Monday, August 15, 2016

Spokane Police grant ombudsman office access to body camera footage

Posted By on Mon, Aug 15, 2016 at 4:46 PM

click to enlarge A body camera - MITCH RYALS PHOTO
  • Mitch Ryals Photo
  • A body camera

Thanks to negotiations between interim ombudsman Bart Logue and the Spokane Police Guild, Logue's office will now have more access to the Spokane Police Department's body camera footage.

The agreement allows the ombudsman's assistant, Luvimae Omana, access to footage for cases reviewed by the ombudsman's office.

Logue asked the police department to give his office more access to assist in investigations. Given the backlog of cases, he says an extra set of eyes to review footage would help speed things up. 

Originally, the Guild balked at Logue's request, arguing that the city's code allowed only the ombudsman access to body camera footage, not the entire office. Logue disagrees.

"The Spokane Police Guild believes this agreement demonstrates our commitment to try to find solutions on issues through discussion and the process of collective bargaining," Guild President John Griffin writes in a letter to the OPO after the agreement was finalized. "I look forward to working with you in the future."

"I am pleased we were able to reach an amicable agreement with the Guild through a collaborative effort and we look forward to having our requested access granted," Logue writes in a letter to Chief Craig Meidl. "I would like to take the opportunity to reaffirm the OPO's commitment to utilizing Evidence.com solely for auditing and reporting purposes for OPO Involved Investigations..." 

For Logue, access to body camera footage is but one area in which the office needs clarity.

"As we transition to fully implement the charter for independent investigations, there are numerous aspects that will need to be defined," Logue writes in an email. "I need to figure out a way to formally inform SPD in a non-disciplinary manner of any concerns that may come from time to time while viewing body camera footage." 

This is an issue Logue brought up when we wrote about him back in May. 

He says he also just finished a working draft of OPO policies and procedures, which was a DOJ recommendation.

"Now I need to start thinking about the challenges of next week," he writes.
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