Spokane County Commissioners hired Greg Conner to lead the sheriff's Office of Professional Standards, the internal investigative arm of the department. The commissioners voted unanimously for the hire this afternoon.
Conner, who recently retired as an undersheriff for the county, will be hired on through a contract as a consultant, which means he won't receive medical or retirement benefits.
According to Lt. Gary Smith, who currently leads the office, Conner will "manage and oversee all the internal affairs functions of the department," including allegations against commissioned officers and non-commissioned personnel, such as those that work at Geiger and the jail. Conner will also deal with public disclosure requests, civil lawsuits and risk management requests.
Smith just took over the office on May 1, from Lt. Earl Howerton. When Conner starts, Smith will be placed in the patrol division.
Conner set up the Office of Professional Standards in 1996 and ran it for more than a decade.
Just 32 minutes after accusing KREM reporter Marissa Bagg of trespassing at the home of Deputy Brian Herzel, Spokane County Sheriff spokesman Dave Reagan is eating crow.
He says, in another press release:
Subsequent to the earlier e-mail regarding KREM's visit to the Hirzel residence in North Idaho, I have reviewed their video and what was described as trespassing was not. The reporter, Marissa Bagg, walked to the front door of the home and knocked while her videographer filmed from the end of the walkway. Marissa received no answer at the home and interviewed a neighbor instead. Based on what the children told Kootenai County deputies, the kids were obviously shaken and may have overstated the event in recounting it to deputies. Marissa and her editor have assured me that they approached the story (and home) respectfully, and the video bears that out.
As stated previously, this officer-involved shooting has affected many in the community, including those of us who are interested in helping Deputy Hirzel and his family through what may be a lengthy investigation.
Spokane County Sheriff's spokesman Dave Reagan just sent out a press release chastising KREM reporter Marissa Bagg, saying she and her camera guy trespassed at the home of Deputy Brian Hirzel, the officer involved in the shooting of 74-year-old pastor Wayne Scott Creach last Thursday.
According to Reagan:
On Tuesday afternoon, KREM reporter Marissa Beggs and her photographer went to the home of Deputy Hirzel in North Idaho and trespassed on the property in order to get a camera up to the windows of the home. Brian and his wife are out of the area, and the "news" team scared the children in the home. Three Kootenai County Sheriff's patrol units responded to the home, called away from their normal duties.
This is inappropriate, and if anyone in the media needed a textbook reason for temporarily withholding the names of officers involved in shootings, this would be it. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Hirzel and I request that you not victimize his family by this type of action.
... and pick up a book. Or a Kindle. Whatever. But in your dying moments, are you gonna be happy about all that time you spent watching Kardashians? (Weren't they on Next Generation?) Anyway, you've been meaning to read more. So read more.
Everything, by Kevin Canty (Nan A. Talese, July 6)
A story about friends in backcountry Montana — grief, cancer, adultery and real estate all come into play in this multiple-narrative, shifting-viewpoint novel. (The daughter's going off to attend UW.)
Everything Asian, by Sung J. Woo (St. Martin's Griffin, July 20)
A novel focusing on immigration issues from the standpoint of a Korean boy who didn't particularly want to immigrate. (Dad left Korea years ago, and now he works in a crappy strip mall in New Jersey.) David and his sister are embarrassed by their parents, struggle with ESL classes, hate Dad's store, and enjoy using their native language to insult oblivious Americans.
Vestments, by John Reimringer (Milkweed, Sept. 7)
A working-class kid in Minnesota tries to find happiness by getting himself ordained as a priest. One problem: He's just a regular guy who likes sports, drinking and poker. And women. In this novel, flesh tussles with spirit, but no, it isn't just a melodrama, and the flesh doesn't always win. (While Reimringer has worked at newspapers, in public relations, as an English instructor, and as a youth hostel night porter in Edinburgh, he has never been a priest.)
The Grand Design, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (Bantam, Sept. 7)
Two physicists tackle the Big Questions: Why is there something instead of nothing? Why do humans exist? Why, exactly, is Earth in the "Goldilocks Zone" (not too hot, not too cold)? And what's the chance that emerging Grand Unified Field Theories (which subsume string theory and fill in some gaps in quantum theory) might eventually explain existence without resorting to an Intelligent Designer? Hawking spent four years writing this sequel to A Brief History of Time (1988), which — because it was intended for a general audience — famously included only a single equation. The two authors answer the Goldilocks question by promoting the ideas of multiverses: The reason that our universe suits us as a life form is that ours is only one of many universes created by the Big Bang.
The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel (Picador, Aug. 3 paperback; originally published Sept. 2009)
Finkel embedded with a battalion of Army Rangers during the Iraq War surge. Not completely rah-rah, but not completely anti-war, either.
Every Tuesday, all the latest video games, DVDs and CDs are released, taunting you with their entertainment possibilities. In order that we might entice you further into wasting your hard-earned money on tasteless tsotchkes, here's a run-down of what's out today. (Read previous posts.)
Now 35, Various Artists
OMG, you guys! Since this week in releases is already like a blast from the past (of zombies!) with Papa Roach, Sum 41 and the Goo Goo Dolls, why not spotlight the CDs everyone bought before they were cool enough to know what music they were told was cool? If for some reason the half-dozen Clear Channel radio stations in your town are on the fritz and you just can't find any Top 40 hits from last year, this is the anarchic media format for you! NOW 35 features "California Gurls" by Katy Perry, some track by the Biebster and a Nickelback song released last November. Nickelback, you guys! OMG weren't they just the awesomzorrzz??!?! I'm gonna slide on my Jellies, frost my hair tips, put this in my Discman and RAWK OUT! But wait ... the U.K. version of NOW is up to No. 76. We have to beat them!! Or the terrorists win, you guys! (The Brits are terrorists, right? You've tasted their food.)
Metroid: Other M (Wii)
Officially, this a sequel to the original Metroid (released in 1994), which technically served as the continuation of the prequel trilogy that came out for the GameCube and the Wii. Sufficiently confused? Good to hear. Like most Wii games, it provides a decent combination of traditional gameplay with Wii-specific maneuvers to take advantage of the Wiimote. Though heavier on story than past iterations, it doesn't detract from the gameplay: You're still the genderless (OK, Samus is female, but you can't tell under the armor) bounty hunter out to kill anything that so much as twitches. Free-roaming adventures are nice (as opposed to the side-scrolling shenanigans in all iterations save Metroid: Prime), but apparently a free-floating camera is still impossible to implement properly on the Wii — which comes as no surprise given the whopping eight buttons available. Hope you don't ever have to go back in a level, because the pre-programmed camera doesn't swivel around to show you where you're heading. There are some bizarre choices made by the developers, chief among them the ability-learning system. Where in the past Samus would have to upgrade herself in order to gain abilities, in Other M she already has them, but "respects her commanding officer" and so deactivates all her abilities, and will only reactivate them on his order. As we all know from playing racing games that advertise cruising around in Ferraris and proceed to force you to careen around in a Ford Windstar for half the game, the best part of playing games is not being able to use the features advertised on the box until after an arbitrary amount of game time has passed. That aside, Other M is still Metroid, and still enjoyable; just with a few caveats.
Firefighters got bad info Firefighters responding to a fatal house fire on East Ermina on Sunday morning took ten minutes to arrive — twice the time it should have taken them — because they were sent to a wrong address the first time. (NWCN)
Red turf gets national press The bizarre new field treatment at Eastern gets some love from USA Today.
Churches for sale? With a $1 million fund to pay abuse victims running out, the Spokane diocese is considering selling church property. (SR)
Classic Montanan wedding ritual A 31-year-old Three Forks man who showed up to his sister's wedding and socked her in the mouth with a wrench faces criminal charges. (Missoulian)
If we were into super-cheese ball country about boozin' and women and truckin', we'd be all over this deal! Turns out tomorrow's Twenty Dollar Tuesday: That means you can pick up two tickets for just 20 bucks to the Sept. 9 Brad Paisley/Darius Rucker/Justin Moore show at the Spokane Arena. Thing is, the deal is valid only for tomorrow, starting at 10 am. Stop on by the Arena box office, log on to ticketswest.com or get on the horn to (800) 325-SEAT to take advantage.
While most subjects of the Inland Empire are discussing who won what Emmy's yesterday, here in The Inlander newsroom, we're all about another exciting week in government machinations.
What will Spokane city council members utter during their rapturous council reports? What will Bill Gothmann note and comment upon this week in his weekly email? How many times will Commissioner Bonnie Mager find herself on the lonely end of a 2-1 vote?
Break a leg. On Nov. 17, 2009, Ronald Knutson was touring the old Carnation Dairy building in downtown Spokane, which is currently owned by the city, as a potential contractor for a hazardous materials survey. On his way down a four-foot ladder, Knutson fell and broke his tibular platform, otherwise known as his knee. During reconstructive surgery, a blood clot released and caused Knutson to suffer a pulmonary aneurysm. Tonight, the city council will vote to settle a civil claim (pdf) against the city for $190,000.
Park Aid. Tomorrow, Spokane County commissioners will vote to give the city of Spokane $380,000. The money comes from Conservation Future Funds and will go toward the purchase of the Gusman property, 100 acres in the Palisades.
Vaycay. The Spokane Valley City Council will not meet this week.
Downtown watched With Pig Out in the Park beginning this week, some 50 downtown intersections are being watched by surveillance cameras. (SR)
Scott Creach memorial The memorial for the pastor shot to death by a Spokane Valley police officer last week begins at 10 am today, at Greenacres Baptist Church. (KXLY)
BMW crash kills three Traffic investigators found three men were killed when the BMW they were in crashed into a pair of trees. Half a bottle of whiskey and a shotgun were found in the car. (KREM)
Water OK to drink... in 2 weeks Residents of a Post Falls manufactured home community, who were instructed to boil their water for safety in May, are being told the problem will be under control within two weeks. (CdA Press)
No loan, "crazy-ass bitch" A nonprofit set up to manage loans for businesses affected by light rail construction in Seattle sent a business owner there a profanity-laced rejection letter. (KIRO)
Whoa. Last weekend of August? Crawl out from under that rock and get out there this weekend before your memories of summer are deep under some snowbank.
When drummers refer to "the greats," they're talking about this guy. Ed Shaughnessy, like Buddy Rich or Art Blakey, is a jazz legend, having played as the Tonight Show's drummer (in the Carson days). He'll play — of all places — the Shadle Park High School Grand Reopening tonight, along with the Bob Curnow Band. 7 pm. $10 - $15. All-ages. (4327 N. Ash)
They've ditched the veggie van (a vegetable-oil powered tour van), but Boston-based band the Grownup Noise has gained attention for much more since then — namely their opening spot for Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. They'll come play a new spot — Nyne — tonight with hometown favorite Mark Ward. 9 pm. $5. Gotta be 21.
Christmas! Not the holiday, but almost as good. The Olympia-based surf punk bands is a hoot and a half and will cram into the Baby Bar tomorrow night. 10 pm. Free. Gotta be 21.
Screw Lilith Fair! We've got the Lilac Fair. The brains at Empyrean are throwing the first annual Fair as a benefit show for Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, and it features a pretty amazing lineup of local female musicians, artists, dancers, performers and crafters. In fact, the day-long festival inspired us to write this article on local female musicians this week. The show starts off at 3 pm tomorrow, and ends late tomorrow night with a performance by Pasties & Paddles. All-ages.
Local masters of all things groovy, the long-standing jam/fun outfit Groove Patrol struts its stuff tomorrow night for an epic CD release show at Ichiban (202 W. 2nd). 8 pm. Gotta be 21.
And last, but (for volume alone) hardly the least: The loudest metal duo on the planet (this is not proven, but I'd put money on it) returns to Spokane for a show tomorrow at the Seaside. Jucifer, a husband, wife and wall of sound, takes the stage for their umpteenth show here in the 'Kan with Anadonia, the Toy Garden and Belt of Vapor. 9 pm. $5. Gotta be 21.
And you could always go see the Nuge on Sunday (Knitting Factory). Or you could sleep and not get shot with a bow and arrow.