NEWS BRIEFS: Spokane's police chief resigns after elections

Plus, Pac-12 leadership is still up in the air, and Spokane's health district will get a new boss

click to enlarge NEWS BRIEFS: Spokane's police chief resigns after elections
Young Kwak photo
Craig Meidl became Spokane's police chief in August 2016.

Last Wednesday, just two days after Mayor Nadine Woodward conceded to Lisa Brown in the Spokane mayoral race, Police Chief Craig Meidl said he will resign at the end of the year. Meidl joined the department in 1994 and was appointed chief in 2016 by Mayor David Condon after Frank Straub was pushed out amid allegations of sexual harassment and creating a hostile workplace. In 2011, Meidl was one of about 50 officers who stood in federal court and saluted Karl Thompson, the former Spokane police officer convicted of on-duty civil rights violations in the 2006 death of Otto Zehm, as he was led away. Meidl apologized for the salute before becoming chief. In his resignation letter, Meidl wrote that it has been an "incredible blessing and honor" to work at the Spokane Police Department, thanked Woodward for her support and wished Brown success. In a statement, Brown thanked Meidl for his service and said she plans to meet with Meidl and assistant Chief Justin Lundgren in coming days to hear their perspectives on the challenges facing Spokane. Meidl's last day will be Dec. 31. (NATE SANFORD)

PAC-12 PANDEMONIUM

Early last week, Whitman County District Court Judge Gary Libey granted Washington State University and Oregon State University sole control of the Pac-12 board of directors. However, the very next day lawyers representing the University of Washington filed an emergency motion to the Washington State Supreme Court to prevent the decision from becoming final. All 10 outgoing schools, represented by UW's lawyers, believe they have the right to any revenue earned by the conference during the 2023-24 school year — even though the only two schools that will still be playing in the conference next year are WSU and OSU. On Thursday, the state's highest court issued a temporary stay of Libey's decision, leaving the college football conference's leadership in limbo for now. The parties have the opportunity to file briefs by Nov. 28 and replies by Dec. 8. (COLTON RASANEN)

NEW HEALTH LEADER

Spokane Regional Health District is set to get a new leader next month after the health board decided to hire Alicia Thompson as the district's new administrative officer. Thompson went to Lewis and Clark High School, served in the Air National Guard, and earned a master's of social work from Eastern Washington University. For several years she worked in various roles at the health district, including as a community health epidemiologist, before leaving to work in health department leadership in Cowlitz County and Great Falls, Montana. She earned a doctorate in public health policy and management in 2019 and became a health director in Arizona. She's set to start on Dec. 11, and will serve as the supervisor to the county health officer and will guide the district's staff. (SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL)

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