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The term of Ombudsman Tim Burns coming to an end Aug 24 2012. Not Renewed.

The city of Spokane will not renew Police Ombudsman Tim Burns's contract, a city spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday.

Burn's contract ends on Aug. 24, but spokeswoman Marlene Feist says the mayor wants to reconfigure the police ombudsman's job description rather than renew the contract.

Spokane Mayor David Condon I'am deeply humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to serve as Spokane’s next mayor.  Spokane is a great city, and I am excited to continue making our town a place that our children and grandchildren will be proud to call home.  I know that this opportunity would not be possible without the many hands that gave their time, resources, and vote – I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you who helped bring about a new day for Spokane.  I am fully committed to making City Hall open, accountable, and responsive to its citizens, so please stop by or contact me anytime to share your thoughts, concerns, questions or suggestions.  And again, THANK YOU!

"Tim's going to stay on with us at the end of September [or] the beginning of October for a transition plan for a new person to serve in that role," Feist says. "He could potentitally reapply for this position."

Burns was hired in 2009 to act as an oversight for the Spokane Police Department. The City Council granted him independent investigatory powers in 2010, but then stripped him of those powers the following year after an arbitrator ruled that those powers had been granted without consultation from the Spokane Police Guild.

Burns is on a three-year contract with an option for one renewal, Feist says. In a phone call, Burns confirmed that his contract was not being renewed, but wasn't available for further comment.

The city is trying to find a new police chief and awaiting a report from the Use of Force Commission, which spent most of the past year holding hearings on the police's actions. It is also negotiating a contract with the guild.

Feist says the mayor wanted the police ombudsman's job to reflect the commission's recommendations, and he wanted to consult with whoever is the new police chief before refilling the position.

The Mayor Wants ? ?  Ombudsman's Are Independent Investigatory Power Etc. and Not To Be Friends With The New Mayor Or The New Police Chief. Its A Independent Office Investigatory Power and Help All Of Spkone Peoples First ?

Rick Eichstaedt, executive director of nonprofit the Center for Justice, which advocated for the ombudsman position, says he think Burns did as good of a job as he could.

But he's concerned that the community wasn't consulted on Burns's departure.

"We have an ombudsman ordinance, we need to give people an ombudsman. Who is going to serve in that role?" Eichstaedt says. "It's almost like throwing the baby out with the bathwater when we don’t know when they're going to refill the tub."

About Us On October 6, 2008 the Spokane City Council officially adopted legislation to establish the Office of Police Ombudsman. This Office was established to provide independent civilian oversight for misconduct complaints involving members of the Spokane Police Department. The Ombudsman’s Office is independent from all other City departments and reports directly to the Mayor and City Council. In addition to providing civilian oversight, the Office of Police Ombudsman may recommend policies and procedures for review and review and recommend changes in departmental policies to improve the quality of police investigations and practices. 

2012 Ombudsman-Received Complaints +The following are complaints received by the ombudsman and forwarded to the Internal Affairs Division of the Spokane Police Department for investigation in 2012. Upon receipt by Internal Affairs, complaints are reviewed for potential violations of the Spokane Police Department Code of Ethics and are classified as an investigative inquiry or for formal investigation. In general, inquiries are questions about employee conduct which, even if true, would not qualify as a personnel complaint.  Investigative inquiries are not subject to certification however pursuant to Spokane Municipal Code Section 04.32.030 (I), the Ombudsman may appeal the classification to the Chief of Police and, if necessary, to the Mayor.

After investigation by the police department the investigative file will be returned to the ombudsman to certify whether the report is thorough and objective. Ombudsman findings may include:

• Certified  The Ombudsman has certified the Internal Affairs investigation as timely, thorough, and objective.

• Concur (Investigative Inquiries only)  After reviewing the complaint and associated records, the Ombudsman agrees with reclassification of the complaint as an inquiry.

• Declined Certification The Ombudsman has declined to certify the Internal Affairs investigation as timely, thorough, and objective.

Once certified, the report is sent to the Chief of Police for disposition (Chief’s Findings). Newly received complaints are published monthly following presentation to the Public Safety Committee.

To assist in identifying where complaints are occurring, the Office of Police Ombudsman has divided the City into 4 quadrants. The north-south borderline is Sprague Avenue and the east-west borderline is Division Street.

Documents and Reports 
Click here to view Spokane Police Department’s closed Internal Affairs complaints and Use of Force Reports

 Ombudsman Received Complaints

2012 Received Complaints | 2011 Received Complaints  |  2011 Closing Reports  |  2010 Closing Reports Annual Reports

2011 Annual Report (February 20, 2012 City Council Meeting*)

•  Attachment A – Closing Report 11-03
•  Attachment B – SPD Policy 1020
•  Attachment C – SPD Policy 314
Attachment D – COPS Standards and Guidelines Manual
Attachment E – RCW 9.41.270
Attachment F – Mobile Data Terminal Use While Driving
Attachment G – Body Worn Video and Law Enforcement
Attachment H – Media Ombudsmen

2011 Mid Year Report

2010 Annual Report (March 7, 2011 City Council Meeting*)

Attachment A – Citizen Complaint Analysis
Attachment B – Internal Affairs 2010 Annual Report
Attachment C – In Car Video Recommendation
Attachment D – Fleet Study and Spokane Police Department Response

2009 Annual Report, August to December Only (April 12, 2010 City Council Meeting*)

*Video of Spokane City Council Meetings are available online through City Cable 5

|Public Safety Committee Reports

Pursuant to Spokane Municipal Code Section 04.32.110 (C), the Ombudsman shall make a monthly report to the Mayor, the Chief of Police, and the Public Safety Committee. The Public Safety Committee meets in Spokane City Hall Conference Room 5A on the third Monday of each month at 1:30 pm.
January 2012 + February 2012 + March 2012 + April 2012 + May 2012 A#1 A#2 +
June 2012 A#1 A#2 A#3 + July 2012 A#1 A#2 + August 2012 + September 2012
October 2012 + November 2012 + December 2012

January 2011 + February 2011 + March 2011 + April 2011  + May 2011 + June 2011 +
July 2011 +August 2011 + September 2011 + October 2011 + November 2011 A#4 +
December 2011 + January 2010 + February 2010 + March 2010 + April 2010 + May 2010
+ June 2010 + July 2010 + August 2010 + September 2010  + October 2010 +
November 2010 + December 2010  + October 2009 + November 2009 + December 2009

Critical Incident Response

Pursuant to Spokane Municipal Code Section 04.32.040, the police ombudsman shall be notified immediately and act as an observer to any administrative or civil investigation conducted by or on behalf of the department where an employee of the police department is involved as a principal, victim, witness, or custodial officer, where death or serious bodily injury results, or where deadly force was used regardless of whether any injury or death resulted.

The Ombudsman has no role in the criminal investigation of officer-involved deaths or injury. These investigations are carried out in accordance with the Spokane Police Department’s Critical Incident Protocol.

For more information on specific incidents involving members of the Spokane Police Department, please visit our Critical Incidents page.

 AIM Reports

The Accountability Information Management (AIM) report is a monthly document prepared by the Spokane Police Department that details unit performance measures, crime trends and response, personnel management, and fiscal spending.
January 2012 + February 2012 + April 2012 + June 2012 + July 2012 + August 2012 +
September 2012 + October 2012 + November 2012 + December 2012 + January 2011 +
February 2011 + March 2011 + April 2011 + May 2011 + June 2011 + July 2011 +
August 2011 + September 2011 + October 2011 + November 2011

January 2010 + February 2010 + March 2010 + April 2010 + May 2010 + June 2010 +
July 2010 + August 2010 + September 2010 + October 2010 + November 2010 +
December 2010  ++ August 2009 + September 2009 + October 2009 + November 2009 +
December 2009

About Us On October 6, 2008 the Spokane City Council officially adopted legislation to establish the Office of Police Ombudsman. This Office was established to provide independent civilian oversight for misconduct complaints involving members of the Spokane Police Department. The Ombudsman’s Office is independent from all other City departments and reports directly to the Mayor and City Council. In addition to providing civilian oversight, the Office of Police Ombudsman may recommend policies and procedures for review and review and recommend changes in departmental policies to improve the quality of police investigations and practices. 

Office of Police Ombudsman, Enabling Ordinance (Spokane Municipal Code, Chapter 4.32)
|   Mission

The Office of Police Ombudsman exists to promote public confidence in the professionalism and accountability of the members of the Spokane Police Department by providing independent review of police actions, thoughtful policy recommendations and ongoing community outreach.
| Guiding PrinciplesThe Office of Police Ombudsman will strive to:Provide equal, fair and impartial access to the services of the Office of  Police Ombudsman without regard to age, race, gender, creed, color, nationality, sexual orientation, or socio-economic standing.Insure that all individuals will be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect regardless of their attitude or demeanor.Deliver service in a timely, thorough and objective manner.

The Ombudsman believes: In the empowerment of all people to solve problems and receive service.Individuals must be responsible and accountable for their personal and professional actions and behavior.

| Code of Ethics

The Office of Police Ombudsman subscribes to and has adopted the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement Code of Ethics.

|Staff Profiles

Tim Burns, Police Ombudsman
In August 2009 Tim Burns was appointed Spokane’s first Police Ombudsman. Tim is an accomplished professional who takes a realistic, no nonsense approach to problem solving and conflict resolution. Tim is a result driven professional with 37 years of experience in law enforcement, code enforcement, teaching, licensed contracting and conflict resolution. Tim has a reputation as a resourceful problem solver.

Tim is responsible for providing independent civilian oversight to the Spokane Police Department in conduct-related matters. Tim works under the direction of the Mayor and has prescribed authority through the Municipal Code. Tim frequently meets with the Spokane Police Administration, Spokane Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit, special interest organizations and concerned residents.

Tim is a member of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) and the United States Ombudsman Association (USOA). In 2010 Tim was appointed to the NACOLE Professional Standards Committee. In 2011 Tim was elected to the Board of Directors for the United States Ombudsman Association.

In 2010 Tim was certified as a mediator through the Fulcrum Institute of Spokane, Washington.

Tim has been previous employed by the City of Visalia, California as the Neighborhood Preservation Division Manager, the City of Hollister, California as the Code Enforcement Officer and by the Town of Los Gatos, California as a Police Officer.

Tim graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in the Administration of Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology. He holds a life time, part-time, California Junior College Teaching Credential. Tim has advanced certifications from the Police Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST) and the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers (CACEO).
Melissa Nystrom, Assistant to the Ombudsman
Melissa Nystrom originally hails from Mount Vernon, WA.  She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Sociology in 2005.  Melissa went on to graduate from Gonzaga University School of Law with a Juris Doctorate Degree in 2009.

After graduating, Melissa spent two years working for Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners (SNAP), a local non-profit organization.  She worked with the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.  There, Melissa helped coordinate a volunteer program of over 40 volunteers and directly advocated for the rights of individuals living in Long Term Care facilities like Nursing and Boarding Homes. 

Melissa began working in the Office of the Police Ombudsman in February, 2012.  Among other things, she acts as the main point-of-contact for citizens contacting the office.  Additionally, in April 2012 Melissa was certified as a mediator through the Fulcrum Institute of Spokane, Washington.

Scott Richter, Office of Police Ombudsman Volunteer
Scott Richter was born and raised in Salem, Oregon. In 2010 Scott graduated from Eastern Washington University double majoring in Sociology and Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. In December 2011, Scott received his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Eastern Washington University.

Before attending school, Scott spent most of his working life in skilled trades which helped him realize his ultimate goal of working in non-profit administration. Scott is passionate about advocacy and will continue to pursue his interests in social research and providing equal opportunities for all.

Scott has been an intern at the Office of Police Ombudsman since April 2011. When he is not interning, Scott enjoys spending time with his family, music, movies, gardening and sports.

Benjamin Gallion, Office of Police Ombudsman Intern
Benjamin Gallion has been an intern at the Office of Police Ombudsman since April, 2012. He has been a resident of Spokane County for 19 years. Ben will receive his Bachelors of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Eastern Washington University in June, 2012.

Before his current position at the Office of Police Ombudsman, Ben interned with the EWU Children’s Studies program “The Hangout”. During his junior year of college, Ben spent over a year studying at the University of Sydney and working in Sydney, Australia.

Kortney Dragoo, Office of Police Ombudsman Intern
Kortney Dragoo moved to Spokane County in August of 2011 from Aberdeen, WA.  She graduated from Grays Harbor College in the spring of 2011 with an Associate in Arts Degree.  Kortney is currently studying Sociology and Criminal Justice at Eastern Washington University and plans to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in spring 2013.  

Besides being a full time student and intern in the Ombudsman Office, Kortney has a part-time job and enjoys doing special effects makeup in her spare time.  In addition, Kortney loves the outdoors and looks forward to further exploring Spokane County in the upcoming months.

James Sercey, Office of Police Ombdusman Intern
Originally from Florida, James Sercey moved to Spokane in 2010. He began his undergraduate studies at Spokane Community College in August of 2010 and later transferred to Eastern Washington University. He is majoring in Criminal Justice and will receive his Bachelor’s Degree in 2014.

Before relocating to Spokane, James worked in the Criminal Justice field as a Correctional Officer and Patrol Deputy in Florida for nearly five years.

Tim Szambelan, Police Ombudsman Attorney
Tim Szambelan grew up in Chehalis, Washington. Chehalis is a small rural town 30 miles south of Olympia, Washington. In 1986, he received his undergraduate degree from Seattle University in Public Administration.

In 1987 Tim moved to Spokane to attend Gonzaga University School of Law. He graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1990.

Upon graduation from law school, Tim worked at the Spokane law firm of Huppin, Ewing, and Anderson & Paul in their Litigation Department.

In 1991 Tim accepted a position with the Spokane City Attorney’s Office in the Criminal Division as a prosecutor.

In 1998 Tim transferred to the Civil Division of the City Attorney’s Office and currently represents the Ombudsman Office and other Departments within the City.

Tim is licensed to practice law in Washington and Arizona. 

1986 SEATTLE UNIVERSTIY, Major:  Public Administration
1990 Gonzaga University School of Law – Juris Doctoris 

Washington State Young Lawyers Division President 1996-1997
Washington State Bar Association – Long Range Planning Committee 1997-1998
Washington Young Lawyer Division Trustee 1994-1996
Spokane County Young Lawyer President 1995-1996
Spokane County Young Lawyer Trustee 1992-1995
ABA Young Lawyer Director – Aspiring Youth Program Washington
| History of the Public Sector Ombudsman

For as long as government has existed, guaranteeing citizens fair and equitable treatment under the law has been an issue and various protections have been utilized over the years. In modern times the public sector Ombudsman, where instituted, has been a successful and valuable guarantor of citizens’ rights. By impartial and independent investigation of citizens’ complaints, it has provided an informal and accessible avenue of redress. 

The first public sector ombudsman (OM-budz-man, -buhdz-, -boodz-) was appointed by the Parliament of Sweden of 1809. The Swedish Constitution divided and balanced power between the king and Parliament with the king having executive powers and Parliament retaining legislative power. The ombudsman, who was appointed by and responsible to Parliament, was to protect individual rights against the excesses of the bureaucracy. 

This first ombudsman’s office, since its creation, has been the model for the public sector ombudsman, and set the definition that is still accepted today: a public official appointed by the legislature to receive and investigate citizen complaints against administrative acts of government. These acts may or may not include the administrative acts of the judiciary or the legislature, depending upon the statute. 

The ombudsman concept spread through Europe and to this continent with the first offices being established in the United States in the mid 60’s. This was a time in the United States when exposure of government secrecy and scandal, and when movements such as civil rights and good government created a political atmosphere more favorable to openness, and to establishing recourse for the aggrieved. 

Hawaii established the first public sector office in 1967. Since then a number of states, counties and municipalities have followed suit by establishing offices of general jurisdiction. 

The ombudsman movement in the United States has also been characterized by offices that represent a departure from the Swedish model. These variations would include offices with general jurisdiction but appointment by a governor or mayor, legislative offices with special jurisdiction such as corrections, and single agency ombudsman with statutory authority.

JurisdictionThe Police Ombudsman’s jurisdiction is limited to matters involving members of the Spokane Police Department. The Ombudsman may forward complaints involving other jurisdictions to the appropriate jurisdiction.

If you have a complaint involving a law enforcement agency other than Spokane Police Department, you may contact that agency directly and ask for their Office of Internal Affairs.Airway Heights Police Department,(509) 244-3707Cheney Police Department,(509) 498-9235Liberty Lake Police Department,(509) 755-6724Medical Lake Police Department,(509) 565-5003Spokane Airport Police,(509) 455-6429Spokane Fire Department,(509) 625-7000Spokane County Sheriff’s Office,(509) 477-4754Spokane Valley Police Department,(509) 477-3300Washington State Patrol,(360) 704-4220

Not sure if your incident took place in the City of Spokane? Check CityMap.

Year Recommendation SPD Response
2012 Improve the phone equipment at the front desk of the Public Safety Building to ensure that people calling are not automatically placed in a hold position or left on hold for extended periods of time. It was further recommended that conversations be recorded PENDING
2012 Require that all internal affairs investigations be recorded with the consent of the involved parties regardless of whether the investigation is being conducted by internal affairs staff or other staff PENDING
2012 Require that all personnel who have been trained and demonstrated proficiency in the use of a baton and taser carry the tool on their person throughout their tour of duty PENDING
2012 Create a formal operations agreement between the Spokane Police Department and the U. S. Border Patrol that clearly identifies and defines the relationship between the two agencies and how they will utilize each other’s resources PENDING
2012 Track and report when U. S. Border Patrol assistance has been requested by Spokane Police Department personnel or when they appear on scene without having been requested PENDING
2012 The Citizen Inquiry process not be used for potential excessive force complaints or where physical force is applied in an arrest situation and the person arrested (or someone who witnessed the application of force) makes a complaint.  Also, Police supervisors advise the individuals they speak with during the Citizen Inquiry process that if they are not satisfied with the Citizen Inquiry process, they can file a complaint with the Internal Affairs Unit or the Office of Police Ombudsman PENDING
2012 Members of the Police Department receive training on traumatic brain injury through a Department training bulletin or other source PENDING
2012 Police Department Records accelerate the redaction of closed Internal Affairs investigations for release and placement on the Spokane Police Department or Office of Police Ombudsman website PENDING
2012 Police Department work with the tow industry, their association, City Legal and City Council to create an ordinance to regulate the tow truck rotation tow list process PENDING
2011 Annual Report The Department of Justice/US Attorney do a pattern and practice audit review of the Spokane Police Department PENDING
2011 Annual Report Adopt the COPS Standards and Guidelines Manual for the Internal Affairs Unit to further formalize, strengthen and enhance the PD’s investigation process PENDING
2011 Annual Report Adopt a Discipline Matrix based on the Tucson, Arizona Police Department’s experience and matrix as a template where possible PENDING
2011 Annual Report Recruit and hire a civilian Public Information Officer PENDING
2011 Annual Report Create a display of force policy to document weapons displayed by Police Officers.  As incidents are documented, patterns may be identified and training opportunities may exist PENDING
2011 Annual Report Create an arrest release policy for documentation when an individual is arrested and then released when probable cause ceases to exist PENDING
2011 Annual Report Re-establish a property crimes unit in Spokane PENDING
2011 Annual Report Provide for a more thorough investigation process for victims of minor assaults PENDING
2011 Annual Report Revise the SPD’s use of sick leave policy to address abuse of leave PENDING
2011 Annual Report Further restrict the use of in car computers while driving PENDING
2011 Annual Report Provide Officers with body video cameras.  Body cameras are an “independent witness” that may improve Officer safety and have potential evidentiary value in addressing complaints PENDING
2011 Annual Report Local media outlets create a Spokane Media Ombudsman position to ensure accurate coverage and address complaints that involve the local media PENDING
2011 Annual Report The SPD be re-certified with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA).  The SPD was previously certified but allowed their certification to lapse PENDING
2011 That the 3 digit numbers assigned to patrol vehicles and currently located on the windshields and rear windows of the vehicles also be placed on the front and rear bumpers of all patrol vehicles in a conspicuous location, in a 4” to 6” reflective material, to assist in identifying personnel when necessary Complete; assigned numbers are now visible on front and rear bumpers of all patrol vehicles
2010 Annual Report Police Administration conduct an internal study to identify which employees currently assigned take home vehicles have a direct response obligation to a call out and that policy be developed that meets community and Department needs while reducing the cost to the community  PENDING
2010 Annual Report The Police Department Policy Manual be placed on the Police Department website in a redacted format The SPD Policy Manual can now be accessed from the SPD home page
2010 Annual Report The City of Spokane negotiate with the Police Guild as required by law to allow for all completed internal affairs investigations to become public records in a redacted format All closed redacted Internal Affairs complaints will be posted to the SPD website.  Currently, most of the 2011 investigations are available with more to come as they are redacted
2010 Annual Report Voluntary interviews be requested to take place as soon as practical after a Critical Incident has occurred  PENDING
2010 Annual Report When an Officer(s) is involved in a Critical Incident that the Officer(s) be required to submit to a chemical test as soon as practical after a the incident  PENDING
2010 Annual Report Video cameras be installed on tasers used by Police personnel to insure that tasers are used only when necessary and appropriate  PENDING
2010 Annual Report Installation of in car video equipment into Police cars be a high priority for the Office of the Mayor, the Office of the Chief of Police and the Police Guild during contract negotiations in 2011 and that an interdisciplinary committee be formed to develop an implementation plan  PENDING
2010 As new patrol vehicles are purchased, rear seat belts be a mandatory equipment requirement in the purchase, and when those vehicles are phased into patrol for use, that those Officers assigned to those vehicles be required to seat belt prisoners when transporting them Seatbelting Prisoners – SPD Response
2010 Corporal guidelines on photographing victims of sexual crimes Policy has been developed and will be published in the next Policy and Procedure Manual update
2010 Policy/procedure be put in place to address parental/legal guardian notification in instances where a weapon is displayed to a juvenile during the detention process Addressed on a case-by-case basis due to privacy rights and varying circumstancesAddressed at roll call training
2010 Notification of the circumstances for a student’s detention to the principal of the school the      student(s) attend(s) in the event that the detention occurs during school hours Addressed on a case-by-case basis due to privacy rights and varying circumstancesAddressed at roll call training
2010 The Police Department be proactive in making High School and Junior High School Administrations aware of the training curriculum and proactively pursue providing this training to all of the students who attend those schools Training previously developed; the Spokane Police Department recently sent a letter to the Superintendent of Schools encouraging presentation of this program to school staff.
2010 Policy restricting use of cell phones by Police while driving Policy already exists; e-mail sent to Senior Staff as reminder
2010 Request that dispatchers not have citizens step outside to check on calls involving possible violence Notification to SPD dispatchers explaining issue and concerns, as well as direction to not continue practice (if ongoing)
2010 Training for Patrol on noise ordinance issues as it relates to street performers Additional training provided to Patrol Unit
2010 Training for Officers in release of information to employers not directly involved in Police event (ie, traffic ticket notification to employers) Officers have been notified that absent a legitimate business concern, business owners should not be advised of enforcement action taken against their employees.
2010 Recommendation that Neighborhood Resource Officers (NROs) work with and notify COPS shops volunteers when they will be off for extended leave Expectation has been forwarded to all Neighborhood Resource Officers
2009 Annual Report Increase level of supervisory training for Police Corporals Corporals attend leadership training regularly; the Academy is developing a formal field training program for Corporals
2009 Annual Report Provide all Department employees Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity training Assigned to Academy for follow-up
2009 Annual Report Provide Tactical Language training to patrol personnel Will be provided in Spring 2011 Inservice training
2009 Annual Report Establish policy for “Rendering Safe” firearms Daily training bulletin issued in April 2010; discussed at April 2010 leadership training
2009 Annual Report Provide training regarding State residency requirements and how residency applies to vehicle violation enforcement Shift level training provided via the Patrol Captain 
2009 Annual Report Track the number of Police encounters with individuals who exhibit symptoms of Excited Delirium and report New code added for Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) tracking; revised training bulletin issued in September 2010.
2009 Annual Report Develop policy regarding viewing of video in a timely manner if it may have potential evidentiary value Covered at Spring 2010 leadership training for Corporals, Sergeants and above.

FormsComplaint/Commendation FormIn the interest of better law enforcement, we welcome your:Commendations,Complaints,Inquiries,Constructive Criticism, andSuggestions

To submit a complaint, please complete a Confidential Citizen Complaint Form and deliver to our office, 221 N Wall Street, Suite 238, via U.S. mail.

If you prefer, you may also submit a complaint online by completeing our Online Form.
Prior to sending your comments or complaint forward, a member of our staff will contact you to verify your submitted information. Depending upon the nature of your concern, an appointment may be scheduled to gather more detailed information.
Mediation Form

In accordance with Spokane Municipal Code, the Office of Police Ombudsman will have the opportunity to make a recommendation for complaint mediation prior to each investigation. In the event the department, the complainant, and the officer all agree to mediation, that process will be utilized rather than sending the matter on for investigation.

If you are scheduled to participate in mediation of a complaint or are interested in learning more about this service, please read the Office of Police Ombudsman Mediation Agreement.

Mediation Agreement

Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat do I do if I’m stopped by the police?
The ACLU of Washington State has a created a publication with tips on how to handle a police encounter.  Click here to view and print out the handy wallet-sized card to carry with you or click here to view the information in a larger format.

How do I file a complaint?
You can file a complaint in writing, by telephone, via fax, online or by visiting our office in person.

Is there a time limit?
The Office of Police Ombudsman has adopted a one year statute of limitations and must receive complaints within twelve months of the alleged misconduct.

Is there a cost involved?
There is no charge for using the services of the Office of Police Ombudsman.

Can I compliment an officer?
Yes, you can file a commendation in writing, by telephone, via fax, online or by visiting our office in person.

How is the investigation handled?
When you contact our office, details of your complaint will be received by the Ombudsman and forwarded within 3 days to the Internal Affairs Division of Spokane Police Department for investigation. After a timely, thorough and objective investigation by the Police Department, the investigation will be returned to the Ombudsman to certify within 5 days of receipt that the report is thorough and objective. Once certified, the report is returned to the Office of the Chief of Police for disposition.

This process is outlined in the Office of Police Ombudsman Complaint Flowchart.

Will I know the results?
Yes. You will be contacted in writing by the Chief of Police once the investigation is completed.

What problems does the Ombudsman deal with?
If you feel an employee of the Spokane Police Department did not treat you properly or violated a policy, you may contact our office with your concerns.

Are there matters that cannot be investigated?
The Ombudsman has jurisdiction regarding the City of Spokane Police Department and cannot investigate complaints outside this jurisdiction.

Can the Ombudsman get my charges dropped?
The Ombudsman’s office cannot give legal advice or assist with a person’s criminal defense.

What if I have a concern or want to ask a question?
The Ombudsman is ready to answer any question a person might have about Spokane Police Department activities. This is called an “inquiry”.

What if I have already filed a complaint with the Spokane Police Department?
If you filed a complaint with the Spokane Police Department before contacting the Office of Police Ombudsman, we ask that you wait until the Police Department has completed their investigation into your complaint. Once you receive notice that the Police Department has closed your case and if you are not satisfied with the outcome of their investigation, you may contact the Office of Police Ombudsman to discuss your concerns.

LinksCity of Spokane

Spokane Police Department

Washington State Human Rights Commission

United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section

National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement
www.nacole.org | NACOLE Police Oversight Email Group 

Police Assessment Resource Center

United States Ombudsman Association

Contact UsThe Office of Police Ombudsman is located on the second floor of “The Old City Hall Building” at 221 N. Wall Street, Suite 238 in Spokane, Washington. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.Main Office

221 N. Wall Street, Suite 238
Spokane, WA 99201
View Map

(509) 625-6742


(509) 625-6748
 Satellite Offices

To minimize cost and inconvenience to the members and guests of the community, the Ombudsman maintains satellite hours at the following locations:


East Central Community Center, 500 S Stone            Wednesdays, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Northeast Community Center, 1603 N Belt                 Wednesdays, 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM
West Central Community Center, 4001 N Cook          Wednesdays, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM


House of Charity, 32 W Pacific Ave                            Third Friday, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
The NATIVE Project, 1803 W Maxwell Ave                 Third Friday, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
STA Plaza, 701 W Riverside Ave                                First Friday, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
STA Plaza, 701 W Riverside Ave                                Second Friday, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
River Park Square (1st floor), 808 W. Main Ave          Final two Fridays, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

We understand that your time is valuable. To ensure that the Ombudsman is available to meet you, please call ahead when possible.

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