U.S. Dept. of Justice releases recommendations for SPD - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

U.S. Dept. of Justice releases recommendations for SPD

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The COPS office first announced the beginning of the Collaborative Reform Review in February 2013. The COPS office first announced the beginning of the Collaborative Reform Review in February 2013.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

After nearly two years of review and assessment of policies, training and operations relating to the Spokane Police Department's use of force and interactions with citizens, the COPS office released their report on the use of force tactics over the last five years by the Spokane Police Department. 

You can read about the process the DOJ took to reach their recommendations to the right of this article.

You can also read the report in it's entirety by clicking on the link to the right of this article.

During the press conference, Mayor David Condon and Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub both said all of the recommendations submitted by the Department of Justice will be implemented. Among those recommendations outlined by our partners at The Spokesman Review:

  • Consistent reporting of use of force incidents using standard software suggested by the Department of Justice, BlueTeam.
  • Meeting with the Use of Force Commission to determine whether a department culture audit is needed.
  • Study the patterns and behaviors of officers with repeated uses of force. Also, reduce the number of incidents per year that require the review of an officer from 6 to 4.
  • Evaluate whether to continue the use of the lateral vascular neck restraint, a controversial “bloodhold” that has spawned lawsuits across the country.
  • Update the department's rifle policy: When to use them, and who needs to carry them.
  • Speed up the Internal Affairs procedures for officer-involved homicides.
  • Develop a list of bylaws for the Office of the Police Ombudsman.
  • Invite the Office of the Police Ombudsman to participate in Use of Force training.
  • Hold a citizen's academy to illustrate Use of Force training to the public.
  • Create a Police Chief's Advisory Council to solicit input from the public.
  • Conduct a staffing study for the department to see where more officers are needed.
  • Allow agencies whose officers have used force and launched a Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team investigation to timely release information to the media about the event.

Again, you can read the full report by clicking on the PDF link to the right of this article. 

The Department of Justice came to Spokane at the request of Chief Straub and Mayor Condon shortly after Straub was hired to review the practices of the Spokane Police Department. Spokane is only the second city to undergo such a review, with Las Vegas being the first. After implementing the recommendations of the review board, use of force complaints against Las Vegas Police Officer fell 18 percent. Officer-involved shootings also declined. 

The recommendations by The Department of Justice will be revisited, and a progress report will be released in six months to determine the effectiveness of the new policies. 


Release about the press conference:

Director Ronald Davis of the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby for the Eastern District of Washington, Spokane Mayor David Condon and Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub will hold a press conference on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. PST, to discuss the release of Collaborative Reform Model: A Review of Use of Force Policies, Processes, and Practices in the Spokane Police Department. The report details the findings and plan of action for reform at the Spokane Police Department.

The COPS office first announced the beginning of the Collaborative Reform Review in February 2013. The scope of the work announced today will include an assessment of policies, training and operations as they relate to use of force and interactions with citizens, taking into account national standards, best practices, current and emerging research, and community expectations.

The new report will focus on the use of force tactics used over the last five years, including an analysis of policies, training, investigation and community outreach efforts. Interviews were conducted with 140 area stakeholders, including community members, current and former officers and prosecutors, community organizations and police union officials. Among the findings in the Spokane Police Department report is the need for improvements to use of force documentation and investigation. The report also calls for formalizing the roles and responsibilities of the ombudsman and the commission members.

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