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Dude, Where's My Bike? 

A new tool to protect your bicycle; plus, finding a new police ombudsman

click to enlarge HUCKLEBERRYBICYCLES.COM
  • huckleberrybicycles.com

REUNITED

The city of Spokane has developed a new tool to help reunite citizens with their lost or STOLEN BIKE. SpokaneBikeID.org was announced on Monday as a part of Bike to Work Week. The creation of the new tool was spearheaded by Councilman Mike Allen, who says he has had a bicycle "liberated."

Bicycle owners can register their bikes at SpokaneBikeID.org. There they will be asked to enter their contact information, serial number, description of the bicycle and a picture. Those without computers or Internet access can register their bike at their local Spokane C.O.P.S. shop.

Police recover hundreds of bicycles every year. But most are never returned because police have no way of finding their rightful owner.

"We are turning in 40 bikes a month over to auctions with them going unclaimed," said Allen, speaking at a Bike to Work Week event.

Using the new tool, police will check recovered bikes against the database and contact the owner if there's a match.

Earlier this year, a report from the governor found that Spokane accounts for 11 percent of the state's property crime, despite being only 7 percent of the state's population. Mayor David Condon, speaking at the event, noted that the property crime has come down by 15 percent from where it was a year ago. (JAKE THOMAS)

DRAGGING FEET

The deadline to submit applications for the vacant SPOKANE POLICE OMBUDSMAN position ended last Friday, but it doesn't appear the position will be filled any time soon.

Last week, an anxious Spokane City Council passed a resolution telling the Ombudsman Selection Committee, chaired by City Attorney Nancy Isserlis, to send the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission a list of three candidates with haste. The council's thinking behind the resolution was to build a pool of three candidates who could immediately step in should the next permanent ombudsman unexpectedly resign.

The selection committee met this week and hoped to identify potential candidates from the pool of more than 40 applications for the permanent and interim positions, Isserlis says. Information on whether or not the committee made its selections was not available as of press time. After the committee picks candidates, however, it still has to conduct interviews before sending names to the OPO Commission.

Rick Eichstaedt, executive director of the Center for Justice, is frustrated with the committee's feet dragging. The five-and-a-half month gap in independent police oversight is unacceptable, he says. One of his clients submitted a request for an independent review of police conduct stemming from an incident at Boots Bakery, but without an ombudsman, nothing can happen.

"There's no place to go," Eichstaedt says. "Our city constitution calls for an independent ombudsman and, without one, the system is broken." (MITCH RYALS)

SITTING IN JAIL

Two members of a small band of self-proclaimed anarchists who have been camped out on the traffic island between the Spokane Club and the Federal Courthouse since May 10 protesting the city's SIT/LIE ORDINANCE have been arrested. "We're out here for the First Amendment," says 21-year-old Daniel Powell.

Powell and 19-year-old Andrew Jensen were arrested shortly after 9 am Tuesday. Both men were booked into jail for sitting or lying on the sidewalk in a retail zone.

"If we contact someone for sit and lie, having to give a citation is really not what we want to do," says Spokane police Capt. Brad Arleth. "We prefer to let them know what the law says and get their cooperation. The only time we really have to give someone a court date is when we don't get cooperation."

Arleth says there have been about 42 sit/lie arrests in the past year, mostly in 2014. Before these latest arrests, there had only been five arrests so far this year, the last on March 22. (LAEL HENTERLY)

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