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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Syndicated columns

Gary Crooks: Want to elect police chief?

In resigning as chair of the Police Leadership Advisory Committee, Mary Ann Murphy recommends the city of Spokane change its charter and elect a police commissioner. You can see a fuller explanation in her guest column on today’s Roundtable page.

I’m interested in readers’ thoughts on this. Public figures are elected and selected in various ways, which are rooted in history and vary by jurisdiction. In the city of Spokane, we elect a mayor in a nonpartisan race, and he or she decides who will run the Police Department. In the county, we directly elect a sheriff in a partisan contest (party affiliation noted on ballot).

The county model gives citizens direct accountability, because they can boot the sheriff in the next race. On the other hand, the city model may foster more cooperation, because the mayor and police chief would likely be on the same page. Plus, voters can un-elect the mayor if things aren’t going well.

So this week’s question is this: Would you rather keep the current way of hiring a police chief, or would you rather the position be subject to direct election? Give a brief explanation.

Remember to include your full name and where you reside. Contact information is at the end of this column.

THE PROPOSITION. Last week, I asked readers: “Why do you think Trump towers over the GOP field?” Here are the responses (edited for space):

“I believe that the reason Donald Trump towers over the GOP field is rooted in many Americans’ fears about a changing world, and their desire for someone to take charge and restore everything to some imagined past state. We are living in an American society that is rapidly becoming more diverse, which requires experimenting with new ways of thinking and behaving, and this is very unsettling to many people.” – Ed Byrnes, Spokane Valley

“The Republican Party has spent much of the last few years burnishing its credentials as the party of ‘No.’ Its leadership, for political purposes, has encouraged its members, including some who are elected, to support intractable obstinacy over compromise. They achieved it. Trump’s rhetoric exactly matches what disaffected folks want to hear.” – Don Endresen, Spokane

“Everybody craves simple, strong solutions. Place the words ‘it’ or ‘them’ behind all the words that follow: bomb, burn, wall, deport, jail, torture, squash, stomp, shackle, gag, nuke, ignore, veil, ban, damn! These are especially attractive to people who are hurt, confused, abandoned, lost and frightened.” – David T. Webb, Spokane

“Trump touches the reasons for this country’s misery: poor infrastructure, poor chances for our young technicians being replaced by H1B visa holders, manufacturing moving offshore, and (he) not only talks about how we must ‘improve,’ but offers simple recipes.” - Peter Dolina, Veradale

“There’s a silent majority among Americans who are fed up with being politically correct, as the growing trend shows the U.S. repeatedly being beaten down. … Trump dares to publicly and explicitly communicate in the media what many disillusioned Americans are thinking and may whisper only in private.” – Liz Kawakami, Spokane

“The rise of Trump is indeed rooted in the chaos of anger engulfing the Republican Party. But I see the GOP as the hapless Sorcerer’s Apprentice unable to control and being overwhelmed by his own creation. And I see the spell as having been cast by Newt Gingrich in his ‘Republican Revolution’ of the mid-1990s.” – John P. Simanton, Spokane

Thanks for contributing. See you next week.

Opinion Editor Gary Crooks can be reached at or (509) 459-5026. Follow him on Twitter @GaryCrooks.

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