The first indicator that any legitimate and independent oversight of the Spokane Police Department for the Citizens of the City of Spokane should have been when they overwhelming voted for a change to the City Charter which requires independent oversight yet was completely ignored by the Mayor and City Council who refused to battle the Police Unions in Court for legitimate and independent Police Oversight.
As far as the City Charter is concerned those of us that were born, raised, and worked in Spokane inside and outside the political structure know full well that despite what the City Charter might say politics and cronyism will always trump (no pun intended) the City Charter no matter who is in power.
Beyond the City Charter issue, it is obvious we Citizens spent a lot of money on experts and wasted the time and energy of many a volunteer to make recommendations which have never been followed nor is it likely they ever will be. Two such recommendations are easily found in reports of the Use of Force Commission, and the COPS/DOJ Review of SPD, both of which were and are highly touted by Mayor Condon and the City Council.
As many of my readers know I keep pretty close track of law enforcement and criminal justice issues here in Spokane County and along with all of the information and documents I receive from sources part of that tracking is watching the OPOC Meetings to get a good feel for what is going on as well as to provide source corroboration. The November 13, 2018 meeting of the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission in my view is a perfect example of exactly what a waste all of the previous efforts and recommendations have been in establishing legitimate and independent oversight of SPD.
There were two big FIRSTS which came out of the meeting. One was the decision by the OPOC to demand that SPD IA actually investigate a Citizen Complaint they had refused to investigate, this is the first time that has ever happened and hopefully isn’t the last. Another FIRST was the OPOC decision to make a formal complaint against the Chief of Police. What interested me regarding the formal complaint was that OPOC lawyer and former Mayor Dennis Hession rightfully pointed out that Mayor Condon was responsible for the complaint based upon his response to a letter written to him by lawyer Cam Zorrozua.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Mayor Condon actually follows the City Ordinance he cited in his letter and sends the complaint to his gal Christine Cavanaugh the Director of Human Resources, or just lets his right-hand gal Teresa Sanders investigate the complaint on her own like he did in the past when a complaint was made against his other choice for Chief of Police Frank Straub. Either way I think we all know how the “investigation”of the complaint will end up.
Here is a copy of the first ever formal complaint against a Chief of Police made by the OPOC.
Speaking of City Human Resources and Christine Cavanaugh,most of the public isn’t aware of all the turmoil going on with that City Department, which is a story for another day.
To be perfectly honest since I have a pretty darn good idea where the complaint against Chief Meidl is headed I’m more interested in the HR complaint Detective Lonnie Tofsrud made against his Brass, especially since it deals with Brady Cop issues, but it will be a while before I can get my hands on that case because the underpaid, understaffed City Clerk’s Office are having problems; “Due to other work obligations and position vacancies in the City Clerk’s Office, together with a medical absence starting this week and another in early December, I anticipate requiring an additional 35 days, or until December 17,”.