Thursday, January 7, 2016

[UPDATED] Spokane Police captain investigated for moving furniture

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 10:07 AM

Spokane Police Captain Brad Arleth was put on paid administrative leave earlier this week for a dustup over the movement of furniture from the old downtown precinct to the new location at the Intermodal Center, an unnamed source in City Hall told the Spokesman-Review. 

KXLY is reporting that Arleth was put on leave for insubordination, which would imply that he was told he couldn't move furniture from his old office to his new office and did it anyway. At a news conference this week, Interim Chief Rick Dobrow would not confirm the complaint against Arleth.

Typically, a police employee is put on administrative leave if he or she is being investigated for a crime, as was the case with Sgt. Gordon Ennis and Sgt. John Gately, who are being investigated for rape and obstructing respectively.

Officers involved in a shooting will also land him or her on paid leave status, says SPD Sgt. David Staben, because the incident launches an criminal investigation.

"The reason we put people on leave is to protect the integrity of the investigation," Staben says. "These are extremely stressful situations for these officers. Their career could be on the line, and if they're allowed to have contact with citizens, the added stress of the investigation could put them and the public in danger."

He adds that putting an officer on paid leave for extra-criminal issues is not "routine."

Looking through the database of officers who were put on leave from 2012-2015, Staben found three officers put on leave for non-criminal issues:

• 2015: no officers were put on leave for reasons other than a criminal investigation.

• 2014: Sgt. Chet Gilmore had sex on duty, which is not a criminal charge, but a violation of policy. He resigned in March of that year. Lydia Taylor was put on leave for lying to investigators about her husband's steroid use. Mel Taylor, who was also a cop, was being investigated by the FBI for having steroids sent to his home. Both Taylors were professional body builders. Mel Taylor eventually retired ahead of any disciplinary action; Lydia Taylor was found to have lied and was demoted to detective. She is still an employee. 

2013: Officer Barry O'Connell was placed on leave for filing a false police report. He retired ahead of investigators' recommendation that he be fired. O'Connell was put on leave for three other incidents throughout his career as well, the Spokesman reported in 2014 — once in 2012 after his daughter shot herself in the leg with his service weapon, once in 2010 for retaliating against a woman after a "road rage" confrontation, and in 2009 when he was accused of sexual harassment. 

Throughout his career, O'Connell was also the subject of 15 internal affairs investigations. 

2012: no officers were put on administrative leave for reasons other than officer involved shootings, Staben says. 

Now Arleth, who reportedly is accused of moving furniture when he was told not to, joins these ranks.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story reported that Dobrow told reporters Arleth was being investigated for insubordination, but that information came from KXLY "sources." 

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Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.