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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Police union likes ombudsman choice

The president of the Spokane Police Guild said Wednesday he’s pleased with Mayor Mary Verner’s decision to name Tim Burns the city’s first police ombudsman.

Spokane’s first police ombudsman selected

A retired police officer now working as a neighborhood preservation advocate in California is Spokane Mayor Mary Verner's choice to serve as the city's first police ombudsman.

Editorial: Ombudsman pick should come with explanation

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner will soon name the city’s first ombudsman for the Police Department. When she does, the public deserves a detailed explanation for why she chose one candidate over the other two. The three candidates were announced May 18, and they all seem well-qualified to sit in judgment of police work.

Protest outdraws ombudsman forum

The warmest day of the year appeared to be enough to keep crowds from a Friday meet and greet with the three finalists vying to be Spokane’s first police ombudsman. Fewer than a dozen people – including two residents and a few city staff members – showed up in the City Council chambers for the first of three public forums with candidates Tony Betz, Tim Burns and Greg Weber.

Few show up to meet ombudsman candidates

The warmest day of year appeared to be enough to keep crowds from a Friday meet and greet with the three finalists vying to be Spokane’s first police ombudsman. Fewer than a dozen people — including two citizens and a few city staff members — showed up in the City Council chambers for the first of three public forums with candidates Tony Betz, Tim Burns and Greg Weber.

Spokane unveils top ombudsman candidates

More than two years after former Mayor Dennis Hession announced support for a new job to oversee police actions, city leaders on Monday announced the top candidates to become Spokane’s first police ombudsman. They are: Tony Betz, a retired FBI official now serving as an instructor at Texas A&M University; Tim Burns, neighborhood preservation officer for the city of Visalia, Calif., and a retired police officer; and Greg Weber, a Spokane attorney and former deputy director of the Washington attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Ombudsman search starts

The city of Spokane has begun the search for a police ombudsman, a position that got strong public support after several recent controversies, including the 2006 death of mentally disabled janitor Otto Zehm in a confrontation with police. The job will pay $77,130 to $94,628 annually. The successful applicant will be appointed for a three-year term and can be reappointed to a second three-year term. The deadline to apply is Feb. 27.

City reaches deal with police guild about oversight

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner and the Spokane Police Guild have reached a tentative agreement on a new ombudsman's office that would review citizen complaints but leave officer discipline to the police chief.

Center for Justice criticizes ombudsman plan

The law firm representing the family of Otto Zehm is critical of Mayor Mary Verner's suggestion that the city doesn't need a full-time police ombudsman.

Police oversight a campaign issue

In most elections, candidates for office in the city of Spokane face a basic question about police: Are there enough of them to do the job? Candidates might argue yes or no, but the debate centers mainly on the budget. This year, however, police and politics collide in a different way, as candidates are being forced to discuss how police are doing their job.

Consultant: Get rid of police review board

Spokane's all-volunteer Citizen's Review Commission no longer has the trust of the public to monitor police misconduct and should be replaced by a full-time police ombudsman appointed by and answerable to the mayor, a Seattle consultant recommends. "Maintaining the status quo is simply not a credible option," the consultant's 39-page report says.

New police oversight in works

A new model for citizen oversight of police in Spokane is needed and on the way, Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick told an audience Tuesday night as they flooded her with questions and issues about misconduct. When she was hired as chief only four months ago, Kirkpatrick said she knew the issues of police accountability and citizen oversight "were huge topics in this community because of the high-profile cases that had occurred."