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The program charged with protecting the rights of nursing home and assisted living residents will continue in five Eastern Washington counties thanks in part to a grant from the Empire Health Foundation. The future of the state Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program was cast in doubt in October when it was told that a third of its funding – from Medicaid – would not be available after the first of the year.
In the decade since Spokane began electing strong mayors, none had served more than three years – until this week. Mayor Mary Verner didn’t even need to finish her term to become the city’s longest-serving strong mayor.
Public safety suffers when healthy skepticism devolves into corrosive cynicism. Please note that we were 100 percent behind a new system of police oversight and the hiring of an ombudsman. We supported the push to expand the powers to allow for independent investigations into officer-involved shootings. We’ve weighed in with deep concern over the handling of several police-related incidents, especially the in-custody death of Otto Zehm.
The future of the state office charged with protecting the rights of residents of nursing homes and assisted-living centers is in doubt after officials learned it will lose a third of its funding. The state long-term care ombudsman’s office was informed last month that the federal Medicaid funding it has received since expanding the program statewide in 1996 would no longer be available after Dec. 31.
Washington state Sen. Chris Marr, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner answer the question, "Should state law be changed to allow cities to fire fully independent police ombudsmen without seeking approval from police unions?"
The American Civil Liberties Union says the Spokane city attorney’s office violated the constitutional rights of a local attorney. In a letter to city officials last week, Michael Kipling, an attorney representing the ACLU, said that Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi violated Breean Beggs’ rights by telling Beggs he was prohibited from talking to City Council members about proposed changes to the city’s police oversight law.
Earlier this week, 13 days after a cop fatally shot a citizen on his own property, Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick appeared before the public. Basic information about the shooting of Wayne Scott Creach has been slow to emerge and shamefully scarce. Just days earlier, Kirkpatrick’s department had issued a news release describing the Aug. 25 event as a “close encounter” with a “verbal exchange” – paltry, insufficient generalities that could have accurately been stated the morning after the shooting.
An association of Spokane police supervisors is speaking out about perceived bias and negative press coverage of Spokane officers. Released to Spokane media and city officials Wednesday, a letter – written by the Spokane Police Lieutenants and Captains Association to commissioned officers on the force – states that “The time has come to tell the citizens of Spokane in plain language that their police department is a good one.”
Almost a year after he was hired, Spokane’s police ombudsman on Monday was granted the power to investigate cases of officer misconduct. The Spokane City Council voted unanimously to increase the ombudsman’s authority after the third hearing on the topic in two months.
New investigative powers are being given to Spokane's police ombudsman.
Her friends remember Beverly Saruwatari as a model citizen – an honored public school teacher, a goodwill ambassador on Spokane’s Nishinomiya Sister City Committee and a devoted single mother. She died suddenly one year ago today of a brain hemorrhage – 20 days after a confrontation with police in the doorway of her South Hill home.
Though we must wait another week, the Spokane City Council looks to be on the verge of adopting a stronger police ombudsman ordinance. This is good news, because the community had grown skeptical of the current version, which doesn’t allow the ombudsman, Tim Burns, to conduct independent investigations. Because the original ordinance was watered down due to worries over a police union challenge, the audience that attended Monday night’s council meeting grew wary when they heard that a new draft had been produced earlier that day. As the meeting stretched into Tuesday morning, the council voted to postpone a decision.
The long debate over the power of Spokane’s new police ombudsman will last at least one more week. Early Tuesday morning, the Spokane City Council voted 6-1 to delay a decision on a plan giving Ombudsman Tim Burns the power to conduct independent investigations into police misconduct.
The long debate over the power of Spokane’s new police ombudsman will last at least one more week. Early Tuesday morning, the Spokane City Council voted 6-1 to delay a decision on a plan giving Ombudsman Tim Burns the power to conduct independent investigations into police misconduct. Burns currently has the power only to monitor investigations conducted by the police department’s Internal Affairs division. The council has been debating on-and-off for nearly a year whether that power should expand.
Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan announced just after midnight today that there would not be a vote during the session about providing the ombudsman the power to conduct independent investigation. But testimony continued. A couple dozen people have talked, all in support of independent oversight.
The Spokane City Council Monday night debated late into the evening about a plan giving the city's police ombudsman authority to conduct independent investigations into police misconduct.