Use of Force Commission approves of Spokane Police Department's - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Use of Force Commission approves of Spokane Police Department's progress

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The Spokane Police Department, as referenced in the Commission’s letter, has made great progress in the initiation or completion of all police-specific recommendations. The Spokane Police Department, as referenced in the Commission’s letter, has made great progress in the initiation or completion of all police-specific recommendations.
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SPOKANE, Wash. -

A month after delivering their final report to the Use of Force Commission, Mayor David Condon and Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub received a stamp of approval from the commission last week.In their report last month, Condon and Straub outlined the progress of the Spokane Police Department in implementing the Commission's 26 recommendations.

All police-specific recommendations have been initiated, are complete or are in the process of being completed. They say other recommendations will continue to be implemented through training and policy development. A letter sent last week to Straub and Condon from the Use of Force Commission commends the Mayor and Police Chief for the progress the Department has made.

“The vast majority of our twenty-six (26) recommendations have been followed to the letter of the law, and in all other instances the spirit of our recommendations has been embraced to drive improvement,” the letter signed by all members of the commission stated. "In filing this letter, the Use of Force Commission completes its work. We are very pleased to see the many initiatives being undertaken to make Spokane a more welcoming and safe community for all."

Overall crime and use of force incidents were down in 2014 according to Chief Straub's 2014 end-of-year report. In 2014, violent crime was down 19.72 percent, property crime was down 7.52 percent and overall crime was down 8.36 percent. Officers also reduced use of force incidents by 22 percent. Force was used in less than one-tenth of one percent of all community contacts.

The City of Spokane and the Spokane Police Department say they are committed to implementing all forty-two (42) DOJ-COPS recommendations within the next eighteen (18) months. 

Among the recommendations submitted by the Use of Force Commission:

  • 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.

Read the Commission's entire letter to Mayor Condon and Chief Straub, along with the DOJ's entire list of recommendations by clicking on the links to the right of this story.

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