UPDATE: Make that “INDEPENDENT” Instead of “INDEPENTENT”…per the spelling Nazi! 🙂
Rachel Alexander of the Spokesman Review did a good recap of another one of those public meetings regarding Police Oversight.
For those that don’t remember this most recent public meeting regarding Police Oversight is another in a long series of public meetings seeking public input dating back to the time prior to the voters overwhelmingly approving a change to the City Charter (2012) which DID come close to establishing Independent Police Oversight.
What happened?… one might ask. The truth is Spokane’s elected leaders at the time including Mayor Condon and the City Council refused to fight the “Good Fight” for the Citizens they represent and entered into a labor contract with the Spokane Police Guild which effectively makes the OPO, and OPOC an expensive paper tiger.
I had to laugh at this comment Rachel reported in her story:
“Logue stopped short of suggesting specific changes to the ordinance but said he’d like the office to serve as a national model for civilian police oversight.”
Had Mr. Logue been around Spokane during the time the battle over Police Oversight was taking place perhaps he would have known that the office he now holds IS “a national model for civilian oversight.”.
The history of the battle Spokane lost is fairly well documented, but for some reason people forget.
How do Citizens know the OPO and OPOC are a national model for civilian oversight?
Because over and over again Mayor Condon and Frank Straub told the Citizens of Spokane that the contract with the Guild established a regional and national model for Police oversight. Not only that it was a big part of Mayor Condon’s “Immediate Police Action Plan”.
According to Mayor Condon not only was the contract he and Straub pushed through for the OPO and OPOC a regional and national model but it also “delivers to the community unprecedented independent oversight of its police department,”.
“This agreement includes the elements requested by the City Council and the public, and delivers to the community unprecedented independent oversight of its police department,” Condon said.
And of course our illustrious City council at the time gave up the battle they were elected to fight, and basically said it was the best they could do.
“On January 2nd, I sent a letter to Mayor Condon, on behalf of a majority of the City Council, asking that he reopen negotiations with the Police Guild to include independent investigation capabilities for our police ombudsman that align with the City Charter,” said City Council President Ben Stuckart. “I believe this new tentative agreement satisfies our request and takes a step forward for our community. I appreciate the Police Guild and the administration for getting this done.”
Council President Ben Stuckart, who successfully pushed back against the mayor’s first bite at the apple and helped advance the proposal significantly, has taken heat, along with other council liberals, from the most passionate proponents of reform.
But he says he believes this is not only a good plan in the abstract, but one that satisfies Proposition 1 and the city charter’s call for independence. He also sees it as a victory of the legislative process and the separation of powers, and the civics nerd in me agrees.
“This isn’t a matter of me saying, ‘This is as good as we can get,’ ” Stuckart said. “This is me saying, ‘This is good for the citizens.’
“This should’ve been a time to take a victory lap,” he said. “Together, the citizens and the council forced the mayor to get it done, and it’s going to be a really good thing for the community.”
Well guess what folks…as predicted over and over…nothing could be further from the truth”
ENTER BREEAN BEGGS!
Finally, someone with some background in dealing with Cops is in a position to ATTEMPT to establish some type of legitimate oversight. Beggs hopefully won’t be the pushover that other members of the City Council have been when it comes to police oversight. What Beggs does know that others in the past have not been willing to accept is that Cops lie. He also should have a clue about, as other members of the City Council are beginning to realize is that the dog and pony shows put on by SPD Administrators before the public and during Public Safety Committee Meetings are in most cases just that…dog and pony shows.
Begg’s ideas are sound, I might not agree with all of them, but they are sound and I believe his heart is in the game.
The game by the way, is the uphill struggle he will have with the Police Guild and the Condon Administration in trying to establish legitimate Police Oversight. The problems he will have with the Guild are obvious, but the biggest hurdle he will face is the Condon Administration as any Mayor with political aspirations knows full well that when all of the bad deals he has made will come back to haunt him when he seeks election to another office…and this bad deal is among his worst.
ENTER BART LOGUE!
Logue may make a good Ombudsman IF he is able to completely get away from what he learned during 25 years in the Marine Corps. I ain’t even close to being the same, there is no UCMJ, and Marines don’t have a Union.
“I fight with the police department on an almost daily basis to gain some ground, and I do it within the confines of the ordinance that we have,” he said.
Don’t talk about it…DOCUMENT IT…POST IT ON YOUR WEBSITE…AND LET THE PUBLIC KNOW WHAT EVERY “FIGHT” INVOLVES!!!
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!