Of course, there is no way of telling whether or not the data Chief Meidl provided the public is accurate without an audit, so we have to take a look at what he did provide.
As you can see Chief Meidl stated that in 2022 SPD Officers responded in person to almost 100,000 calls he went on to state that that was an average of 273 incidents each day, which if my math is correct correlates to an average of approximately twelve incidents per hour in a 24-hour period.
Obviously over a 24-hour period some shifts will have more incidents per hour and other shifts perhaps less, so as a rule of thumb when doing a staffing analysis you use the data to identify where the most patrol staffing is needed.
Getting actual staffing levels for the various units within SPD is nearly impossible today and SPD quit doing an Organization Chart years ago so one can’t really make a good quality judgement on whether or not Patrol Division is properly staffed to deal with calls for service, but the common complaint I hear from SPD Officers is Patrol Division is not properly staffed and there are all kinds of specialty units using Patrol Officers which takes away from the patrol function.
The last time any real analysis of SPD was done was in 2006 by the Matrix Corporation which wasn’t at all complimentary and the City Administration at the time did everything they could to hide it from the public, but my old friend Bill Morlin (RIP) managed to get a copy and sent it to me so I could take a look and provide my perspective.
Going back and reviewing the SPD portion of Matrix Report I find some interesting comparisons with the data disseminated in “Meidl’s Minute.” In 2005 (data collection period) the population in the City of Spokane was approximately 198,300 and as you can see from the images below the Patrol staffing level was 199 sworn plus support staff.
The population of Spokane today is around 295,000. Back in 2005 SPD averaged 175 CFS per day or approximately 7.3 per hour. Based upon the Meidl’s Minute data that would demonstrate an increase of 98 CFS and an increase of around 5 CFS per hour between 2005 and 2022, which I think is kind of interesting.
You can review the entire SPD portion of the Matrix Report at this link.
After learning that once again there was some type of excessive force complaint made against now SPD Sgt Daniel Lesser, I began the process of investigating the validity of the information I had received from sources and the first step was to file a Public Records Request for any Public Records associated with the case. I received my first installment of public records on April 4, 2023, which included surveillance video from the business Bath & Body Works and depicts an individual complying at gunpoint in a completely police dominate situation to get on his knees with his hands in the air, the surveillance video also shows Sgt Daniel Lesser kicking the individual in the upper body. The information I have received is that this individual was mistaken for a suspect and had not done anything illegal.
This story is developing and there is little doubt that SPD and the City Administration will delay as long as possible responses to my PRR especially since I have received information that there may be a City Council Investigation into Chief Meidl and other Officer’s conduct regarding the Chud Wendle/Chief Meidl Affair which will augment the extensive work done by the OPO. The City Charter allows a City Council Investigation into these type of issues and also provides the City Council with subpoena power a power the OPO does not have. The City Council however does not have the power to compel statements under Garrity from City employees, only the mayor has that power and if you paid any attention to the OPO closing report several employees refused to cooperate in the OPO investigation so the big question in that regard is whether or not Mayor Woodward would invoke Garrity, something that her predecessor Mayor David Condon refused to do.
Although I feel it will be some time before I receive the records, I requested it is important to release to the public some of what I have received thus far. Anyone can review the Bed & Body Works at the links I am providing below.
This one I recently received was a post made by retired SPD Detective Dennis T Snider (Ty Snider) who at least used his Facebook account and not a fake FB account like some Cops do on the Spokane Business & Commercial Property Council Facebook page. Detective Snider drew quite a bit of media attention when as a staunch supporter of Karl Thompson he attended nearly all of Thompson’s court hearings in the death of Otto Zehm case as the Spokane Police Guild Secretary. Detective Snider was said to have been a baseball player at the University of Washington, but this post sure doesn’t seem to knock it out of the park.
Retired SPD Detective Snider has expressed his displeasure with the OPO both publicly and privately, and everyone has a right to an opinion, though expressing opinions for Public Employees like Detective Snider are a bit more restrictive and sometimes Public Employees need at least a talking to about when and where they express their opinions.
Obviously, Ty Snider is suggesting the current OPO in Spokane is political and non-objective he goes on to further suggest elected offices should find one that is. I don’t have a problem that Snider has that opinion, but I do have a serious question about his judgement in expressing it publicly unless of course he can provide evidence that the OPO is political and non-objective and that that issue is a “matter of public concern” and consistent with the case law.
Retired Detective Snider’s second post is indicative of many posts on Spokane Business & Commercial Property Council Facebook page because it just is not factual, and it would seem to me that someone who has the rank of Detective would know that.
“I seriously don’t think Wilkerson gave an formal statement to SPD Internal Affairs.”
What retired Detective Snider neglects to mention is that when the evidence in the case began to point to Chief Meidl he put a stop to further investigation of the case and any further interviews.
“Other City Employees are not required to give statement to SPD Internal Affairs.”
Simply not true, under Garrity any City Employee can be compelled to give a statement to SPD Internal Affairs just like SPD Cops, are compelled under Garrity to give statements to HR…etc.
“Some witnesses are reluctant to give statements because SPD have charged them giving false statements.”
It appears that retired Detective Snider is trying to justify his friend Chud Wendle’s “not too enthused” response to the IA Investigation because Wendle was in fear of being charged with false statements. That is sure a stretch Detective Snider. Chud Wendle never received a lying under oath or false swearing admonishment and didn’t cooperate with the IA Investigation.
You can listen to Chud Wendle’s recorded interview at this link.
According to what transpired in the Office Of Police Ombudsman Commission meeting yesterday it appears it will work and there isn’t much that can be done about it.
When politics, religion, or corruption enter into the law enforcement function any credibility that function had is completely lost and now such is the case with the Mayor Woodward’s Spokane Police Department who have stooped to the lowest level of playing politics by using a Murder in an effort to discredit a City Council Member, in this case CM Betsy Wilkerson if this goes unchecked as it appears it will next time instead of a Progressive City Council Member it could easily be a Conservative City Council Member.
So what did those folks who watched learn from the April 19, 2022, OPOC meeting, quite a bit actually. During Assistant OPO Luvimae Omana’s detailed presentation we learned the following.
1) Mr. Chud Wendle a somewhat wealthy Conservative activist and purveyor of anti-progressive rhetoric on his “Spokane Business & Commercial Property Council” Facebook page which is shared on the “Spokane’s 8th Man” Facebook page and to whom, among other things, information about the existence of the Brownell body worn camera video was leaked so he could use it to try and discredit CM Wilkerson was obviously “not too enthused” about cooperating with the IA Investigation of CM Wilkerson’s complainant, since he apparently refused to identify exactly who leaked the information to him, only stating it was someone from the “City Administration”.
Ms. Omana demonstrated in her presentation how based upon the Public Records Requests made by Wendle and after his first request was denied as an ongoing investigation he was leaked exactly when the investigation was complete and submitted another PRR.
2) We also learned that SPD’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Jacqui MacConnell who oversees “the Internal Affairs Unit (which includes overseeing policies)” and was hired ostensibly to be the voice of the Citizens in the IA Process stopped the IA Investigation dead in its tracks.
DSI MacConnell, Public Records demonstrate is anything but the voice of the Citizens and works hard at keeping SPD misconduct investigations as quite as possible.
3) We learned that were several back-and-forth exchanges between her and SPD about who should and who should not be interviewed making it obvious that SPD would not do a legitimate IA Investigation especially if it meant interviews with any members of the “City Administration” which includes Chief Craig Meidl and who in a legitimate investigation would have to be a person of interest based upon his involvement with Chud Wendle’s “Spokane Business & Commercial Property Council” Facebook page.
There were other aspects of Ms. Omana’s presentation which piqued my interest based upon information I have received from SPD sources and which I should be able to confirm once I receive a response to my six-month-old Public Records Request regarding the CM Wilkerson complaint, but I suspect Mayor Woodward will continue to violate the City of Spokane Ethics Code, especially since in this case the Public Records will likely show what her administration is all about.
Once Ms. Omana’s presentation was complete OPO Logue did a very good job of explaining the options available to the OPOC with respect to the pros and cons of conducting an Independent Investigation since the OPO refused to certify the Wilkerson IA Case, including the fact that the OPO can not conduct a legitimate investigation without the ability to compel testimony from SPD Officers and City Employees under Garrity v. New Jersey. There is an option available for the OPO to conduct a legit investigation, but it would require Mayor Woodward and Chief Meidl to direct all the City individuals involved to cooperate with the investigation and provide compelled statements.
The likelihood of that happening is exactly the same as it was with former Mayor Condon when the Straub/Cotton Affair was exposed and he absolutely refused to invoke Garrity.
There is without question a lot more to this story, but whether you are a Conservative or a Progressive when considering what went on here you should be asking yourself if you really want a politicized Police Department, after all CM Cathcart and CM Bingle who knows someday there could be a Progressive Mayor…what goes around comes around.