Pin It
Favorite

Two Into One 

The SPD and the County Sheriff's Department should eliminate redundancy and merge. It's worked in other cities.

click to enlarge art15117.jpg

Quick: Why do we have two big police departments servicing the same area? Stumped? There’s only one answer: Because that’s how we’ve always done it. And in this brutal new economic world (just ask California — or Greece — how tough it’s become), doing the same thing isn’t good enough any more.

The Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department do serve different areas, but they perform the same function pretty much out of the same headquarters. When public safety can make up 70 percent of a local government’s budget, this redundancy is hard to ignore.

Right now, the conditions may be perfect to start looking into a combined Spokane Metro Police Department. Why now? We’re a little desperate, as budget problems are leading to more and more cuts to public safety. And on the City of Spokane’s side, we unfortunately have a department mired in an ongoing public relations problem with its citizens — along with a chief being actively recruited to leave for a bigger post. I love the SPD and the crucial work they do for us all, but if there were ever a time the community needed to turn the page, this might be it.

This doesn’t mean the Sheriff’s Office would take over — no, there would be lots of details to work out. I can’t believe I’m saying this, as blue-ribbon commissions are where so many good ideas go to die, but we need a dynamic study committee to make a recommendation.

All of us deserve to see what they would ind — even if it’s just to combine certain functions. I am skeptical that a monolithic department would automatically be better. Then again, there is evidence that the approach works, as more and more municipalities are merging or studying it. Already places like Indianapolis, Nashville and Louisville have combined their police departments, often as part of a greater city-county merger.

In Louisville, after combining several functions throughout the 1990s, the Jefferson County Police Department and the Louisville Division of Police merged in 2003. Today, Louisville Metro Police serves about 700,000 residents; after the merger, they cut duplication and got more cops on the streets, with about 1,250 police officers out of a total staff of about 1,500.

This won’t be easy — there’s a chasm of political turf separating all our local competing parties. But this is no time to just keep doing what we’ve always done.

Ted S. McGregor Jr. is the Editor and Publisher of The Inlander.

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

Latest in Comment

  • Growing Pains
  • Growing Pains

    When the only constant is change itself, we'd best saddle up and make the most of it
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Access for Sale?
  • Access for Sale?

    Trail Mix: Clinton's shaky Foundation, Trump's questionable staffers
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Why I'm With Her
  • Why I'm With Her

    Ignore the chants: Hillary Clinton has earned America's trust from her life of public service
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • Staying Engaged
  • Staying Engaged

    From the Mayfair Cafe to Central Park
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • Institutional Amnesia
  • Institutional Amnesia

    Threading the needle between reform and revolution
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • For Your Consideration
  • For Your Consideration

    Classic rock, a modern Altman classic and the big man throws it down (on paper)
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • 'Unreasonable Threat to Life and Property'

    Spokane's rental housing has problems, but landlord and tenant groups are split on a solution
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • 'End of Story'

    Condon administration aims to close the controversial Frank Straub chapter — but last week's scathing report has irrevocably changed the narrative
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


election 2016


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • A Persistent Life
  • A Persistent Life

    Scott Reed won more cases than he lost in life, and the beauty of the Coeur d'Alene area has been the beneficiary
    • May 27, 2015
  • The Rachel We Knew
  • The Rachel We Knew

    EDITOR'S NOTE: How Rachel Dolezal came to write for the Inlander
    • Jun 18, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation