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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Police ombudsman commissioners seek deeper background check on job finalist

A week after Spokane’s police chief was forced to step down because of accusations he harassed and belittled subordinates, people involved in the decision to select a new police ombudsman say they’re concerned about similar allegations against one of the finalists for that job.

Police ombudsman commissioners seek deeper background check on job finalist

A week after Spokane’s police chief was forced to step down because of accusations he harassed and belittled subordinates, people involved in the decision to select a new police ombudsman say they’re concerned about similar allegations against one of the finalists for that job.

Officials gave false details leading up to chief’s resignation

In the weeks, days and hours leading to the ouster of Spokane’s police chief, city officials provided incorrect information to the public about growing concerns among police employees about Chief Frank Straub’s leadership. Even Tuesday’s news release publicly announcing Straub had resigned said his departure was “to pursue new opportunities and be closer to family.” The fact that he had been forced out because of what some in the department considered brash and unprofessional management was not disclosed until Mayor David Condon suggested so in a news conference soon after the news release was distributed.

With Spokane police chief Frank Straub out, reforms must continue

Former Police Chief Frank Straub described his management style as direct, honest and blunt, but denied Wednesday that he had been abusive or obscene while managing sometimes difficult changes in the Spokane Police Department. Straub also said he believes a wide-ranging series of reforms and new initiatives – including federal oversight of the department’s practices and a shift toward a more precinct-oriented model of community policing – are established firmly enough that his successor can move forward with them.

Doug Clark: Former police chief Straub’s demise small sting to Condon

In the most shocking breakup since Kermit and Miss Piggy, Spokane Mayor David Condon has given the boot to Frank Straub, the same guy Condon handpicked for police chief over sound advice, logic and reason. Three years ago the mayor told us Straub was the best thing since sliced brisket.

No police chief search in works; Dobrow named as interim

City leaders have no plans to begin a search for a permanent police chief after the Tuesday ouster of Frank Straub, a move police reform advocates say is a mistake. Assistant Chief Rick Dobrow, a 21-year veteran of the Spokane Police Department, was appointed interim chief Tuesday. Though he doesn’t meet the minimum qualifications for the chief job, city officials say he’s well-positioned to rebuild trust with officers after Straub’s divisive management.

Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub forced to resign

Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub has been forced to resign. Mayor David Condon asked for Straub’s resignation amid complaints about Straub’s leadership style and personnel moves involving two women who were moved out of the police department.

Man fatally shot by Spokane police during standoff

A suspected auto thief was shot Saturday morning after opening fire on officers during a standoff outside a north Spokane home. The man died later of his injuries at a local hospital. His identity will be released by the Spokane County medical examiner after an autopsy has been completed.

Shawn Vestal: Video expert from Zehm case was wrong pick for review of bike incident

When police officers investigating the death of a teenager killed in an encounter with a speeding Spokane County deputy needed an expert to analyze video footage, they made an unusual choice: the guy accused of whitewashing the infamous Otto Zehm videos. That’s the bad news. The good news, so far as it goes, is that once concerns were raised about “credibility problems” with the work of Grant Fredericks, the owner of Spokane-based Forensic Video Solutions, the brass ordered a separate review, according to investigative files released last week.

Condon, Straub lead Spokane delegation to White House to highlight police reforms

Efforts to reform the police department and enhance community involvement have made Spokane a national model, said Mayor David Condon and police Chief Frank Straub, who were at the White House on Thursday as part of a forum on community policing. Condon said Spokane’s voluntary two-year review by the U.S. Department of Justice, the creation of the Criminal Justice Commission and the citizen-led effort at expanding oversight through an empowered ombudsman have put it ahead of other cities struggling with trust and legitimacy in their police departments.

Franklin County sheriff decries allegation of possible leak in murder case

Franklin County Sheriff Jim Raymond is decrying the loss of public trust after a deputy prosecuting attorney said in a Spokane courtroom Friday that his department was suspected of feeding information to murder suspect and former Pasco police Officer Richard Aguirre, a charge Raymond says is false. But the source of the allegation remains unclear. Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell has not released details and Spokane police Chief Frank Straub has referred questions to Haskell.

Guards in Spokane schools would be armed under district proposal

A sergeant with the Spokane Police Department will supervise up to 17 armed guards in Spokane’s schools, if an agreement between the city of Spokane and Spokane Public Schools is approved Monday by the City Council. It’s unclear when those guards will carry firearms because the teachers union that represents them is still at loggerheads with the school administration over what they consider a change in working conditions.

Police sergeant demoted 2 ranks

A Spokane police sergeant who was found to be lying in an investigation related to her husband’s apparent use of illegal steroids will get to keep a job on the force despite a recommendation she be terminated, according to a police internal affairs investigation released this week. During the investigation examining Sgt. Lydia Taylor, new details emerged about the use of illegal steroids by her husband, Detective Trammell “Mell” Taylor. He was forced to retire last year after serving 27 years in the department, but he won’t face criminal charges despite telling investigators he wrote checks to a fake business to pay a drug dealer for illegal steroids over the course of four years, according to the report.

Spokane Police Use of Force Commission leaves culture audit decision to Chief Straub

Citing improvements in police transparency and accountability, Spokane’s Use of Force Commission said it would defer to police Chief Frank Straub’s decision about whether to conduct a formal culture audit of the department. But an Eastern Washington University study released last week showing police disproportionately stop black and Native American residents has renewed calls from some community leaders for an audit to look at, among other things, how officers view race and whether that impacts their actions on the street.

Hillyard home to new police precinct

Residents in the Hillyard neighborhood won’t need long to learn that the head of the new North Police Precinct, Capt. Craig Meidl, is friendly and has a sense of humor. He’s also happy to give tours of a facility so new that there is no furniture, and the coffee pot hadn’t even been plugged in. The new police precinct at the southeast corner of Market Street and Diamond Avenue had a grand opening celebration Tuesday afternoon. Once you are past the front desk and reception area, there’s a large open room that has only two desks tucked in a corner.

Spokane opens Hillyard police precinct

Residents in the Hillyard neighborhood won’t need long to learn that the head of the new North Police Precinct, Capt. Craig Meidl, is friendly and has a sense of humor. He’s also happy to give tours of a facility so new that there is no furniture, and the coffee pot hadn’t even been plugged in.