A CONVERSATION WITH INTERIM CHIEF MEIDL AND MAJOR JUSTIN LUNDGREN…PART THREE!!!

(Continued from Part Two published April 4, 2016)

 

SPD STAFFING LEVEL AND THE COPS/DOJ REPORT

One of the things Interim Chief Meidl brought up in our Q & A was his position that SPD is understaffed. The minute he made that statement, my response was, “Wait a second you are fully staffed at 300 and that is the highest staffing level SPD has ever had.”.

To add perspective, for folks that don’t know, there are now two fairly distinct factions within SPD. One faction believes that Straub’s various “Programs and Models” were for the most part “failures” resulting in “inefficient resource allocation”, “duplication of efforts”, “wasted time”, and “unnecessary overtime”.

Lt Captains re Straub

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/b22f5fb9-87e6-4db2-a1ce-f0d0f35a5467

 

The other faction I’m told consists of those individuals who want to continue the Mayor’s and Straub’s failed programs regardless of whether or not they are good for SPD or the City of Spokane. Meidl’s comment about being understaffed confirmed for me what faction he belongs to, along with Dobrow and Schwering. Many believe, myself included, that “Furniture-gate” was a result of the chasm that exists at SPD.

 

 

Meidl’s comment about an understaffed SPD lead to a discussion of Recommendation 10.5 made by COPS/DOJ.

Finding 10.5

The folks that follow me know that I have been harping on getting a staffing analysis done for years. Below is a link to some of my stories:

https://examplepro.me/2015/10/24/the-headline-reads-spokane-police-department-fully-staffed-what-does-that-mean-to-us/

https://examplepro.me/2015/10/27/are-you-being-served/

https://examplepro.me/2015/11/09/allow-me-to-repeat-this-because-it-is-important/

 

The Q & A revealed some interesting facts regarding Recommendation 10.5. SPD apparently did finally put out a RFP and have chosen a company to do the “Staffing Analysis”. But I have also learned that not all of the City Council, if any, are aware of this. What I thought was interesting was that Justin somewhat reluctantly told us that one of the consulting groups that responded to the RFP was none other than the Matrix Group who did a similar Staffing Analysis of SPD back in 2007. The Analysis done by Matrix was very critical of SPD. I might add that I have on many, many occasions referred to the Matrix Study. So it will be interesting to see what the new consultant will come up with.

Lundgren stated that the Staffing Analysis will take approximately six months to complete. Supposedly we will have a new Chief of Police by that time…so it could become interesting.

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/5368b37a-7519-4cfb-9dfc-dfcafd0db94c

 

The discussion regarding the Staffing Analysis allowed me to segue into areas I think are important from a Citizen’s standpoint. CompStat and “Intelligence Based Policing” came up of course. Most folks know my position on the automated pin map, and the sales job accompanying it. But according to both Meidl and Lundgren SPD is at least considering bringing back the Accountability Information Management System, which we Citizens purchased, and Straub did away with. I feel that AIM was a far better tool for assessing how SPD is doing than CompStat ever was, because of the overall detail it provides. There are all kinds of accountability software available which can be tweaked to meet any Department’s needs.

 

Carly Cortright used to be responsible for the AIM Product and its dissemination to the Public. We all know PART of the Carly Cortright story and why she was transferred out of SPD. That by the way, was a big loss to SPD and just the tip of the iceberg regarding the “DFWF” (You can figure out what DFWF means.) issue.

I don’t know how many times I have been over this, but maybe now the new Public Safety Committee will finally take notice, so I’ll repeat some of it.

 

The links below are a copy of the last publicly available AIM data and the press release:

https://my.spokanecity.org/police/news/2009/10/28/spds-accountability-information-report-now-available-online/

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/0fcced43-3f2a-4a64-9817-fbf0cda00fec

 

 

Given all the recent news stories about property crimes, auto theft, and SPD not investigating property crimes, there are a few things I would like to point out from the 2012 AIM Data, and also mention that even though we don’t have any current data to support it, sources indicate not much has changed.

 

Starting with the Targeted Crimes Unit, which by the way Rachel learned from Meidl is responsible for investigating the art stolen in this story she wrote.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/mar/28/painting-stolen-off-wall-from-downtown-spokane-bar/

TCU

 

I don’t know what the staffing level was for the SPD TCU in 2012 or today, but I do know that in June of 2015, it was (7) Cops. As you can see from the image above in 2012 for the whole year TCU had an incoming “Case Flow” of (479) cases. Of those (479) cases only (109) were assigned for investigation. If the unit in 2012 consisted of just (4) Cops the monthly case load per Cop would have been (2.25) cases per month. If that had been my caseload back in the day I would have really been bored.

PC F and DV

 

When you look at the Property Crimes, Fraud, and DV Unit you see a 2012 Case Flow of (700) cases, with only (313) being assigned for investigation. I should first point out that these three Units should have been separated to get an accurate Case Management Analysis…but they weren’t so we have to go with what we have. I don’t know exactly what the staffing level was for the three units in 2012 but I believe it was around (7) Cops total, which works out to a monthly caseload of (4) cases per month.

You might wonder why I went through the exercise above again…well it has to do with a response by Craig Meidl to a question I asked about the low caseload at SPD. Meidl told me that the reason the caseloads were so low is because it is a lot harder to investigate property crimes today than it was when I was a Cop because investigators had to spend more time searching data from places like Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, and Pawn Records. I thought that was kind of strange in that I would think that all the social media, and data bases would actually make it an easier “gumshoe”, or maybe even no shoe at all.

 

I also wanted to point out what the Matrix Report stated, and for those that don’t care to read the entire Matrix Report, here is what it said about Property Crimes Caseloads.

Matrix PC Caseload

 

I don’t know exactly what Case Management System SPD utilizes today but I do know that back in the day SPD sent some of us all over the place to develop a Case Management System that a lot of other Departments copied. It is hard to tell from the information available where SPD’s “Choke Point” is, but it looks like it is at the Unit Supervisory Level, which in my view isn’t good for a number of reasons. A “Choke Point” by the way, is the point at which a Department’s entire Report/Case Flow is “Choked” to a manageable number of cases to be assigned for follow-up. Generally, all cases with a “Solvability Factor” had to be assigned by Supervisors back in the day, if they didn’t they had a lot of explaining to do.

 

Another thing the AIM Data provided the Public was at least some idea of how much money, cars, and guns SPD was seizing.

SIU Siezed

One other thing I wanted to show you, is a “Product” Carly Cortright provide to me when I was doing a volunteer thing with “The Retention Project”. The data she gave me was derived from her AIM Database. You can probably figure out for yourself why I wanted the data and what I did with it. It would be nice to see more “Products” like this from SPD.

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/a94e3f54-81c9-4df8-92dd-96b08ae707da

 

I hope this was informative and some of the things I have mentioned in here should be covered by the folks doing the Staffing Analysis, which should also include the Patrol Division, as well as all the other Divisions at SPD, however many that is now.

 

More to come!

 

I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!

 

A CONVERSATION WITH INTERIM CHIEF MEIDL AND MAJOR JUSTIN LUNDGREN…PART TWO!!!

(Continued from Part One published April 3, 2016)

 

SPD’S CRIMINAL INTELLIGENCE UNIT

 

BACKGROUND:

The first Spokane Police Department “Intelligence Unit” was established in 1973 prior to EXPO 74 in anticipation of the influx of Organized Crime Activity in Spokane as a result of the upcoming World’s Fair. The Intelligence Unit was to be setup in what was then the Administrative Vice Intelligence and Narcotics Unit. The ADVIN Unit reported directly to the Chief of Police which was standard throughout the US because of the high possibility of corruption in areas of Intelligence, Vice, and Narcotics. That ADVIN Unit was not without problems and there were several media stories regarding those problems which included an undercover Drug Cop getting hooked on crack, the Unit Commander becoming involved with a former Mafia Associate in business dealings, and the case that resulted in the Gypsy Curse, to name a few.

The term “Intelligence Unit” back then was a bit of a misnomer in that there really wasn’t a “Unit” per say. The staffing level was one Detective who had just passed the Detective’s exam and was chosen out of several other candidates to set up and run the “Unit”. Many people would also probably suggest that because of the Detective chosen the term “Intelligence” was also a misnomer. Yes, as you might have guessed…it was me. SPD sent me all over the place for training and to work with other “Intelligence Units” so I could setup SPD’s. Part of my duties was to establish strict policy regarding the handling of Intelligence Information as many other Intelligence Units throughout the US had been caught gathering and maintaining illegal intelligence files. Close to home was Seattle PD and here are a couple of old media reports that will give you some idea of what was going on in some departments.

 

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19790116&id=0fJVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BuIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5615,4251566&hl=en

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=860&dat=19780816&id=zIRUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=MI8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=5245,2843283&hl=en

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19800210&id=ngokAAAAIBAJ&sjid=IQgEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3562,5201924&hl=en

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=860&dat=19740418&id=u39UAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FY8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7172,1094644&hl=en

 

 

In 1978, I transferred out of the ADVIN/Intelligence Unit to become a Homicide Detective something I always wanted. In the mid-80s my Division Captain, a good guy, and one of those former Marine types, sent me back into the ADVIN to try and clean up one of the messes that had developed there that assignment also included auditing the Intel Files. That Captain is also one of the retired SPD cops that reads my stories and knows what is currently going on at SPD. So he will probably get a kick out of this one. I still haven’t had an opportunity to give him crap about some of the rotten jobs he stuck me with…so consider it done Captain! 🙂  Of course he wasn’t the only Captain to assign me rotten jobs…another retired SPD Captain (Army Korean War Vet) who reads my stories did as well.

During my Post-SPD career I have had several cases involving Intelligence Information and Files at both the Federal and State level, so I have had to keep current on the issue.

You might wonder what all of this “Background” has to do with our Q & A with Meidl and Lundgren…it has to do with my BS Meter, and what may or may not set it off.

 

I should also note that a long time prior to the Q & A I recommended to some City Council Members that they consider passing a City Ordinance similar to the one Seattle passed after Seattle’s Intelligence Unit was exposed. The recommendation was made because of some information I had received about local law enforcement’s collection and retention of Intelligence Information. I never heard back but maybe when they read this story they will give it more thought.

 

THE Q & A AND CIU:

During the Q & A I asked Interim Chief Meidl the staffing level of SPD’s Criminal Intelligence Unit. It was a tough question for him and he didn’t seem to know for sure, Justin Lundgren helped him out to an extent and we ended up with that SPD’s CIU now consists of one Supervisor who also Supervises the Narcotics Unit and one Detective who is assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. When I asked where SPD maintains their Intelligence Files, Lundgren joked as to why I wanted to know and whether or not I was planning on burglarizing SPD. My joking response was, that I didn’t need to because I had enough bugs and wiretaps going, Meidl jokingly responded “We found them all!”. As you can see it was a pretty congenial Q & A. I then asked if the single CIU position was federally funded and was told that it isn’t.

 

I asked if either of them knew whether or not SPD CIU maintained automated and hard copy files of Intel Files and who audited those files. Lundgren said that IA used to audit the Intelligence files but they hadn’t done it in years, and neither Meidl or Lundgren knew if anyone is auditing today, although Meidl did say that because the SPD Cop is assigned to the Federal Joint Terrorism Task Force the files are the Fed’s Files and not SPD’s. Those answers didn’t work too well for me so I asked if they were aware that they had an agreement with the County to give all of SPD’s automated files to the Spokane County Sherriff, I got a strange look from both and they indicated they didn’t know…but I sure did.

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/914660bb-6e83-4d35-b681-43294c7f93d3

 

Needless to say the Ole BS Meter started to tick, but Meidl explained his not knowing by using the drinking through a firehose analogy. In other words, he has been inundated with a whole bunch of stuff in his new job as Interim Chief of Police, which could very well be true, but it is something that needs addressed…and soon.

 

What was troubling to me, because of some of the answers given by Meidl and Lundgren, was that I have in my possession of a copy of this SPD document which was prepared on June 25th, 2015 showing how SPD CIU was staffed on that date.

CIU Staffing

 

The staffing document shown above is quite scary to me for a number of reasons, I won’t get into all of them but here are a few and perhaps you can figure out why I find it scary.

1) SPD Cop, James Collins, is shown as assigned to the JTTF but his contact information is listed as Mark Sterk’s from Spokane Public Schools…the only thing I can say at this point is…” Wow!”.

 

2) Mark Dean, from the US Border Patrol is listed as a part of SPD’s CIU…remember the all the hoopla about the relationship between SPD and the Border Patrol?

 

3) SPD Cop, Jeff Harvey, who apparently works “(Pawns)” is/was in SPD’s CIU…kind of interesting to me.

 

4) SPD Cop, Harlan Harden, who apparently works “(Human Trafficking)” is/was in SPD’s CIU…could be dangerous depending upon what intel is collected and retained.

 

Even more interesting, to me anyway, is the CIU Analytical Section, which is/was made up of Craig Brenden who is a former SPD Cop, and was at one time working for the City as a Code Enforcement Officer, Thomas Wickesser from the National Guard (I think he is paid by the Guard…but I’m not sure), and SPD Sr Crime and Intelligence Analyst Tom Michaud.

 

Obviously if SPD’s CIU has an analytical section there must be data and reports to analyze…the question is what are they and do they conform to LEIU Standards and all the Federal Stuff.

 

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/f028625f-bbff-4af6-8cda-15bb55513087

http://www.leiu-homepage.org/about

https://www.iir.com/28CFR_Program/28CFR_FAQ

https://www.iir.com/28CFR_Program/28CFR_Resources/Executive_Order/

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/7b06323b-0043-4b37-961f-de7f0aecb0e6

 

 

As fate would have it, although I had a copy of SPD’s CIU Staffing Document in my brief case, and was going to show it to Meidl and Lundgren, then ask a number of questions I had…TIME RAN OUT and I wasn’t able to. From the answers I did receive from Meidl and Lundgren regarding auditing of SPD Intel Files it seems, among other things, SPD is no longer a member of LEIU.

 

If Interim Chief Meidl remains true to his word I will have another opportunity for a Q & A where I will be able to ask more questions, if not, as some are speculating, then other people had better get off their butts.

 

One thing that did happen during the CIU discussion was when I remarked that Intel Files were a matter of public record. Justin looked at me kind of funny and said “Intelligence Files”, I knew what he was thinking, the Washington State Public Records Act Exempts Intelligence Files, but as is true for any record even though it might take a court action. I think when Justin reads this story he will know where I was coming from.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/08/nyregion/new-york-to-appoint-monitor-to-review-polices-counterterrorism-activity.html?_r=0

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/639c450ac2144dd39b849e4282e824d1/nyc-settles-lawsuits-over-muslim-surveillance-police

http://digital.lib.washington.edu/findingaids/view?docId=AmericanCivilLibertiesUnionofWashington1177.xml

http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1206&issue_id=62007

 

I still haven’t received a response from some folks yet, maybe today since it is a working day. If and when I get a response I will have more.

 

As a lead in to my next story we got some real interesting info regarding this COPS/DOJ Recommendation and where it stands today.

 

Finding 10.5

 

I thought the information was interesting anyway. I know Rachel took note of some of it and will probably update the SR website when she gets a chance, but my approach might be a little different so stay tuned.

 

I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A CONVERSATION WITH INTERIM CHIEF MEIDL AND MAJOR JUSTIN LUNDGREN…PART ONE!!!

As I mentioned before I was hoping to get this story out on Friday but was waiting for some folks to respond, they haven’t, so I’m forced to break this story into parts. I know there are folks interested in SPD’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, so hopefully I can get to it in PART TWO.

 

Thursday March 31st, shortly after 1 PM this Reporter along with Rachel Alexander (I apologize for any previous misspellings of Rachel’s first name) from the Spokesman Review, and Mitch Ryals from the PNW Inlander had an opportunity to talk with and ask questions of Meidl and Lundgren.

I want to thank both Craig Meidl and Justin Lundgren for providing us the opportunity, I think it was healthy and a step in the right direction as far as transparency is concerned, and I was able to double and triple confirm many things, directly from them which I already knew, however because our time was limited I wasn’t able to get into some things I wanted to cover but we covered some interesting areas, and one of those areas appeared in Spokesman Review the same day, so I will start with it.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/mar/31/city-hall-investigation-into-handling-of-police-ch/

 

STRAUB/COTTON  

(Please keep in mind when you read this story that I am maintaining my holdbacks at this point)

You might recall that the issue of the Mayor being asked to invoke Garrity Statements was first reported right here at Buffalo Brian Breen. It took the Spokesman Review a long time to finally report it but at least they did.

 

https://examplepro.me/2016/03/12/now-what-will-the-mayor-do/

https://examplepro.me/2016/03/16/will-he-or-will-he-not/

https://examplepro.me/2016/03/29/mayor-condon-refuses-to-make-his-people-talk/

https://examplepro.me/2016/03/18/the-inlander-gets-it-the-spokesman-review-doesnt/

 

My understanding is we will be hearing from the City Council regarding this issue in the near future, possibly in a press conference.

During our Q & A with Meidl and Lundgren we learned from them, as the SR story states, that they were interviewed by Kris Cappel and according to Meidl and Lundgren those interviews were voluntary and not compelled. I found that interesting in that my information is, and apparently the SR received the same information, that there were some compelled statements taken from others prior to a change, and that change from compelled to voluntary came from City Hall.

You may recall that Interim Chief Rick Dobrow “retired” in early February 2016, and was replaced by long time Condon associate, big campaign contributor, and go to guy, Jim McDevitt. 

http://www.inlander.com/Bloglander/archives/2016/02/05/interim-police-chief-rick-dobrow-to-retire-former-us-attorney-to-take-over

 

Dobrow of course is a key witness in the Cotton/Straub case. Dobrow made public statements regarding what he described as his “shoulder to shoulder” working relationship with Straub so his testimony is obviously critical and it will be interesting to see if in fact Dobrow was interviewed and whether or not he voluntarily cooperated or was compelled. Dobrow’s retirement date was March 1st, 2016 so obviously in order to compel his testimony the investigator had to get to him prior to March 1st, and only Mayor Condon could have compelled his testimony during that time frame.

 

Both Meidl and Lundgren made it clear they didn’t want to discuss the Cotton/Straub case, but we were able to establish some facts regarding the Cotton/Straub Investigation. During our interview Meidl, after a bit of congenial prodding, he said that in his current position he does have the authority to compel statements from any SPD Employee, he did however make it quite clear that he would not do that unless he was directed to do so by City Hall. We also discussed the fact that Jim McDevitt does not have the authority to compel statements because he does not have disciplinary authority.

Another thing we specifically established during the interview, and is widely known throughout SPD, is that Frank Straub is a lousy driver (we even joked about it), and on more than one occasion Straub did damage to his assigned police unit. The most recent damage discovered when two of Schwering’s people had to retrieve the City Vehicle when Straub was fired. This was in September of 2015, and my information is that when the vehicle was retrieved damage was noted that had been spray painted over to hide it, and the damage had to be repaired. We also established that Interim Chief Dobrow did at least one of the vehicle damage reports.

Yes, I know…you are saying to yourself… “What the hell does Straub’s lousy driving have to do with the Cotton/Straub case?” I’m sure that Rachel and Mitch were wondering the same thing. The fact is I couldn’t help myself…I think it must now be ingrained and I can’t get it out of my system.

The Cotton/Straub case if it gets to court, which I seriously doubt, will boil down to a question of “veracity” …who has the most? So if I were back in the saddle, so to speak, this is one of the many things I would be looking at regardless of who I was working for. If you have been following my Stories, you probably would have anticipated that with an opportunity like the Q & A we had… this “confused Jeremiah” would have found a way to get it in. 

Look at it this way, as Nick Deshais points out in his story regarding David McCabe’s statements to him; “He said that he and many other members don’t have much faith in the investigation, considering how a previous complaint from the association against Cotton was dismissed.” One of the complaints against Cotton that was dismissed by HR was this one:

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/c048acd2-a157-40d5-b734-2d03c4572563

 

When you read the IA Complaint above, you might notice that part of the complaint was that Monique Cotton made a false police report to “Brady Cop” Lydia Taylor regarding damage to her City Assigned Vehicle, so what happened to all of the cases involving Straub’s damaging City vehicles?

Some of you might still think I’m a “confused Jeremiah” but my guess is that both Mary Schultz, and Bob Dunn would disagree with you, or at least to some extent…but who knows for sure.

 

FURNITURE-GATE!

This was another one of the issues that both Meidl and Lundgren did not want to discuss, but we were able to establish a few things. Interim Chief Meidl did state that he was “given direction” by then Interim Chief Dobrow to file an IA Complaint against Arleth. We then had some discussion as to whether or not it was a “Direct Order”, after a little bit of back and forth Meidl indicated his interpretation was that he had no choice but to file the IA Complaint. We even joked a bit about my history on SPD of not always following orders.

As a bit of a side note and to set the record straight, one of the occasions I refused to follow a direct order was SPD’s first ever introduction to Garrity when I was ordered to provide a statement to an insurance adjuster doing the insurance companies independent investigation into a lawsuit against the City in which I was named. It ended up being kind of comical because ultimately once I got longtime family friend Carl Maxey involved, and he in turn got the City Council, and the City Manager involved I never gave a statement to the adjuster, was never disciplined, and as a matter of fact the last thing said to me was by my supervisor at the time, Lt. Jerry Hickman, when he jokingly said “We never should have sent you to IA School.”. That wasn’t the first time nor the last where I didn’t follow an illegal or improper order.

My point in all that is to answer a question I have been asked more than once, and that is; “If I were Meidl, would I have made the complaint?”. Knowing what I know about the case now and what Meidl surely knew… my answer is NO! I would have told Dobrow if he wanted a complaint made to make it himself or have Teresa Sanders do it. If there were any attempts to try and discipline me for refusing, it would have been a fun ride and I likely would have added to my savings account.

After reviewing the IA Case against Arleth, and drawing my own conclusions as to what it really involved, one of the questions I had for Meidl and Lundgren was what Standard of Proof SPD used to reach a “Sustained” findings in IA Cases. Their answer was that SPD uses a higher standard of proof than many law enforcement agencies who use the lower standard of “Preponderance of Evidence” which makes it easier to discipline Cops. SPD uses the “Clear and Convincing Evidence” standard.

 

I’m would think that both Rachel and Mitch were thinking to themselves…” He is a “confused Jeremiah!” when I asked that question…but allow me to explain.

 

Just so you understand, to the best of my knowledge, SPD has never documented in writing the standard they use for a “Sustained” complaint. The only time the standard has been mentioned, other than by Meidl and Lundgren in our Q & A, is in media stories and discipline appeals, in those media stories the individual interviewed stated that the standard was “Clear and Convincing Evidence”.

SPD purchases a boiler-plate Policy Manual, like many other Police Departments, from a company named Lexipol, LLC, and like other agencies they modify the boiler-plate to fit their needs.

For this story let us compare just two other agencies to SPD. If you want to do your own comparison of more agencies…it is easy to do.

In the Images below show how the Canton Ohio PD and Duluth Minnesota PD document their “Preponderance of Evidence Standard.

Canton PD

Canton PD

 

Duluth PD

Duluth PD

 

Spokane PD

Spokane PD

 

Dobrow Standard

 

Dobrow ample evidence

 

I’m not sure what the “ample evidence standard” is…but it is the one Dobrow used in his decision to discipline Arleth.

 

Hopefully you can see my point. If, as Meidl and Lundgren stated, in order to “Sustain” Meidl’s complaint against Arleth it was necessary to have “Clear and Convincing Evidence” … where in the hell was it?

If you use the standard of “sufficient evidence” (whatever that is) documented in the SPD Policy Manual the question becomes was there “sufficient evidence” for a sustained allegation against Arleth…not by my standards there wasn’t.

So what is the “standard”? Are there different standards for different people? Since Arleth was not allowed to have his case reviewed by his peers (The Administrative Review Panel), what standard did Dobrow use to “Sustain” Meidl’s complaint? What standard did Heather Lowe us when she denied the appeal? Since Heather Lowe’s husband left the SPD after a very, very short time, was there a conflict of interest in her decision making process? Now that the decision regarding Arleth’s complaint, at this level at least, will be made by the individual who got the complaint started, Teresa Sanders, what standard will she use, and is there a conflict? Will Mayor Condon step in and do the RIGHT thing?

According to McCabe’s letter to McDevitt, which by the way I don’t understand because McDevitt is supposed to have absolutely NO involvement in disciplinary issues, he (McCabe) states the standard used by SPD is the “Clear and Convincing Standard” so since it isn’t documented that must be it…right?

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/916a0172-2e6b-42ba-b994-17956e83c1db

 

Included in the Furniture-gate aspect of the Q & A was my question to Justin Lundgren when I asked him why all of the IA Cases were removed from Schwering’s IA Website. Justin responded “I think you know!”. It is always good to know the answer to the questions you ask beforehand and I’m sure Justin anticipated I would ask, so he was kind of ready. Justin said that the IA cases were taken down because he was “reviewing” them. We finally did get to the crux of the matter, at least to a certain extent, when Justin took responsibility for not redacting Arleth’s personal phone numbers from the IA Report in violation of the Public Records Act. I will have more about the IA Cases being removed later in this story, but for now this is all I’m willing to give up regarding the now infamous “Furniture-gate”.

Ever wonder what standard SPD uses when a Citizen makes a complaint?

The real big question of course is how much more “Furniture-gate” will cost the taxpayers?

 

TIM SCHWERING FAILING THE CITY POLICE CIVIL SERVICE EXAM!

 

Meidl was asked directly whether or not there were morale issues as a result of Tim Schwering failing the City of Spokane Police Civil Service Exam yet being sent to the State Police Academy. Meidl said he had not heard any rumblings about that issue (I sure have!) and he went on to explain that Schwering did pass the Spokane County Sheriff Civil Service Exam, but did not pass the City Civil Service Police Exam which was specifically designed by the City of Spokane Civil Service Examiners Office to test our Police Officers. Meidl did tells us Schwering did pass a national exam test which is used by some departments. SPD recently started using the same one that the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has used for a while…if you get my drift. J

 

https://www.publicsafetytesting.com/index.php/informationcenter/info/index/page/getting-started/

 

https://www.publicsafetytesting.com/agency/view/list/

 

https://www.publicsafetytesting.com/informationcenter/info/index/page/test-requirements-policesheriff-pst-policies/

 

Of course you can always do test preparation. 🙂

http://www.policequiz.com/

 

That question of course lead to discussion of the rumor that Tim Schwering is Mayor Condon’s actual choice for OUR new Chief of Police, Meidl even referred to Karen Stratton’s statement indicating a concern that Mayor Condon already had his person picked. We weren’t able to determine if Meidl and Lundgren actually know if the rumors are true or not regarding Schwering, however we didn’t press the issue. We did however specifically ask Meidl if he was going to apply for the Chief of Police spot, he denied that he was but if he were to be chosen by whomever became Chief he would be interested in being an Assistant Chief, if not he would revert back to his Civil Service Rank of Captain…things sometimes change though…so who knows for sure.

 

THE REASON SPD TOOK DOWN ALL OF THE IA CASES FROM THEIR WEBSITE!

As I mentioned earlier Justin Lundgren stated that the reason all of the IA Cases were taken down was because he was reviewing them. When I asked the question he was quick to respond “I think you know”. Well I’m sure Justin knew I was aware of Arleth’s personal information being made public, and even a cursory reading of my recent stories would have lead almost anyone to anticipate that would be a question I would ask…so I did. But in reality because I knew part of the reason they were taken down, I wanted to get the rest of the reason with follow-ups. So we talked about the various Public Records Act Violations that existed by making public personal information in the IA Reports as well as other documents SPD has released and have been made available to the public which included personal information like full names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, and in a couple of cases social security numbers. One of my pet peeves, so yes I do have copies, and the image below of emails between Terry Pfister and myself will give you some indication that Arleth isn’t the only Cop that has complained about their personal information being made public.

Redact email Pfister

IA 14-053, is of course the Lydia Taylor, Mell Taylor Steriod/Brady Cop case which contained personal information of the Taylor’s.

 

Heck we even talked about a time when Rachel posted an un-redacted SPD report she had received from SPD containing a lot of personal identifiers including the victim’s full name, DOB, address phone numbers, and even her social security number. After copying it, I called Rachel to give her a heads up and she took it down.

 

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/dec/27/lawsuit-alleges-assault-during-arrest-by-police/comments/

 

Some people might think it a bit strange that I would copy and maintain files on all the improper document releases made by SPD, but if you were in the criminal justice business as long as I was you know that sooner or later the issue will come to a head and someone will say you are full of BS in order to try and squirm out of their own mess…so it becomes a matter of SOP to be able to back your play with evidence…which I make a concerted effort to do.

 

After I asked the lead, I was hoping it wouldn’t, but things kind of went South. I asked Justin why the Taylor case was never posted on the website for the public to read, his answer was that it contained information from a Federal Agency. The problem with that answer is of course, that not only was the entire unredacted report released to several members of the media back in 2014 when the story was widely reported, but beyond that I had a copy and knew there is nothing in the report from the interviews of the Federal Agents that was necessary to redact, and if somemone felt it was necessary to redact, they could have easily done so. Another obvious problem is that IA 14-053 was indetified on the website as a case which was “Administratively Suspended” when nothing could be further from the truth, and some Citizen checking the IA Cases would think it was nothing to bother with.

___________________________

  • Administratively Suspended – A complaint that is closed because the investigation is unable to proceed any further at a point prior to the review process (i.e. Involved officer quits/retires, complainant does not cooperate with the process, complaint involves the elements of a crime that is in the process of prosecution, etc.)

___________________________

Justin said that when IA redacts a case they go through a check list provided them by the City Attorney’s Office, and they follow the check list. I’m sure both Justin and the City Attorney’s Office are hanging their hat on this RCW cite.

___________________________

Identity of Witnesses, Victims, and Persons Filing Complaints. The identity of witnesses, victims, and persons who file criminal or quasi-criminal complaints with agencies other than the Public Disclosure Commission if the complainant indicates at the time of filing the complaint that the complainant desires for it to be confidential, is exempt if disclosure would endanger a person’s life, property or physical safety. RCW 42.56.240(2).

_____________________________

And of course the problem, as I have mentioned before, is that little square box on the police report that cops never check, nor do they ask if the witness, or complainant wants their identity and personal information disclosed to the public or whether the victim is in fear that their life, property, or physical safety is in danger. Justin says they ask people but I think there are cases were that didn’t happen, or at least it sure wasn’t documented that it did.

Sometimes you just have to use common sense, even if the witness/victim didn’t expressly state they wanted non-disclosure redact it anyway to protect the witness victim from reprisal or identity theft and let the court decide if someone wants to push it. Doing that at least protects the City and SPD’s butt, as well as us tax payers.

I should note that in the Q & A referred to the IA website as Tim Schwerings website. Justin apparently didn’t appreciate that and when I pointed out that it had Schwerings name all over it…his response was “Well it isn’t his!” so I, in the interest of congeniality, quit referring to it that way. But someone else according to this letter seems to believe Schwering has something to do with records redactions.

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/362fb2db-abf2-4dd9-b974-6f830d808542

If you are wondering who Paul Zachary is, he is a PhD student at the University of California San Diego.

 

Just to give you an idea of what was on the website before everything was taken down here are just a few cases from my IA Joke/Weird Folder. Jokes because there are NO reports, or they are just kind of funny to me. If you read some of these it might make you wonder whether or not the folks from COPS/DOJ ever read what was on Schwering’s IA Website before they gave SPD plaudits for posting IA Cases for the Public to read.

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/2131c6e6-c693-4282-8eca-377f0966990d

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/3385f472-af07-4ae2-aee2-54763c139377

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/0b33928b-0f6f-4105-aca4-b936ba7feeaa

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/2946b0f0-87ca-4336-bcb2-ec4c387781dd

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/9e58b519-ee23-4ffe-bcd8-531638968fe8

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/a554d1c3-1bc2-43fc-92a5-7c5540c58ef7

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/c1126cb8-49cf-4eda-8bba-8d27ce9d87e7

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/b3301a32-6809-44e9-a6e7-a4a61c2674a2

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/1ff8a630-ee9f-4224-856b-6b395edec302

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/29b35270-bed2-4358-9b07-eaf268a8ee3a

 

There is actually quite a bit more about the problems SPD has with Tim Schwering’s IA website, and the redaction of SPD cases but what I have reported here should give you at least some idea of the mess they/we are in!

More to come!

I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS!!!!

Yesterday afternoon this Reporter, along with Rachel Alexander of the Spokesman Review and Mitch Ryals of the Inlander were able to sit down for a Q and A with Interim Chief Craig Meidl and now Major Justin Lundgren. We covered a lot of issues that I feel are very important for the public to know so I am in the process of writing a story covering the Q and A. I am just waiting for responses from other folks before I publish.

 

The timing of the Q and A couldn’t be better in light of the Story finally published today in the Spokesman Review.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/mar/31/city-hall-investigation-into-handling-of-police-ch/

 

It was kind of fun for me because it was the first time in the State of Washington where I was able to take my tape recorder put it on the desk and record the interview without asking permission. For folks that don’t know Reporters are able to do that because of this exception to Washington State Privacy Laws.

_________________________________

(4) An employee of any regularly published newspaper, magazine, wire service, radio station, or television station acting in the course of bona fide news gathering duties on a full-time or contractual or part-time basis, shall be deemed to have consent to record and divulge communications or conversations otherwise prohibited by this chapter if the consent is expressly given or if the recording or transmitting device is readily apparent or obvious to the speakers. Withdrawal of the consent after the communication has been made shall not prohibit any such employee of a newspaper, magazine, wire service, or radio or television station from divulging the communication or conversation.

[1986 c 38 § 1; 1985 c 260 § 2; 1977 ex.s. c 363 § 1; 1967 ex.s. c 93 § 1.]

__________________________________

 

 

Another thing that was cool was that I got to see and talk with Justin Lundgren, who I like, and have known since he was a kid playing on a hockey team I coached. Justin’s dad was a Cop, and one of many Detectives I broke in when they made Detective so it was nice, as a matter of fact when I returned home and told my Direct Supervisor that Justin was present she was excited to hear how he was doing, and we talked about the good old days. It was also nice to hear from Justin that his dad is among the many Cops and former Cops that read my stories.

 

After the obligatory introductions, the explanation delivered by Chief Meidl of SPD’s intent to be transparent from now on, and his warning (For some reason apparently directed at me.) about the necessity for congeniality, we got on with it. Interim Chief Meidl apparently wasn’t aware that for over four decades’ congeniality has always played a primary role in any of my interviews.

After reviewing the interview recording…Yep…sure enough…I asked most of the questions, and perhaps should have laid off and let Rachael and Mitch get more of their questions in. However, I believe they did end up getting some of their questions answered, including some important ones.

 

Some of the topics we covered were:

1) The Furniture-gate Case.

2) The reason SPD has taken down public access to the IA Files.

3) The reason the Lydia Taylor steroid/Brady Cop case was never posted on the IA Website.

4) Garrity as it relates to the Cotton/Straub Investigation.

5) The SPD morale factor as it relates to Tim Schwering failing the City of Spokane Civil Service Exam for Police Officer and yet being sent to the State Police Academy by Mayor Condon.

6) The COPS/DOJ and Use of Force Commission Report.

7) The Criminal Intelligence Unit and the maintenance, auditing and oversight of Intelligence Files.

8) The ability of SPD to run “Parallel Administrative Investigations” as both COPS/DOJ and the Use of Force Commission recommended.

9) We even were able to establish that former Police Chief Frank Straub, apparently wasn’t a very good driver and damaged his assigned vehicle more than once. In one case the vehicle damage was investigated by Rick Dobrow.

 

AND LOTS MORE!

 

I’m hoping to get my story published later today, but it may be later depending upon how quickly some folks respond to me.

 

 

I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!