Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl has confirmed that his wife, Tracie Meidl, is taking over as captain of the department’s south precinct – an area that includes the South Hill, the East Central neighborhood and portions of the Latah Valley – later this summer.
The promotion follows the retirement of Capt. Keith Cummings, who had been overseeing the department’s administration, a position that will be taken over by the current leader of the south precinct, Capt. Dave Richards.
“There is a bit of overlap now as each is being trained by the person vacating their position to ensure everyone is properly trained and brought up to speed on the requirements of their new position,” Craig Meidl wrote in an email.
Tracie Meidl’s promotion was determined by a ranking of candidates for job openings created following the departure of former Chief Rick Dobrow and the tenure of Interim Law Enforcement Director Jim McDevitt last year.
Candidates, including Tracie Meidl, who has been leadingthe department’s internal affairs unit, were interviewed and ranked for the department’s open major and captain positions by Dobrow, Assistant Chief Justin Lundgren and members of Mayor David Condon’s Cabinet to avoid potential conflict with the city’s nepotism policy. The process returned Tracie Meidl as second in line for a promotion.
Capt. Dave Singley was first in line, and was assigned to the downtown precinct as part of the organizational changes that put Tracie Meidl in charge of internal affairs. Her assignment drew some criticism at the time because of the potential for favoritism in internal investigations of department personnel, but Tracie Meidl has also earned praise from the City Council for her job performance.
Tracie Meidl said Friday the south precinct offers unique challenges because of its size and the variety of crime reported in the area. The Spokane Police Department posted its first statistical crime report in more than six months last week, following a switch to a new national standard of categorization.
That standard showed the south side of town to be plagued by the same abundance of property crime that elsewhere prompted hiring of additional officers and the formation of a vehicle theft task force within the department.
“It’s really paying attention to crime trends in different areas, interacting with the communities and utilizing resources that I have to fight the trends,” said Tracie Meidl, referring to the precinct captain position.
The south, north and downtown precints all report to Maj. Kevin King, who reports to Lundgren and then to Craig Meidl, according to the command structure the chief put in place last year when he officially took over the department.
Lt. Bart Stevens, who had been assigned to the downtown precinct, will succeed Tracie Meidl in leading internal affairs
Police Ombudsman Bart Logue referred questions about working with Tracie Meidl to a soon-to-be-published annual report of the ombudsman office’s activities. Logue wrote in that report that her time leading internal affairs continued “the improvement of relations between OPO and IA,” stating that Meidl and her predecessor, Lt. Dave Staben, worked in close concert with his office to provide materials needed for his reviews.
Tracie Meidl’s assignment to internal affairs took effect in December. She said she expected to officially take command of the south precinct next month. Spokane’s six police captains earned an average salary of $147,528 in 2016, according to city payroll data.
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