Friday, November 11, 2011

Spokane police chief announces retirement on Jan. 2 amid rumors

Posted on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick will retire on Jan. 2 of next year, the city announced today after an erroneous report by a local broadcaster said she would leave the department effective today.

“The new year provides an opportunity to start fresh,” Kirkpatrick said in a statement. “I have been honored to serve as the Chief of Police, and I thank SPD’s employees, the City’s elected leadership, and most importantly, the citizens for this opportunity.”

It's been long reported that Kirkpatrick would leave sometime in the new year, but last night KXLY reported that she would leave as early as today, citing anonymous sources in the police department. 

"It is a combination of factors that has left the chief as demoralized as her rank-and-file officers," Jeff Humphrey reported, citing Tuesday's election results — which has almost assuredly taken out Mayor Mary Verner and brought in a new bloc of council members — and two losses in court last week: the conviction of Officer Karl Thompson and the suit brought by fired cop Jay Mehring.

But Humphrey's information was quickly reduced to rumor today after other media outlets squashed the report by making a few calls to City Hall. 

"City says report that Chief Kirkpatrick will resign as early as today is false. She'll be here at least til end of year," the Spokesman's Meghann Cuniff wrote on Twitter this morning.

Still, with Kirkpatrick's retirement now solid, the city must now find a new chief — something done just five years ago, when then-Mayor Dennis Hession chose Kirkpatrick to reform the department and build trust with the community.

The Inlander reported recently that Verner has already quietly begun a search process at City Hall. But now that it's almost certain that she will leave City Hall at the end of the year, David Condon has the hard job of finding a new head for the police department.

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