Anne Kirkpatrick is the face of public safety in Spokane. As the head of the Spokane Police Department, she’s responsible for a staff of 380 people as well as a budget of $40 million. As a result, Kirkpatrick is often under intense public scrutiny.
“With everything I do, there’s always a critic,” says Kirkpatrick, who aims for transparency and accountability in her work. “Handling criticism can be stressful.”
She also feels the heat whenever she’s involved in personnel matters — from deciding who should get a promotion to punishing misconduct. To thrive in her high-pressure, high-profile role, Kirkpatrick relies on her daily morning routine. When she gets out of bed at around 5:30 am each day, she spends about an hour praying and reading the Bible, she says.
“It’s a time for me to talk to God,” explains Kirkpatrick. “When I spend time reading my Bible, that’s God talking to me, too. … It settles my mind and my soul.”
Kirkpatrick, who has completed two marathons, then goes running for about half an hour before putting her uniform on and heading to the office. “When I go to work, I don’t come up for air,” she says, describing her average day, which usually has her working at least 10 to 11 hours, sometimes as many as 13 to 14.
In addition to her morning routine, Kirkpatrick manages her stress levels by getting enough sleep, spending time with good friends, traveling and getting a change of scenery — “I don’t care if I’m just going to Moses Lake” — and by not trying to hide how she feels.
“I’m not afraid to cry when I need to,” she says. “I’m not afraid of emotions.”