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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Use of force panel offers 26 recommendations to improve police department

A yearlong review of the Spokane Police Department found a professional organization committed to public service but lacking in identity and needing improvements in how it investigates its own officers. The draft report by the independent city Use of Force Commission was released Thursday with 26 recommendations for how the department needs to improve, with the ultimate goal of restoring public trust following the scandal surrounding its handling of the Otto Zehm investigation.

Commission seeks list of changes for SPD

The long-awaited draft report by the independent City of Spokane Use of Force Commission was released today and it calls the Spokane Police Department to change how it polices itself and calls for more training to ensure that officers diffuse problems before they escalate into deadly-force confrontations.

No easy fix to halt violence

In an address to the nation, President Barack Obama promised action to prevent future mass shootings in response to Friday’s killings at a Connecticut elementary school. In crafting potential policy changes in the Washington Legislature, state Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, will have a unique voice.

Spokane officials consider response to school shooting

In an address to the nation, President Barack Obama promised action to prevent future mass shootings in response to Friday’s mass murder at a Connecticut elementary school. In crafting possible related policy changes in the Washington State Legislature, state Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, will have a unique voice.

Building bridges

During and after the election there is always much talk about the value of working together, moving forward and showing tolerance of each other’s differences. On Friday, Gonzaga University is giving students, staff, faculty and community members a chance to do exactly that by celebrating International Day of Tolerance outside the Crosby Center on campus.

Symposium will discuss future of criminal justice system

Faced with the prospect next year of going to voters to fund a new $200 million jail, Spokane County leaders are teaming up with community activists for a discussion about alternatives to put fewer people in jail while also reducing crime. Virtually every stakeholder, from new Spokane police Chief Frank Straub to judges to mental health professionals, will meet Friday for the Smart Justice Symposium, an all-day event at Northern Quest Resort and Casino.

Zehm plaque placed at Mission Park in ceremony on his birthday

Wrapped in a blanket under gray skies, Ann Zehm reached out to touch the metal plaque placed at Mission Park to honor her son, Otto, on what would have been his 43rd birthday. The entire Spokane City Council, Mayor David Condon, police Chief Frank Straub and family gathered for a private ceremony Wednesday in the park where Otto Zehm played as a child. The plaque reads: “In Memory of Otto Zehm.”

Spokane’s first police ombudsman’s term extended

Spokane’s first police ombudsman will keep his job for another year. Mayor David Condon decided in August against renewing Ombudsman Tim Burns’ three-year contract. The move angered some City Council members, who questioned Condon’s willingness to let the city go without an ombudsman even as the city works through recent scandals involving police misconduct.

Doug Clark: So begins Straub’s grace period

Frank Straub has taken the oath to become Spokane’s new police chief, and already the department is running like a stolen Rolex. No innocent civilians have been shot, shocked or shivved.

New chief takes oath

Frank Straub was sworn in Monday as Spokane’s new police chief. Public officials gathered to witness the ceremony, which came a week after he began work in his new job.

Shawn Vestal: ‘Wisdom’ on Straub very unwise

When “everybody knows” something, everybody is often wrong. Jim McDevitt says that’s the case when it comes to the widespread assumption – which has had an airing in this column – that the fix was in on our new police chief, Frank Straub. The conventional wisdom held that Mayor David Condon handpicked Straub, ignored the advice of advisers, and that the process of gathering and evaluating input from lots of different people was a sham.

Officers cleared in every case of excessive force since 2007

Internal affairs investigators for the Spokane Police Department have sided with officers accused of brutality and excessive force in every single complaint filed by citizens over the past five years, a statistic that troubles several community leaders, including the city’s new top cop. Longtime brass within the police force, however, say the community needs to look beyond statistics alone and consider that the Spokane department does a better job of training and weeding out potential problem officers early in the recruiting process.

Vestal: Patience needed to weigh ‘Action Guy’s’ decisions

Mayor David Condon once referred to himself as an “action guy.” Eight months into the strongest example so far of Spokane’s strong-mayor system, the term seems apt. Action Guy! Cutting through red tape! Slicing through the fog of negativity! Getting stuff done!

State grants Straub training waiver

BURIEN, Wash. – Spokane’s new director of law enforcement will not have to attend a five-month police academy to become a commissioned officer in Washington. The state Criminal Justice Training Commission on Wednesday granted Spokane city officials’ request for a waiver, ruling instead that Frank Straub can take a nine-week online course starting in January. That course focuses on differences in Washington’s laws and procedures and is essentially designed for out-of-state officers transferring to a job in this state.

Straub granted waiver

BURIEN, Wash. -- A state commission granted a waive this morning to Spokane Law Enforcement Director Frank Straub that will allow him to take a shortened course on state laws and procedures rather than attending the police academy.

Straub saw 9/11 up close

The new leader of the Spokane Police Department credits his life to a fire truck. More specifically, the New York City Fire Department truck he used as shelter as the second World Trade Center tower collapsed 11 years ago about a block away.