WHY DO WE WASTE TAXPAYER DOLLARS ON EXPERTS TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS WHEN THEY ARE NEVER FOLLOWED???
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
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
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
In watching the OPOC meeting I thought the Commissioners
asked some pretty good questions, and I also though it was cool when after
Assistant Chief Justin Lundgren went into his long dissertation trying to
justify Chief Meidl’s position OPOC Chair Ladd Smith pointed out that despite
the millions of contacts SPD makes every year without complaints, that wasn’t
the issue before the OPOC. Needless to say, I would have had many more
questions of both Lundgren and Lt. Barton Stevens. I sure as heck would have
followed up with some questions of Stevens when he responded to questions
regarding whether or not it was necessary for Officer Hice because he was on a
plain clothes “Dignitary Protection Detail” to identify himself as a Police
Officer, and Stevens responded; “I’m not aware of a policy that says he has to
identify himself as an Officer in that particular conversation.”, Lundgren
tried to jump in and help him out of that one, but obviously it didn’t work.
When it comes to dancing it appears to me that Officer Hice is a far better
dancer than Lundgren or Stevens
Maybe since SPD IA is now required to investigate the case
they can resolve the issue of whether or not Officer Hice should have
identified himself as a law enforcement officer prior to threatening to arrest
the complainant if in fact that is what happened. As for me having been through
that issue including on the witness stand, I don’t know how many times, I don’t
think there is any question that you must clearly establish your authority to
make an arrest even if you are just threatening to make one.
Perhaps it is just an issue of Lt. Stevens never having
worked in Washington DC where you can’t tell the private security firms that do
Dignitary Protection and have no arrest powers from the Secret Service and DC
Cops who actually do have arrest powers, those private firms all dress like the
Secret Service drive the same type of black SUVs and have those dumb looking communication
ear pieces sticking out of their ears, so some people just can’t tell the difference
and that is the whole point of the copycat style.
I still have that question for OPOC Commissioner Elizabeth
Kelley that hasn’t been answered; “Madam Commissioner, did you ever have ice
cream at the old Mona Lisa’s in Monrovia?” 😊