Straub Gets Waiver; Will Be Spokane's Next Police Chief - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Frank Straub Gets Waiver: He Won't Go To Washington Police Academy

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BURIEN, WASH. - The Washington State Criminal Justice Commission granted Frank Straub a waiver Wednesday to take an equivalency exam so he does not need to attend the police academy in Washington State. Straub will now assume the title of the Spokane Police Chief once he finishes the requirements of that exam.  

Only one member on the statewide board voted against granting Straub the waiver and that representative was actually from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office: Deputy Darrell Stidham. KHQ was the only TV station on the west side for the meeting Wednesday morning and KHQ's Alex Rozier spoke with Straub earlier.

Frank's Take

A new police chief in Spokane will take over October 1st. In the Interim Frank Straub was named by the City Council on Monday night as the Director of Law Enforcement, but now that the commission supported their granting of a waiver, he can assume the title of police chief once he completes his exam work. Straub said that he was relieved that the commission voted the way it did, but he said training is and should be an ongoing pledge for every member of the police force.

"Training is something you start at the beginning of your career and you don't stop training until the day you turn in your badge and your gun and go do something else," Straub said. "It has to be a career experience that you always do, because the business changes constantly, especially now with technology."

Straub was thankful the commission considered his 28 years of law enforcement experience on both a state and federal level. He said he thought he was in good shape coming in, but he added, "you don't know until the vote goes through."

The equivalency exam is a nine-week, 80-hour course online. If he would have had to come to the academy, he would have to spend 4 and a half months in Burien on the west side living in the dorms on campus with all of the other recruits. Executive Director Sue Rahr said the commission did exactly what the law allows them to do.

"The commission absolutely followed the law and the law allows them to look at the full picture of the qualifications of the candidate," Rahr said. "In Chief Straub's case he has an extensive career in law enforcement, different than most local law enforcement, nonetheless it is local law enforcement experience. He has extensive training, he has extensive additional education. All of those factors are taken together and the full picture is what the commission considered. "

Top Priorities

Frank Straub said his top priority when he takes over is looking at the Mayor's action plan so he can start attacking that list. He said he plans to meet with the use of force commission right when he arrives. Additionally he said he needs to focus on training and "the budget crisis," too.

"The budget is going to be a huge issue, whether we're going to be able to hire officers or not hire officers," Straub said. "What does that look like projected out and how do we start to vary our patrol strategy, operational strategy in conjunction with the budget realities."

He said he'll also be working hard at prevention. Straub said that prevention and the budget go hand in hand.

"We need to be in the prevention business, especially when you're dealing with budget issues," Straub said. "We have to reduce the calls for service that we have."

Spokane County Deputy Votes "NO"

Deputy Darrell Stidham was the only member on the statewide commission to vote no, but he said his vote has nothing to do with Frank Straub and his resume; it has everything to do with past votes. Stidham told KHQ Local News Reporter Alex Rozier that the commission has not approved waiver requests where the schooling "has been solely federal," in recent years.

Stidham said the fact that the officers go through an academy in Washington state is pretty sacred to police and he considered that too when he voted against granting the waiver request.

Executive Director Rahr said the commission has not granted waivers to some police chief selections in the past, but those that were denied, "had much less experience and took over much smaller departments."  

Starting Soon  

Frank Straub is moving to Spokane at the end of the month and will take over the Spokane Police Department October 1st.

UPDATE: On Wednesday The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission determined that City of Spokane's new Director of Law Enforcement Frank Straub could earn his Washington state police commission through a nine-week, on-line course and waived the requirement for a basic police training course.

"We are pleased that the Commission agreed with our assessment that Director Straub's education, training, and experience more than met the threshold for granting the waiver," Mayor David Condon says. "I am looking forward to having Director Straub take over the helm of the Spokane Police Department."

Director Straub, along with interim Chief Scott Stephens and former U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington Jim McDevitt, attended a meeting today with the Criminal Justice Training Commission to seek that waiver. The letter seeking the waiver is attached.

Director Straub is scheduled to begin work on Oct. 1. Once he meets the requirements for a Washington state police commission, Straub's title will change to Chief of Police.

Director Straub was chosen following a comprehensive recruitment and selection process for the position of Chief of Police.

The selection process included two initial screening rounds, a day of interviews with five separate panels, collection of feedback from citizens, visits to the home cities of the two final candidates, and a variety of background checks. 

Mayor Condon appointed him to the position last month, and the Council confirmed his appointment on Monday.

TWEET FROM ALEX: The one person who voted against the #Straub waiver was actually from Spokane County. Deputy Darell Stidham.

TWEET FROM ALEX: Correction: Joshua Kelsey of Lynnwood voted FOR the #Straub waiver in a voice vote. There was one person against.

UPDATE: Straub got a waiver, he will be Spokane's next Police Chief when he takes over October 1st.

TWEET FROM ALEX: #Straub has an extensive education. Everyone supported waiver except Lynnwood Police Representative on commission.

TWEET FROM ALEX: Just talked to Frank #Straub. He said he was a little "nervous."He said he's committed to learning here."everyone should be."

TWEET FROM ALEX: #Straub only has made one brief comment clarifying his background within this discussion.

TWEET FROM ALEX: #Straub only has made one brief comment clarifying his background within this discussion.

TWEET FROM ALEX: "I'd be comfortable moving ahead with Mr. Straub," Whatcom County Sheriff Elfo says despite concerns stated with guidelines.

TWEET FROM ALEX: "Mr. #Straub has not attended a basic law enforcement academy, by a state system," said Tisha Jones, Certification Mgr.

TWEET FROM ALEX: Chair says when people come from out of state, they can't ensure they come from the same level "we expect" in WA. state.

TWEET FROM ALEX: The chair, Jeff Myers from the Hoquiam PD, says he has "struggled with this extensively."

TWEET FROM ALEX: Officer Joshua Kelsey from Lynnwood now addressing the commission. Kelsey one of the 14 votes. Discussion continues.

TWEET FROM ALEX: Kennewick Chief Hohenberg states that "he feels comfortable" with the waiver for #Straub. Needs majority.

TWEET FROM ALEX: #Straub clarifies that he was a certified officer on both a state and federal level.

TWEET FROM ALEX: Whatcom County Sheriff Elfo questioning whether or not #Straub qualifications meet requirements for WA. police standards.

TWEET FROM ALEX: Kennewick Police Chief Hohenberg discloses he helped select #Straub for Spokane job. He is on commission.

TWEET FROM ALEX: Equivolency exam would take 80 hours over 9 weeks online if granted waiver.Academy is 5 months in Burien.

TWEET FROM ALEX: There is one rep. from Spokane Co. Sheriff's Office on commission. Deputy Darell Stidham. He will have a vote on Straub.

TWEET FROM ALEX: 14 people sit on the commission, including Republican Gov. candidate Rob McKenna. McKenna is not here.He will not get a vote.

TWEET FROM ALEX: From 2009-2012, 13 people have applied to take equivalency exam. The commission has granted 9, denied 3, didn't vote on 1

TWEET FROM ALEX: The meeting is now underway in Burien. I will be tweeting live with any new developments.

TWEET FROM ALEX: The agenda is getting cut down so that they can address the Straub item faster. The commission only meets quarterly.

TWEET FROM ALEX: I was told from a person inside meeting that the commission is "torn" and the discussion about Straub will be "interesting."

TWEET FROM ALEX: Frank Straub is here with Interim Chief Scott Stephens and U.S for East. Wash. Jim McDevitt

TWEET FROM ALEX: KHQ is the only station in Burien for the Frank Straub commission hearing on whether or not he will attend academy.

ALEX ROZIER: Good Morning from outside Seattle! Alex Rozier here. Were here in Burien today for the commission meeting that will decide whether or not Frank Straub, the selection for Spokane Police Chief, will have to go to the police academy in Washington state. '

The city is looking to get a waiver based on his experience. If they don't get a waiver he would have to attend the academy here on the west side for 5 months after taking over in Spokane. I'll have full coverage throughout the day.

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