Certainly there is a lot of speculation out there that the battle between Spokane Public Schools and the Spokane Police Department goes beyond just a concern about the kids in Spokane Public Schools and involves something deeper. As for me I agree with Council Member Michael Cathcart who states, “I don’t make wild assertions without evidence.”, and no one should. There are however a number of puzzling questions that need answers no matter how long it takes, and it is quite obvious that at this point Council Member Cathcart isn’t willing to share whatever information he may have, even to the point of not bothering to tell members of the Spokane City Council although he is Chair of the City’s Public Safety and Community Health Committee, CM Cathcart didn’t even bother to tell the Vice-Chair Council President Breean Beggs, for which there is no legitimate excuse, at least that I can think of.

Somehow on or about March 14, 2022, the local media got ahold of a letter written by Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl to Spokane Public Schools.

On March 15, 2022, at 7:50AM CM Cathcart posts on his City of Spokane Facebook page linking a SR story published earlier that morning and states,  “This has been a big concern by our officers for a while. So much so that it was brought to my attention several times, by several different officers over the past couple of months. In fact, some of the reports I was getting regarding violent criminal activity going unreported or that SPS staff members were being sanctioned in some way just for calling for a police response was so shocking that I decided several weeks ago to submit public records requests to both SPD and Spokane Public Schools to get to the bottom of it. Of course, it’s anyone’s guess as to when those records will be released.”

CM Cathcart’s March 15, 2022, post which begs some questions that need to be answered.

1) If it was a big concern to our officers what did they do about it and how long is “for a while”?

2) Did the officers report their concerns to supervisors, Chief Meidl, or just to CM Cathcart?

3) How did you look into the shocking allegation that “SPS staff members were being sanctioned in some way just for calling for a police response was so shocking” other than submitting a PRR to SPD, and SPS?

4) Did you discuss the shocking allegations with Chief Meidl or Superintendent Dr. Adam Swinyard?

5) Exactly what records did CM Cathcart request from SPD and SPS, and how did CM Cathcart know what records to request?

On March 15, 2022, the FBI sent an information inquiry email to the Spokane Principals Association and somehow, someway CM Cathcart got his hands on a copy of the FBI email which he posted on his Facebook page March 16, 2022, at 12:03PM, later on March 16, 2022, CM Cathcart was able to get his hands on an email sent to “Spokane area media” by the FBI to clarify what was going on after SA Parker’s email to the Spokane Principals Association was made public by CM Cathcart. CM Cathcart updated his original post with the FBI’s email to “Spokane area media”.

One of the interesting things to me is the copy of Agent Parker’s email posted by CM Cathcart is the way it was redacted. I’ve never seen the FBI utilize that type of redaction process nor have I seen the FBI’s redactions that were so poorly done, which makes me wonder who actually did the redactions, was it CM Cathcart or the person or persons who provided him with the email?

The other interesting aspect of CM Cathcart’s post is how he came into possession of the FBI’s response to his posting of SA Parker’s email, since according to the FBI it was just sent to Spokane media.

To me at least it appears CM Cathcart has a lot of information about this issue that he isn’t willing to share, at least with the City Council and me as this email string makes quite clear. Hopefully he will provide the FBI with all the information he has accumulated.

One of the big puzzles for me is Chief Meidl’s leaked letter to Superintendent Dr. Adam Swinyard.

Chief Meidl certainly must know that RCW 26.44 deals with “any person under the age of eighteen years of age” and there is no requirement in RCW 26.44 that mandatory reporters contact SPD, there is however a requirement that mandatory reporters contact either CPS (“Child protective services section” means the child protective services section of the department) or Law Enforcement and there are requirements that both CPS and Law Enforcement interact.

If SPS isn’t contacting CPS or Law Enforcement when a child under eighteen years who is a victim of “sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or injury of a child by any person under circumstances which cause harm to the child’s health, welfare, or safety, excluding conduct permitted under RCW 9A.16.100; or the negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for or providing care to the child.”, then that is a big problem, but we just don’t know what the problem actually is at this point so I guess we will have to wait until the joint FBI/SPD investigation is concluded.

If Chief Meidl was trying to make a point to SPS by threatening misdemeanor charges against SPS employees who don’t report incidents of school yard bullying to CPS or Law Enforcement it would be a new way of handling issues between SPS and SPD.

In the past when issues arose between SPS and SPD no threats were made and they were handled with increased training and interaction as well as face to face meetings with the Chief of Police and SPS Superintendents.

If you read the 2005 Spokesman Review article linked above you might be wondering here the heck is the Washington State Attorney Generals Office involvement in all this mess.

If Chief Meidl is concerned about the reporting of harassment, intimidation, or bullying to SPD I can’t find where there is a requirement in the State process to report those issues to Law Enforcement.

But if Chief Meidl actually wants all of the HIB reports, I don’t see any reason why SPS can’t provide them to SPD.

Just a guess of course but based on the entire context of Chief Meidl’s letter to SPS and his reference to RCW 74.34.020 and RCW 74.34.035.

It would appear that there is some kind of concern on his part that persons over the age of eighteen years suffering from developmental disabilities who are suspected victims of physical assault or fear of imminent harm who are provided services by SPS and received minor bodily injury which does not require more than basic first aid are not being reported to the “Department of Social and Health Services” (APS).

It goes without saying that when injuries appear on the back, face, head, neck, chest, breasts, groin, inner thigh, buttock, genital, or anal area, a fracture, or there is a pattern of physical assault to  vulnerable adults in the care of SPS it darn well better be reported to both Law Enforcement and DSHS and if that is the problem it better get resolved soon.

There is just one heck of a lot the Public doesn’t know at this point and apparently CM Cathcart isn’t talking so it will be interesting to see how this all ends up and it will be especially interesting to learn how it all got started.

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