Spokane Police Leadership Praises Police Work
SPOKANE, Wash. - The following letter was recently written by the Spokane Police Lieutenants and Captains Association to the commissioned officers of the Spokane Police Department. The intent of the letter is to remind the officers their hard work is recognized and appreciated. The authors of this letter wish to share it with all of you.
As leaders within the Spokane Police Department, our Association members have viewed the recent maligning of our officers with increasing dismay. We have heard numerous outcries of injustice in the City Council chambers by individuals whose hyperbole has gone virtually unchecked, until Chief Kirkpatrick herself corrected two of the more egregious examples during Council session. We have read the recent article by Bill Morlin in The Spokesman Review and another by Nicholas Deshais featured in The Inlander, both replete with inaccuracies, omissions and slanted perspective. As a result, we have come to the realization that allowing such allegations to go unchallenged in the public forum gives the community the impression that they are accurate. That is the reason for this letter. The time has come to tell the citizens of Spokane in plain language that their police department is a good one.
A fine example occurred during Hoopfest weekend. For those who are not aware of the event, there was a confrontation between rival gangs in Riverfront Park. This occurred near center court and the fountain, in an area heavily crowded with families and children. One of the gangmembers pulled a gun and fired shots. Civilians were injured. An off duty detective, unarmed and in the park with her children, witnessed the event. She closely followed the suspects as they fled the scene and pointed out the criminal with the gun to responding patrol officers. One such officer saw the shooter reaching into his pocket for the gun. He recognized that he was likely to be faced with a fatal encounter. However, he also recognized that the crowded civilian populace faced great risk should he fire his gun and miss. Instead, he took that danger onto himself by charging the suspect and grappling with him, even though that suspect had successfully drawn the gun from his pocket. The officer was eventually able to subdue the suspect after great risk to his own life.
Either or both of these officers could have taken the "easy" route. The detective could have fled the scene with her children and merely pointed out the general direction the suspects went to responding officers. The patrol officer was fully justified in using lethal force in the situation he faced and could have fired his duty weapon in response to the criminal actions of the suspect. But both officers made the more difficult, braver choice.
The actions of these two officers, while exemplary, serve as an example of the kind of police work that occurs on a daily basis in Spokane. It doesn't happen by accident, and it happens in tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving situations in which split-second decisions must be made. The community of Spokane should know that men and women who serve you, the citizens of this city, are dedicated, professional, hardworking souls. They are proud to do the work they do and recognize the opportunity for the honor that it is.
Moreover, we lieutenants and captains are proud of them. Our final statement is one we make directly to those men and women of SPD, and it is this: while as leaders we stand in front of you and as fellow cops we stand beside you and in support of you, it is our most distinct honor to serve with you.
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