6 Questions with Spokane's new Police Chief, Craig Meidl - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

6 Questions with Spokane's new Police Chief, Craig Meidl

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Spokane's newest Police Chief Craig Meidl sat down with KHQ's Dan Kleckner Tuesday for a 6 Questions interview.

45-year-old Chief Meidl said Spokane Mayor David Condon approached him at the end of July and asked if he'd be willing to take over the Police Department on a permanent basis. Dan asked if the Mayor's question surprised him.

"I thought both of the candidates [Dominic Rizzi and Robert Lehner] had some strong qualities," said Meidl. "I think the Mayor was looking for at least the option of a third person. And when he asked me if I would consider it, I said yes I would be interested if he needed me for that role."

Dan then asked if Chief Meidl had any concerns about the possibility of a public outcry that he didn't go through the process.

"You know I hadn't really thought of that at the time," Meidl said. "What I've heard from others is well, the process did work because we did do a search but what we determined was that while these two are great candidates they're not exactly what we're looking for... so why don't we go with this third person? So I guess in a round about way it did work, it just didn't work out necessarily the way people anticipated."

Chief Meidl also met with the family of Otto Zehm, before accepting Mayor Condon's offer. He said it was important to meet with them because of an incident that happened five years ago.

At that time Meidl, along with other police officers, saluted Karl Thompson, the former Spokane Police officer who was convicted of using excessive force in the death of Otto Zehm.

"Many of us had worked with Karl Thompson for years and years and there's a bond that forms when you go on extremely dangerous calls with these officers and you experience things that nobody else experiences. You experience them on a day-to-day basis. And those bonds almost form a family and while we acknowledge that he'd been convicted, he has to serve his time. It's almost like a family member who has been sentenced. You know they have to go do their time, but you still love them and you still care for them. I think what you saw happen during that trial was really the last opportunity we had to say goodbye to him before he was sent off to prison. None of us had any idea of the hurt that would be caused by what we did. I think it's fair to say that almost all of us, if not all of us, were absolutely shocked at how that was interpreted because that was not meant to create harm or hurt. It was not done with any malice whatsoever."

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