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Note by author: For readers who may consider the words that follow in this post to be harsh and unfair, consider that even the elegant, upscale Spokane Couer d'Alene Living Magazine, in the Lilacs and Lemons section of its March 2010 issue, gave Chief Kirkpatrick a lemon and reprimanded her, saying basically that if she is so busy making plans to leave Spokane in the midst of such a crucial period in city and police history, she should darn well hurry up and get the heck out of Dodge, I mean Spokaloo.

Just exactly who is Anne Kirkpatrick? Annie Got Her Gun now tries to get out of townPosted by Arroyoribera on July 4, 2010[Note by author: For readers who may consider the words that follow in this post to be harsh and unfair, consider that even the elegant, upscale Spokane Couer d'Alene Living Magazine, in the Lilacs and Lemons section of its March 2010 issue, gave Chief Kirkpatrick a lemon and reprimanded her, saying basically that if she is so busy making plans to leave Spokane in the midst of such a crucial period in city and police history, she should darn well hurry up and get the heck out of Dodge, I mean Spokaloo.]

Listening to a recent KYRS Thin Air Community Radio morning news piece by Don Gronning (6/22/10 podcast), one is struck by the most recent persona of the always strutting, full-of-attitude Anne Kirkpatrick. The sassy southern gal, who arrived in Spokane nearly four years ago with her slick little one-girl show from the south, replete with meaningless but media-savvy slogans like “You lie, you die” and a repertoire of song and dance (literally) at the ready for any and all occasions, apparently has at least one more routine up her sleeve as she — like a teenager graduating from high school — desperately seeks a way out of Spokaloo.

So what is that persona? A new and improved Chief Anne Kirkpatrick who, despite previous statements to the contrary, appears to be headed out of town.

And naked. Well, not naked exactly but definitely devoid of her long characteristic Southern accent. (Seriously, listen to Gronning’s 6/22/10 podcast.) Besides, in the south — like Abilene and Shreveport where I used to live, or Memphis, Tennessee where Anne was born and raised — we say “neck-id”.

Apparently the “Ya’ll come back now, here?” phony southern drawl worked as part of the dog and pony show the chief put on to get us Okies in Spokaloo to hire her as chief under a previous mayor and city council. But it appears she decided that it wasn’t going to make her any friends or influence any people in the sophisticated environment of Seattle. So she is suddenly accentless, a sophisticated and independent woman, itinerant again and forced to strike out on her own. Maybe she should take Doug Clark’s advice and take her bopping and jiving back to Memphis. Or how about Mabton, Washington, population 1891.

All of this after a long string of that bad luck: 1) the Guild stabbed her in the back, 2) she still can’t shake Tony Bamonte off that same back, 3) Councilman Jon Snyder could not get his slip-shod, loop-hole filled version of the Ombudsman Ordinance passed in 30 minutes as he proposed he could in the wee hours of the morning of June 22, 2010, after over-whelming public testimony in favor of a more tightly-written, forceful ordinance to move a blatantly out-of-control police force closer to effective citizen oversight and control, 4) the Grand Jury and FBI noose tightened around the necks of her lying officers and administrators, 5) Ombudsman Tim Burns himself finally stood up and said, “Hell yeah, I’ll take some of that independent oversight”, and 6) the people of Spokane, who had made common cause with many a citizen abused or murdered by the police, and in the process made themselves heard over and over and over again for years, combined a powerful community coalition with public participation and turnout that would not succumb to old fashion tactics of “bait and switch” in the writing of legislation nor to agenda-stacking designed to run out the clock on democratic participation.

Unfortunate for Anne, even after giving it that old Tennessee try in the open competitive portion of the Seattle hiring process and after a private “perhaps I still got that old charm” approach via e-mail to Seattle’s Mayor, Seattle didn’t buy the song and dance.

Besides, can you imagine this “Chief” — who okayed tasering Josh Levy off the Monroe Street Bridge to his death yet in Gronning’s podcast defends tasers like a shameless East Sprague used car saleswoman — dealing with the sorts of complicated human dramas and dilemmas that a Seattle would present her? Or how about having Chief Kirkpatrick in charge of the sophisticated political and social environment of one of the most dynamic and liberal cities in the U.S., the same Chief Kirkpatrick whose boys and girls in blue botched every aspect (from initial provocation to evidence suppression) of the July 4, 2007 police riot in Riverfront Park — being in charge of a police department in a world class city like Seattle? Can you imagine how much worse the 1999 WTO police repression would have been or what she would do with officers punching teenaged girls in the face or kicking and stomping an innocent immigrant?

Gigs up, Lil’ Annie…

(Come to think of it, maybe the gig is not up after all. As I understand it, former Spokane Police Internal Affairs official Jim Faddis is looking for a spoons player for his jugband, the Prairie Flyers. Some will recall that Faddis and the notorious officer Dan Torok used pseudonyms while blogging at Frank Sennett’s Spokesman-Review Hard 7 blog in the summer of 2007. Faddis, under the pseudonym of Kevin, along with Torok and others SPD plants defended the SPD at the height of public outrage over the Firehouse Sex Scandal, the 4th of July “near police riot”, the arrests of protestors Dan Treecraft and Rebecca Lamb, and the killings of Otto Zehm, Jerome Alford and Eagle Michael, as well as the non-fatal shootings of Shonto Pete and Sean Fitzpatrick, not to mention controversial incidents involving SPD officers John Elam, Jonothan Smith, David Freitag, and Jay Mehring. The killings of Otto Zehm and Jerome Alford involved Torok and Faddis’s department was involved in investigating most of the other incidents. The chief would no doubt be a fine addition to Faddis’s band. Come to think of it, if someone could teach Spokane county prosecutor Steve Tucker to play a washboard and city attorney Rocky Trepieddi to play the cowbell…

[See also Educating the Chief - It's Spokane, not Spokaloo]

No charges to be filed in firehouse sex caseNo photos, no criminal case, prosecutor saysBill Morlin and Thomas Clouse Staff writers June 8, 2006

Read moreFirefighter sex scandal

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker said today there’s insufficient evidence to charge a former Spokane firefighter for photographing and having sex with a 16-year-old girl earlier this year in a fire station.

“I’m not saying something wrong didn’t happen here,” Tucker told a news conference at the Spokane Police Department.

The firefighter, Daniel W. Ross, took sexually explicit photographs of the sexual encounter, but two police detectives instructed him to delete those photographs from his personal camera.

They later returned to get the camera. By then, Ross had switched memory cards and the photos couldn’t be retrieved, Tucker said.

At Thursday’s press conference, city prosecutor Howard Delaney said there was insufficient evidence to charge the two detectives, Sgt. Joe Peterson and Neil Gallion , with destruction of evidence. Delaney said he based that opinion on an independent review of the case by Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols.

“There was no intent to impair or obstruct the investigation,” Delaney said of the detectives’ decision to delete the photographs.

Deputy Chief Bruce Roberts said with the criminal case now concluded, an internal affairs investigation will begin that could lead to disciplinary actions against the two detectives.

Ross, 35, quit his $63,769-a-year firefighter job on March 8, a day before a departmental disciplinary hearing to discuss his sexual encounter with the girl in the furnace room of Fire Station No. 17.

Ross told investigators that he met the girl on the Internet and exchanged phone text messages before meeting face-to-face on Feb. 10, just hours after Ross' pregnant wife and young daughter had left the station after watching TV coverage of the Winter Olympics.

"They deleted it. They stopped it from being evidence," Tucker said of Peterson and Gallion. "It might be looking like the detectives were tampering with evidence. But if they didn't think a crime was committed, then how could they be tampering with evidence?

"What (Peterson and Gallion) were doing was preventing a crime from occurring, possibly. That's what I'm thinking right now," Tucker said.

Police Officers And AlcoholPosted by Arroyoribera on March 4, 2008While the Spokane Police Guild continues its deliberation over how much civilian oversight and subordination to the will of the public its officers are willing to accept, it is a good moment to look at the issue of police officers and alcohol. It is an increasingly well known fact that police officers are greatly affected by the stress of their jobs and that one consequence is rates of domestic violence greater than found in the general public. At the same time, the role excessive alcohol consumption in the issue of domestic violence is inadequately examined. More important, however, are the broader implications for public safety resulting from alcohol abuse by law enforcement personnel.

As previously addressed in this blog, a stag party held at the Spokane Police Guild club a number of years ago resulted in a precedent setting Supreme Court case dealing with public access to information. The Supreme Court decision quoted the Spokane City Attorney stating via affidavit that: “Release of this information, under the circumstances presented by this case, will cause substantial and irreparable damage to the Spokane Police Department’s ability to operate as a law enforcement agency, which is a vital governmental function.

And the “irreparable damage” to the Spokane Police Department has continued to this day.

Of course, the problem of alcohol abuse by law enforcement is not limited to just Spokane Police officers, of course. The Seattle P-I’s August 2007 special series documents in detail the preferential treatment of police officers throughout Washington state when they are stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The article refers to two Spokane County Sheriff’s officers “who were caught driving drunk, a sergeant who tipped his truck over was given a reprimand and a deputy who was simply pulled over on a freeway got an eight-day suspension.”

More recently the people of Spokane have been subject to two grave alcohol related incidents.

In the first, a controversial Spokane police officer — already under scrutiny for his ownership of a drug house less than two blocks from an elementary school — left a Spokane bar under the influence of alcohol and shot a man in the back of the head, endangering the residents of the Peaceful Valley neighborhood of Spokane. The officer, Jay Olsen, faces charges while the man he shot and accused of stealing his truck has been acquitted of the charges against him. To make matters clearer, the city of Spokane has walked away from Olsen and left him to defend himself.

Then came the matter of Jason Uberuaga, former Gonzaga University baseball star and decorated police officer, involved in both the Intermodal Center shooting and one of seven Spokane Police officers implicated in the yet unresolved homicide by cop of Otto Zehm. Uberuaga, a deputized federal drug task force member, was fired by the chief of police for “conduct unbecoming” of an officer. In essence, the demise of Uberuaga is the result of a drinking episode with other law enforcement personnel, allegations of rape against Uberuaga, and Uberuaga driving his undercover police vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Spokane Ombudsman Ordinance PostponedPosted by takayanagisan on June 23, 2010In the wee hours of the morning of June 22, 2010, Spokane City Council members decided they needed one more week to decide on an ordinance that will give independent investigative authority to the Office of Police Ombudsman. Council member Bob Apple introduced the original ordinance on May 10 and the matter was deferred until May 24 for a vote. After listening to over 20 members of the public, many who told of personal experiences of police brutality and racially biased policing, council members voted to table the vote for four more weeks until the June 21 meeting. Then, on June 14, an alternative ordinance was introduced by Council members Amber Waldref, Richard Rush and Jon Snyder that substantially weakened the independent investigative authority sought by the first ordinance but was written to conform to language that was negotiated with the Police Guild establishing the Office of Police Ombudsman in the existing ordinance. If that didn’t confuse the public enough to give up, council member Richard Rush and Jon Snyder brought forward yet a third version of the ordinance midway through the meeting on June 21.

All of the political manipulation did not deter the more than 80 people in attendance to urge passage of an ordinance that will give real and meaningful oversight over police misconduct. It didn’t matter that nobody really understood why it took three versions of an ordinance, a confidential memo from city legal, and sitting through five hours of the council agenda. By the time the ordinance came up for discussion it was well after 11:00 p.m. and 65 people remained. 28 people testified in favor of an ordinance that nobody seemed to know was before the council for a vote. Neither did the council, it seems. When it was all over, it was near 1:00 a.m. and the council voted 5-1 to postpone the vote until June 28. What will happen next? Stay tuned to the next exciting episode of the hottest new Spokane soap, “As the Ordinance Turns.”

For additional detailed information on the hearing and copies of versions of the rapidly changing proposed ordinance, please read “Groaning Toward Dawn” at the Center for Justice website.

Also the coverage of the hearing can be found at the Spokesman-Review website.

Video of the June 21, 2010 council meeting and the public testimony on it can be viewed on the City of Spokane’s website. Click on City Council Meetings and then click on City Council Meeting Part 2 June 21st, 2010.

Posted in Corruption, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Law, Spokane Police Guild, Testimonies, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Torok — a troubling choice as spokesperson on police interrogation of 12 year oldsPosted by Arroyoribera on March 6, 2008The March 6, 2008 edition of the Spokesman-Review ran a story on the interrogation by Spokane Police and Spokane School District 81 Resource Officers of two 12-year-old girls, KellyAnn Cameron and Taylor Wyatt, who signed away their Miranda rights despite indications that they did not understand the process nor the implication of their actions. At least one of the girls was unclear as to whether or not an “attorney” and a “lawyer” were one and the same. Nevertheless, the four law enforcement personnel interrogated the girls without presence of parents or other staff.

The story is very troubling, both in the details of the incident itself as well as in the person chosen as the spokesperson for the Spokane Police Department, Sgt. Dan Torok.

Sgt. Dan Torok is perhaps the most controversial police officer in Spokane, both for his involvement in three high profile incidents in the last few years, two of which resulted in deaths, and for his belligerent online comments under the name “Dan” at blogs run by the local Spokesman-Review newspaper. In the matter of the Alford death by Torok’s service weapon, the chief of police ordered him to issue a Garrity letter, so infrequently used that Spokane County Sheriff’s investigators were confused about its propriety, according to the reporting of the Spokesman-Review. The Garrity letter effectively shielded Torok from questioning by investigators.

(It is highly ironic that Torok was shielded by the Chief from questioning from investigators over the Alford killing yet Torok is commenting publicly in defense of the SPD regarding the interrogation of the two twelve year old girls after questionable application of a Miranda waiving statement).

The killing of Alford by Torok remains controversial. Beyond that, however, the death of Otto Zehm is even more controversial not to mention the fact that the case remains unresolved from the perspective of many. To this date it remains unclear whether or not the FBI has a review of this matter open or not. And a report on the Spokane Police by consultant Mike Worley paid for by the city of Spokane remains incomplete to this date. The status of the contract the city signed with Worley’s company to write that report also remains unclear.

Torok was one of seven Spokane Police Officers involved in the brutal March 18, 2006 attack on and subsequent death of Otto Zehm, an unarmed mentally ill man who was beaten, tasered, hog-tied, kicked, kneed, and suffocated, before dying March 20, 2006 in what the coroner called a “homicide”.  Almost exactly a year later, Torok shot a homeless man, Jerome Alford, in a little trafficked area of Spokane.

As quoted in the Spokesman-Review article, Sgt. Torok waxes eloquent in justifying the actions of the SPD and suggests that police must interrogate pre-teens and other youth at school because the presence of parents is an impediment to their interrogation techniques.

I can assure you that Miranda rights are not in the curriculum of School District 81 in the seventh grade or elementary school and I believe it is safe to say that they are not in the curriculum through 10th grade as well. One of these girls was not even sure what the word “attorney” meant without asking for clarification.

Is Sgt. Torok — who with his men did not have the judgment to understand that Otto Zehm was “carrying” a pop bottle as opposed to being “armed” with a pop bottle before brutalizing him — a credible spokesperson for the tax-payer financed Spokane Police Department on issues of police discretion and police interpretation of policy? That the Spokane Police Department would even consider Torok in such a role shows just how far they are from understanding the crisis of credibility from which they are suffering.

Sgt. Torok — whose fellow SPD detectives did not have the training, judgment and ethical uprightness to understand that the photos taken by a Spokane Fireman of a minor girl with whom improper sexual contact occurred constituted evidence of a possible crime and therefore should have been confiscated as legal evidence rather than deleted at the direction of the detectives as in fact occurred — is going to be defending the SPD before the press and public in matters of alleged misconduct? Ironically, Torok’s experience at the center of significant controversy caused by his own poor judgment and questionable actions in the field makes his selection by the SPD brass as a spokesman to the media logical in a certain perverted bureaucratic sense. Furthermore, Torok has been practicing his role defending the SPD’s indefensible and ongoing scandals for months on the blogs of the Spokesman-Review, blogs such as Hard 7 and others. In his comments on those blogs he has become a master of stonewalling, rationalization, and the dodge.

Given his role in killing mentally ill Otto Zehm and his shooting to death of homeless Jerome Alford, it is extremely dangerous and troubling to see Torok resort on multiple occasions to calling members of the Spokane community participating in those blogs ‘mentally ill‘ when their comments simply seek to inform or when they express the disdain and disgust felt in many sectors of the community towards SPD misconduct, corruption, and lack of accountability.

In fact, prominent members of the city government and the professional community should be vocally outraged and up in arms that Torok is being allowed to play this role of public spokesman, given his direct role in the murder of Zehm and the killing of Jerome Alford, not to the mention the SPD’s severely botched “intervention” in the matter of Josh Levy who jumped to his death from the Monroe Street bridge following 18 hours of being surrounded and isolated by Spokane Police and after they lied to him and botched a sneak taser attack on him.

This is a police department with ZERO credibility in dealing with “other” (the term used by Dr. John “Gus” Olson, Spokane community activist and advocate for the disadvantaged, to describe those in Spokane who are rejected for being different, looked upon with disdain for being poor, excluded for being “other”, left to rot by a society incapable of real compassion). Recall Carmen Jacoby, who testified to the Chief of Police in the public forum at City Hall on September 19, 2007. Jacoby told of the Spokane policeman who told her that in relation to homeless people sleeping in the green space near a freeway on ramp, “I have a job to do…to get these shit bags out of this park” and then threatened to put her in the bag of his squad car if she persisted in demanding his name and badge number.

Having shown incompetence which endangers public safety and a shocking level of disdain for the poor, homeless, mentally ill, and non-white, does the Spokane Police Department now move on to 12-year-old girls? Apparently so.

The manner in which a police department deals with the most vulnerable among us is highly indicative of their attitude towards the people they pretend to “protect”. How the SPD handles pre-teen girls provides a window into the core attitudes of the Department. Many members of our community, like these girls, are easily exploited by a police department without adequate procedural training, supervision, and independent oversight.

The S-R article contains links to both the pertinent R.C.W. (Washington state Revised Code of Washington, i.e., the law in Washington state) and the OLR Research Report on the Miranda rights of children.

The study states: “In determining whether a juvenile effectively waived his Miranda rights, courts consider whether the juvenile had the capacity to understand the warnings given to him, the nature of his constitutional right to remain silent, and the consequences of waiving those rights.”

The parents of the two 12-year-old girls in this case have appropriately and effectively questioned whether in this case these young girls had in fact “the capacity to understand” the Miranda warnings given to them, their constitutional rights, and “the consequences of waiving those rights”, prior to the police interrogation.

This is an area of great controversy and a fundamental issue of individual rights and protections in our nation. While some states set higher ages for children to be able to waive their Miranda rights, other states require the presence of parents. Some states, including Washington, use a “totality of circumstances” test. It is heartening to see that the ACLU is involved.

I, for one, do not trust the judgment of SPD officers in the field nor their integrity in reporting the of facts. In the case of the interrogation of these two pre-teen girls by SPD officers, that lack of integrity rises to such a level that a court would have difficulty establishing that these very young, very vulnerable girls clearly understood the waiving of their right within the “totality” of circumstances. With two Spokane Police officers and two District 81 resource officers in the room, and with at least one of these girls not certain if an attorney and a lawyer are the same thing, clearly there was an intimidation/coercion factor.

I would certainly be interested in the outcome of the internal affairs complaint filed by these parents. Sgt. Jim Faddis used to be an internal affairs officer so he could help the Spokane people and media out on that one. Sgt. Faddis was asked by me on the S-R’s Hard 7 blog (where he blogs under the names “Jim F” and “Kevin”) to clarify the exact procedure for making an internal affairs complaint in Spokane. Not surprisingly, Faddis has failed to respond to that request.

It would also be nice to get more comment from Spokane School District 81 on the parents’ request for a change in the policy regarding police interrogation of children at school. I for one would strongly support changes in the policy as well as a public education effort to educate Spokane area youth on their rights in dealing with the police.

Posted in Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Solutions, Spokane LE Personalities, Spokane Police Guild, Spokane taser, Testimonies, Torok, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions | 2 Comments »

Police Officers And AlcoholPosted by Arroyoribera on March 4, 2008While the Spokane Police Guild continues its deliberation over how much civilian oversight and subordination to the will of the public its officers are willing to accept, it is a good moment to look at the issue of police officers and alcohol. It is an increasingly well known fact that police officers are greatly affected by the stress of their jobs and that one consequence is rates of domestic violence greater than found in the general public. At the same time, the role excessive alcohol consumption in the issue of domestic violence is inadequately examined. More important, however, are the broader implications for public safety resulting from alcohol abuse by law enforcement personnel.

As previously addressed in this blog, a stag party held at the Spokane Police Guild club a number of years ago resulted in a precedent setting Supreme Court case dealing with public access to information. The Supreme Court decision quoted the Spokane City Attorney stating via affidavit that: “Release of this information, under the circumstances presented by this case, will cause substantial and irreparable damage to the Spokane Police Department’s ability to operate as a law enforcement agency, which is a vital governmental function.

And the “irreparable damage” to the Spokane Police Department has continued to this day.

Of course, the problem of alcohol abuse by law enforcement is not limited to just Spokane Police officers, of course. The Seattle P-I’s August 2007 special series documents in detail the preferential treatment of police officers throughout Washington state when they are stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The article refers to two Spokane County Sheriff’s officers “who were caught driving drunk, a sergeant who tipped his truck over was given a reprimand and a deputy who was simply pulled over on a freeway got an eight-day suspension.”

More recently the people of Spokane have been subject to two grave alcohol related incidents.

In the first, a controversial Spokane police officer — already under scrutiny for his ownership of a drug house less than two blocks from an elementary school — left a Spokane bar under the influence of alcohol and shot a man in the back of the head, endangering the residents of the Peaceful Valley neighborhood of Spokane. The officer, Jay Olsen, faces charges while the man he shot and accused of stealing his truck has been acquitted of the charges against him. To make matters clearer, the city of Spokane has walked away from Olsen and left him to defend himself.

Then came the matter of Jason Uberuaga, former Gonzaga University baseball star and decorated police officer, involved in both the Intermodal Center shooting and one of seven Spokane Police officers implicated in the yet unresolved homicide by cop of Otto Zehm. Uberuaga, a deputized federal drug task force member, was fired by the chief of police for “conduct unbecoming” of an officer. In essence, the demise of Uberuaga is the result of a drinking episode with other law enforcement personnel, allegations of rape against Uberuaga, and Uberuaga driving his undercover police vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Spokane Police Guild to Chief & Public: We’ll investigate ourselvesPosted by Arroyoribera on August 18, 2007Chief Kirkpatrick and Sheriff Knezovich defied the Spokane Police Guild earlier this year by calling for an end to the absurd and un-American practice of the Spokane Police Department investigating its own alleged crimes and misconduct. Kirkpatrick and Knezovich’s intentions are vehemently opposed by the Guild, of course.

Composed of 270 members who have been involved in repeated homicides, amateurish pranks, brutal attacks on citizens, civil rights violations, and corrupt practices, the Guild is on the defensive and taking the offensive. Per the Spokesman-Review, Guild Vice President Jeff Harvey recently stated, “This decision is taking work away from the police department.” Harvey continued, “We want the best investigators to do the job. We want the best outcome for both the officer and the public.”

Earth to Spokane Police Guild: “You work for us, the citizens who pay your salary, and we want the best non-Spokane Police Department investigator determining whether or not our dead fellow citizens were murdered by cops or whether or not the cops were actually protecting us in killing alleged criminals.” Comprende?

Even under Kirkpatrick and Knezovich’s plan, there are significant problems. Kirkpatrick has stated that while the SPD would not be the lead agency in investigating itself, the SPD would be part of the investigative team and the Guild and the city would agree on the investigators who would be involved.

Let’s see, Chief, does mean that if I am accused of a crime I can chose the investigators and perhaps even suggest that my mother be part of the investigative team? To quote Officer Harvey, not only do I want but I am entitled to “the best investigator to do the job” and want the “best outcome” for both myself and in terms of our increasingly perverted sense of truth and justice.

************************Spokane union balks at outside investigations of officer-involved shootings

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SPOKANE, Wash. — The union representing Spokane police officers says a rule requiring an outside agency to investigate officer-involved shootings is an unfair labor practice.

After a series of on- and off-duty shootings by officers, Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich last year agreed to the “fatal incident protocol” that requires investigations led by another law enforcement agency.

“This decision is taking work away from the police department,” Spokane Police Guild Vice President Jeff Harvey told The Spokesman-Review in an article published Thursday. “We want the best investigators to do the job. We want the best outcome for both the officer and the public.”

The guild, which represents about 270 police department employees, filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the city.

The protocol was changed after high-profile incidents involving both agencies. It replaced a system in which city detectives would take the lead role in the investigation when a Spokane police officer was involved in a shooting, with the sheriff’s office assisting.

Kirkpatrick and Knezovich said transferring investigations to the other agency shows transparency and avoids potential conflicts of interest and accusations of an agency unfairly protecting its own officers.

“We will not investigate our own,” Kirkpatrick said Wednesday. “I’ve always taken the position that if an officer is involved in a critical incident that we would not investigate our own.”

The protocol requiring independent investigations is routinely used by other law enforcement agencies, she said.

The police union is arguing that the change should have been negotiated before going into effect and is asking that the protocol be suspended during negotiations.

Kirkpatrick said she won’t budge unless a judge forces the issue.

The police chief said the complaint, filed in April while a new labor contract was being negotiated, forces both sides to try to find a resolution.

It comes in the wake of discussions about independent oversight of the department.

Kirkpatrick said her aim is to have critical incidents investigated by a team of detectives from Spokane police, the sheriff’s office and possibly the Washington State Patrol. The agency being investigated wouldn’t take the lead on the case, but investigators would be agreed upon by the guild and the city, she said.

Harvey said he is concerned that an officer’s career can be destroyed by a sloppy investigation.

“Why would I want someone who has never had the experience of investigating a shooting to come in and take the lead?” he asked.

Three incidents this year involving Spokane police officers “overtaxed the sheriff’s office,” Harvey said.

Police guild approves contract 4-year deal would give raises above inflationJonathan Brunt
Staff writer
August 14, 2007

The Spokane Police Guild, which has worked 19 months without a contract, has overwhelmingly approved a four-year deal with pay increases above inflation.

The guild voted 180 to 30 in favor of the contract late last week, Spokane's Chief Operating Officer John Pilcher confirmed Monday.

"It was a challenging negotiation," Pilcher said. "It took a lot of back-and-forth and, I think, a lot of give-and-take."

Attempts made to reach guild officials late Monday afternoon and evening were unsuccessful.


If the Spokane City Council signs off on the deal, salaries will increase retroactively, dating to the beginning of 2006. Union members would get checks for the missed pay, reflecting raises that would have occurred every six months: 2.7 percent in January 2006, 1 percent in July 2006, 4 percent in January 2007 and 1 percent last month.

Next year and in 2009, pay would increase by the same rate as inflation in January and by 1 percent in July. The increases based on inflation could not be lower than 2 percent or higher than 4 percent.

Chief Financial Officer Gavin Cooley said back payments will cost the city about $1.25 million, which the city has saved in anticipation of a deal. An analysis showing how much the changes would cost taxpayers was unavailable Monday.

The contract also includes changes in medical benefits.

Under their old contract, guild members paid no part of their medical premiums and 10 percent of their dependents' costs. The new deal would require members to pay 6 percent of premiums for themselves and dependents.

Despite lowering the price for those paying for dependent care, the city expects to more than make up those costs by requiring members to pay a portion of their own premiums, Mayor Dennis Hession said.

"We have everybody sharing in that expense," he said.

Co-pays for prescriptions would increase from $5 to $10 for generic drugs and from $8 to $20 or $30 for brand-name drugs, depending on the medical plan members choose.

The new deal also would increase the number of hours of unused sick leave officers would be compensated for upon their retirements, Pilcher said. If approved, guild members would be able to collect 40 percent of their pay for up to 960 hours.

The guild also agreed to begin negotiations for a new police oversight system. In April, Hession announced his support to create an independent ombudsman to examine police conduct. Hession's opponents in the mayoral election also support an oversight system.

In May, the guild gave Hession a vote of no confidence. Recently it joined with two other city unions to advertise support for mayoral hopefuls City Councilman Al French and Councilwoman Mary Verner in their bids to unseat Hession.

Hession has attributed union actions against him to his contract negotiations.



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