By Pia K. Hansen

Profiling policy

SPOKANE -- The Spokane Police Department recently adopted a new policy aimed at stopping any racial profiling. Tonight, as part of the yearlong process of shaping the new policy, there will be a public meeting at East Central Community Center hosted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Spokane branch (NAACP).

"We are very happy that the Police Department has adopted this policy. For over a year, thanks to Eileen Thomas, there were meetings held with Police Chief Bragdon and many others," says Florrie Brassier, president of NAACP in Spokane. "They focused on the issue of racial profiling and the general lack of trust between the law enforcement and people of color."

Throughout those meetings, the NAACP asked specifically for two things: that data be collected and analyzed by the police department and for a public meeting.

"They are going to collect data and analyze it on an ongoing basis, and the meeting is the one we're having now," says Brassier.

Copies of the policy will be available at the meeting, which is otherwise open for people to speak up about racial profiling.

"People can come and express themselves and share any suggestions; it's not too late to comment," says Brassier. "Police Chief Bragdon has promised us that any revisions suggested at the meeting will be looked upon immediately."

The meeting is Thursday, July 26, at 7 pm at the East Central Community Center. Call: 325-2665.

River rally

SPOKANE -- The Lands Council (LC) is hosting a save the Spokane River Rally this Saturday beginning at noon in Riverfront Park.

"This really is focused on the heavy metal pollution in the river, resulting from decades of mining operations in North Idaho," says Mike Petersen, conservation director for the LC. "This is not about the Burlington Northern refueling depot or about the PCBs or anything like that."

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell will be speaking along with representatives of four Native American Tribes, and more than 25 environmental organizations will be there with booths and fliers as well.

"We focus on mainly lead, zinc, arsenic and cadmium," says Petersen. "Lead gets a lot of attention, and it should. But zinc is really bad for aquatic life, because it ties up reproductive ability in fish. Arsenic is poisonous, and cadmium is a heavy metal which just runs amok in the human body." The levels of arsenic and cadmium are not as elevated as the levels of lead.

Cleanup discussions for the Coeur d'Alene Basin have been ongoing for many years, and environmentalists as well as politicians in Washington state are still fighting for their places at the negotiating table.

"We want a bi-state cleanup involving both Idaho and Washington," says Petersen. None of the invited Idaho politicians had confirmed their attendance as of Tuesday.

Rally for the River begins at noon on Saturday, July 28, in the Gondola Meadow in Riverfront Park across from City Hall. Musician Jim Boyd will be performing as well. Call: 838-4912.

Northwest Winterfest @ Spokane County Fair & Expo Center

Fridays, 5-8 p.m., Saturdays, 4-8 p.m. and Sundays, 3-6 p.m. Continues through Jan. 1
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