On the heels of two new reports on police reform, Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub says he would like to move the department’s police headquarters into downtown within the next year or two.
“We’re having discussions to make that happen,” the chief says. “Whether I can make that happen in 2013, I don’t know, but we’ll certainly move to get that done as quickly as we can.”
Straub, who took over the department this fall, recently announced several command structure changes at the department. The reorganization shifts several command divisions, but also adds another seven Neighborhood Conditions Officers to the downtown area.
The downtown core makes up the economic and cultural heart of the Inland Northwest, Straub says. He believes moving the headquarters downtown would provide a more embedded police presence to help facilitate community engagement and promote public safety.
“That, I think, is critically important,” he says, speaking after a briefing downtown. “Eventually, I’d like to move police headquarters over here ... downtown.”
Straub did not discuss details of the potential move, but explained the department had already looked at sites appropriate for housing a downtown headquarters.
“There is a location that we’re looking at now that seems more central to the downtown,” he says, “which will allow us to move maybe some significant operations there.”
News archives show the Spokane Police Department combined operations within its current home in the Public Safety Building in 1970. Law enforcement officials later opposed a city proposal in 1986 to move the police administration into City Hall, saying it would disrupt communication and department collaboration.