Monday, March 4, 2013

Use of Force Commission criticizes SPD culture in final report

Posted By on Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Identifying several issues within the culture at the Spokane Police Department for the first time, the city's Use of Force Commission recently released its final updated report on recommended police reforms.

The commission presented its final report to the Mayor's Office last week, outlining a handful of revised recommendations and a new section on cultural shortcomings. The entire final report can be read below.

The commission has also agreed to conduct a review of the department's progress on implementing their recommendations in six months, after a year and after two years.

"As this project comes to an end, we are optimistic about the future of the SPD and the City as it relates to creating a safer and more just City of Spokane," the commission writes in its cover letter.

The commission had previously recommended a cultural audit of the department in its draft report, but stopped short of making any specific judgments. After urging from the Center for Justice to comment on the department's cultural issues, the commission listed several troubling observations:

"In encounters with SPD members, some members of the Commission were struck by a sense of demoralization or defensiveness by some within the ranks and, at the same time, a lack of appreciation for the extent of the breach of trust that has occurred between the SPD and the community that it serves. The Commission believes that the SPD’s culture needs to be improved when it comes to issues of professionalism, transparency, public mindedness, and generosity of service, especially towards community members from marginalized populations."

But the commission balanced that by emphasizing the department includes, "many individuals of good faith who are doing their best in a noble profession."

In other updates, the new commission report recommended a review of the training resources available to implement new Crisis Intervention Training for all officers. They also encouraged the department to work with the Spokane Regional Justice Commission to address public concerns about racial bias.

Mayor David Condon announced earlier today the commission had agreed to review the SPD's progress three times throughout the next two years.

"Regular reviews by the Use of Force Commission are an important part of fulfilling our commitment to making changes that will improve public trust and confidence in the Spokane Police Department," he says in a statement.

City of Spokane Use of Force Commission, Final Report

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Jacob Jones

Staff writer Jacob Jones covers criminal justice, natural resources, military issues and organized labor for the Inlander.