The war of course is the one going on very publicly between SPD and SPS.
Sources very close to the issue indicate that it started with the highly publicized case involving former Spokane County Deputy Sheriff Shawn Audie’s involvement with restringing a Ferris High School Student, and Mayor Woodard’s current PR person Brian Coddington was the PR person for Spokane Public Schools.
As Public Records slowly become available to the Media, those records seem to corroborate sources including this one which from Spokane Public Schools which somewhat outlines the Post-Audie moves made by SPS.
Which brings us to the question if this is all about an effort to restore School Resource Officers, armed or not in Spokane Public Schools which would be an advantage to SPD and some type of battle as to which taxpayer budget will pay the tab or is it really about the kids?
As far as the various turfs involved in all of this mess are concerned aside from SPS and SPD, there is a bunch including the Washington Education Association, Spokane Principals Association, Spokane Education Association, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, NAACP, ACLU, Stand for Children, Progressives, Conservatives, Libertarians…and on and on.
How long have people been trying to get some type of movement on this mess? At least back to 2012.
War of any type are always about turf and money, and regardless of whether or not it is a shooting war or the typical government turf war the kids are always the ones that get hurt the most. How long will this war go on. The best bet is that it will continue until every ounce of political fodder is extracted from the issue and the various turfs sit down and come up with an answer in the interest of our kids.
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.
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.
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.
This SR story is funny for some reasons, and not so funny or other reasons the funny aspect is how could the Mayor not know who the heck Terry Parker AKA “eagleproducer” has been around for years commenting with his anti-establishment philosophy on Twitter and Facebook for years even back in the old Disqus days on the Spokesman Review website, even Soccermom Susie would remember him from the old days.
Terry is the type of poster you sometimes have to block when he is deeply off on one of his tangents, but like anyone else you have to gain an understanding of where he is coming from.
Terry still owes me two grand from a bet on the Otto Zehm case.
“I’m not going to apologize for that tweet,” Woodward said. “It wasn’t my finest moment, but I wanted to push back on a nameless coward who trolls me constantly and push back on men who degrade and belittle the talents and successes of women because of their gender.
“It’s time for more women to push back against misogynists like that.”
“I think I would like to encourage other women to push back on trolls and bullies and misogynists, because women have come a long way in a lot of respects,” Woodward said, “but in other ways we haven’t when we’re subjected to this type of behavior by men regularly, and I get it all of the time. And you know what? I’m just sick and tired of it.”
Although Madam Mayor wants to “push back on trolls and bullies and misogynists” she absolutely refuses to push back on the ones in SPD, whether it is subjecting a would-be City employee from to inappropriate conduct by a polygraph operator and background investigator.
There of course are several other cases you obviously don’t care to push back on but if it is just all about you Madam Mayor being the victim of “trolls and bullies and misogynists” I completely understand how Terry Parker might get under your skin. On the other hand I want to be clear you can call me anything you want, if you would please…pretty please… just answer my legitimate questions.
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.