

Cpl. Clark: “I Fought the Law” and the “Bad Boys” theme from TV’s “Cops” would be great for starters.

Q: I love those.

Cpl. Clark: We could even ask members of the public to submit their favorite SPD body-cam playlist.

Q: That sounds like a prowl car full of fun. But is all SPD body-cam footage so unwatchable?

Cpl. Clark: Well, there was that officer who had a dalliance with a civilian a while back. That caused a lot of hoots and hollers when we aired it during roll call.

Q: What’d the cop think about that?

Cpl. Clark: I really can’t say. He’s, um, taking an extended sabbatical.

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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