Not in my view, but apparently, it is in the eyes of Chief Craig Meidl.
Many of my readers will remember the stories I did regarding Tim Schwering’s IA Website, which was supposed to provide copies of IA files online for the public to read and evaluate. The COPS/DOJ Report lauded SPD for providing this tool to the public and the “transparency” it demonstrated. Of course, it wasn’t all that transparent, and as I have documented in the past the Website had considerable problems including releasing personal information in violation of the Public Records Act. Despite my continued efforts to have SPD clean it up which included not only my stories but also direct contact with the City Council, not one thing was done until the inevitable happened and Justin Lundgren released to the Public and the media the personal cell phone number of Captain Brad Arleth during “Furniture-gate”. Arleth was not the only law enforcement victim, and there were several members of the public who fell victim to the lack of diligence.
A Few More Background Links:
Tim Schwering’s IA Website has now become Lieutenant Tracie Meidl’s Website and considerable changes have been made to eliminate transparency. Lt. Tracie Meidl as we all know is Chief of Police Craig Meidl’s wife and what a gift Chief Meidl received in having his wife becoming responsible for the handling of IA cases since as anyone in law enforcement or oversight knows IA cases will make or break a Chief of Police. Is it a conflict of interest? Well of course it is!
As predicted SPD IA, has gone to a “Case Synopsis” format like what the Seattle Police Department does.
Below you will find some images and links of some of Seattle PD’s “Closed Case Synopsis” format which Spokane PD is trying to copy. I have also made a comment regarding one of the cases that I have covered several times regarding the “Standard of Proof” utilized by the Spokane Police Department in determining if disciplinary charges will be brought against a Spokane Police Officer.
*** Please note the “Standard of Proof” utilized by Seattle PD; “preponderance of evidence”.
Named Employee #1
There was not a preponderance of the evidence either supporting or refuting the allegation. Therefore a finding of Not Sustained (Inconclusive) was issued for Standards and Duties: Retaliation is prohibited.
*** Spokane Police Department utilizes a much higher standard of proof than almost any other Police Department in the Nation, which makes it far more difficult to discipline Officers. Spokane Police Department uses the higher standard of “Clear and Convincing Evidence”, and has been since the Anne Kirkpatrick era.
As several members of Spokane PD are aware however the “Clear and Convincing Evidence Standard”, is used for some of them but not all, and a lot depends upon who you are and the positions you take.
I have always been somewhat amazed that the Standard of Proof issue has never been brought in other Media, or for that matter the Spokane City Council or OPO Commission.
Obviously with contract negotiations supposedly going on between the Police Guild and the Lieutenants and Captains Association one would think that someone would clean this up. I have also heard that there is a possibility that an Unfair Labor Practice complaint may be made against the City for refusing to negotiate, which could be interesting if true.
OKAY, so back to my main point, “IS ARRESTING PEOPLE WHO MAKE COMPLAINTS AGAINST POLICE OFFICERS A GOOD IDEA?”
Chief Craig Meidl and his IA Unit obviously think it is a good idea!
As for me, I don’t think it is a good idea especially when you are dealing with an individual’s perception of a physical confrontation between Officers and Body Camera Video related to a physical confrontation, after all when it comes to video of police confrontations the issue of perception always comes up and the Public or witnesses in many cases have a different perception of what transpired. Arresting and booking a person into jail in my view will only create a reluctance on the part of people to make complaints against police officers.
There is of course a considerable backstory to Tracie Meidl’s “New and Improved” IA Website which I am working on, but as usual some folks try and get in the way. Since Craig Meidl and Justin Lundgren refuse to respond to me given what I have pointed out in the past I’m forced to go through the PIO, unfortunately PIOs are not always told the truth by the Brass, so we will see how it goes.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!