Ombudsman Says Hiring More Officers Should Be Top Priority - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Ombudsman Says Hiring More Officers Should Be Top Priority

Posted: Updated:

SPOKANE, Wash. - The position of Ombudsman was created to keep the police department accountable after the 2006 beating death of Otto Zehm. Complaints to the Ombudsman's officer were up during 2012, and Ombudsman Tim Burns says it is because more people are aware of the position.

Monday night, Burns presented his annual report to the Spokane City Council, detailing police actions within the last year.

And there were some interesting figures.

While most numbers, including those for SWAT activations, domestic violence calls and vehicle pursuits were similar to 2011 there was one glaring exception: mental health contacts made by officers in 2012 nearly tripled from the year before.

Burns cited better training of officers as the reason why mental health issues have become more recognizable.

The presentation also included a progress report on the 8 recommendations made by the Ombudsman last year that included the publishing of Internal Affairs reports and the hiring of a Communications Director.

One of the biggest issues highlighted was the lack of resources and officers that is having an impact on police responses to calls.  

In the report, Burns also made 4 recommendations for the upcoming year:
  1.   The creation of a special investigator position in the prosecutors office.
  2.     Improving service delivery for public records requests.
  3.     Developing an inquest process for the medical examiner.
  4.       And the implementation of a school resource officer program.
Burns is hoping a partnership with the School District will allow them to bring back the Resource Officer program, which was a victim of budget cuts in 2006.
  
He concedes that with the lack of funds it will be hard to implement all of these suggestions, but the hiring of more officers right now should be the priority.  


 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Priest Lake lots auctioned off

    PHOTOS: Priest Lake lots auctioned off

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:46 PM EDT2014-08-29 00:46:58 GMT
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - 61 cottages sites on Priest Lake were auctioned off in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. >>
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - 61 cottages sites on Priest Lake were auctioned off in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. For years, those already living on the sites leased the land from the State of Idaho, but the State was looking to sell. Residents already living on the sites showed up on Thursday to buy them back, and many were successful. 


    >>
  • Viral Video: Little boy's hysterical response to mother's pregnancy

    Viral Video: Little boy's hysterical response to mother's pregnancy

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:29 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:29:39 GMT
    KHQ.COM - When Shanee Gibson Hart of Fort Lewis, Washington, shared the news about her pregnancy with her son, Tré, she thought he would be thrilled. Instead, his reaction was a little different than expected. "This is exasperating!" Tré exclaimed. "Why you want to get another baby?...That doesn't make no sense!">>
    KHQ.COM - When Shanee Gibson Hart of Fort Lewis, Washington, shared the news about her pregnancy with her son, Tré, she thought he would be thrilled. Instead, his reaction was a little different than expected. "This is exasperating!" Tré exclaimed. "Why you want to get another baby?...That doesn't make no sense!"
    >>
  • Priest Lake Auction: Saying goodbye to home

    Priest Lake Auction: Saying goodbye to home

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:50:23 GMT
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - After years of obstacles for 61 Priest Lake lot lessees, the end comes on Thursday, August 28th. >>
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - After years of obstacles for 61 Priest Lake lot lessees, the end comes on Thursday, August 28th. People who have been leasing land from the state, some more than 40 years, will find out if they get to keep their property in an auction.Back in 2010, the State of Idaho decided to divest more than 300 lake lots on Priest Lake.
    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Suspected gunman manages to elude police after hospital lockdown

    Suspected gunman manages to elude police after hospital lockdown

    Saturday, August 30 2014 2:13 AM EDT2014-08-30 06:13:33 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- A suspected gunman managed to elude police Friday night after a chase that took officers from the Rite Aid on N. Division to Holy Family Hospital on E. Rowan. It all started around 7:30pm Friday night, when police say a man was seen trying to steal items from the Rite Aid.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- A suspected gunman managed to elude police Friday night after a chase that took officers from the Rite Aid on N. Division to Holy Family Hospital on E. Rowan. It all started around 7:30pm Friday night, when police say a man was seen trying to steal items from the Rite Aid. >>
  • Detached garage goes up in flames

    Detached garage goes up in flames

    Saturday, August 30 2014 2:13 AM EDT2014-08-30 06:13:05 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Spokane fire investigators are looking into what caused a detached garage to catch fire Friday night. It happened around 9:30pm at a home near the intersection of East Rowan and North Magnolia. Fire crews had the fire under control about 15 minutes after they arrived on scene, and by 10:00pm the fire was completely out.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Spokane fire investigators are looking into what caused a detached garage to catch fire Friday night. It happened around 9:30pm at a home near the intersection of East Rowan and North Magnolia. Fire crews had the fire under control about 15 minutes after they arrived on scene, and by 10:00pm the fire was completely out.
    >>
  • Scammers pretend to be the IRS

    Scammers pretend to be the IRS

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-08-30 02:00:56 GMT
    It was Ben Franklin said in this world nothing is certain, except death and taxes, but it looks like you can add scammers to that saying. Every year, people pretend to be the IRS to swindle people out of their money. >>
    It was Ben Franklin said in this world nothing is certain, except death and taxes, but it looks like you can add scammers to that saying. Every year, people pretend to be the IRS to swindle people out of their money. >>