One of the pains in doing this Investigative Reporting gig is finding the time to review video including reviewing City Council Meetings but it has to be done and sometimes even though it can be a pain I find some pretty hilarious things that surface relating to some of my previous stories.
The March 7, 2022, City Council Meeting was one of those reviews that allowed me to laugh and once again say to myself… “I told you so!” 😊
The meeting included testimony from OPO Bart Logue to the Council regarding the status of the OPO. One of the things Logue reported was his closing reports and how he is completely muzzled as a result of the Guild Contract.
I found it interesting when Logue talked about one of his heavily restricted “Closing Reports” where he documented why it is a liability for Mayor Woodward and Chief Meidl to allow an Officer with a take-home vehicle to take his family out shopping in a City owned vehicle, and it was timely given Chief Meidl’s presentation to Council about the importance of take-home vehicles for all SPD Cops.
As the first SPD Cop other than the SPD Chiefs who was assigned a take home vehicle no one had to tell me running my family around in my assigned vehicle was strictly forbidden, but those were the good old days.
This 2019 list of SPD take-home vehicles prepared by SPD Sgt. John Gately is old and as I understand it the number has increased since 2019 but it gives you an idea of not only the scale of take-home vehicle assignments but should get people to thinking about who should get an electric take home vehicle. Seriously, does civilian IA Director MacConnell really need a take-home vehicle, and if so why not an electric vehicle? If the Citizens are paying for two SPD Chaplains to have a take-home vehicle why can’t it be a Tesla?
More fun stuff from the CC Meeting was the discussion about the release of Public Records between CP Beggs, CM Cathcart, and CM Bingle. According to CP Beggs he and CM Cathcart are working on an Ordinance regarding Public Records and the City Attorney has invited Cathcart and Beggs “to another meeting on that”, which is silly since City Attorney Michael Ormsby has done everything he can to obstruct the release of Public Records.
The better option for Cathcart and Beggs is to obtain guidance from the Washington State Attorney General as the City Attorney will only make every effort to protect his Woodward appointed position.
With respect to CM Bingle’s comments about my buddy Nicolette Ocheltree, his aide, being a Public Records Guru and getting her PRR responses in a timely fashion I’m going to be really mad if Mayor Woodward who is hiding from all of my PRRs regarding police misconduct gives Ms. Ocheltree responses before I get mine. 😊
As far as the Mayor of Spokane is concerned she has both publicly and privately expressed her well document position on Police Oversight.
“The one issue I have with the ombudsman situation as it stands now, I think the disciplinary measures need to come from the police chief,” Woodward said. “I wish we didn’t have to have an ombudsman situation, to be honest with you. I want to be able to believe that the police chief can do his job and weed out any bad apples if there are any.”
Based upon Mayor Woodward’ true position on the Office of Police Ombudsman it should be pretty clear that to keep her endorsement by the Spokane Police Guild, she needs to make darn sure the OPO continues to have their power of oversight limited during the currently ongoing contract negotiations for the Guild’s new contract with the City.
In this 2019 story of mine I pointed out now Mayor Woodward’s position on the OPO.
I think it is important to reiterate her position in this story and point out how she tried to cover up her position when during the campaign she first responded to a Facebook question from lawyer Rick Eichstaedt with this.
Mayor Woodward quickly figured out her response to Eichstaedt was bogus so she deleted her public comment, aren’t screenshots great? 😊
The truth is with a Mayor completely adverse to Police Oversight, and a City Council unwilling to battle it out with the Guild the likelihood of legitimate oversight being a part of the next Guild Contract is slim to none.