(By guest contributor Tim Connor) It has now been almost five months since voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 in Spokane, the city charter amendment that requires the City to have an independent police ombudsman. And, yet, we still don’t. Ombudsman Tim Burns’s continues to be shackled by the terms of a 2008 “interim” agreement negotiated behind closed doors between former Mayor Mary Verner and the Spokane Police Guild. He cannot conduct the independent investigations that are now required by the city charter, nor can he issue the independent reports that Proposition 1 requires.
(Letter to the Editor) It seems the Spokane City Council has moved a large leap forward in affording the citizens adequate police oversight. The Office of Police Ombudsman has never had the authority to effect adequate independent review of excessive use of force complaints. To be effective and respected that must be part of the job description of the Ombudsman.
Serious, deadly serious at times, excessive use of force is still rampant in our Nation. The Council has placed on an early February ballot (Ballots to be mailed beginning January 25th) a measure to change the Charter of the City of Spokane to include effective independent review of complaints by our Office of Police Ombudsman for the City of Spokane. I would urge you to consider casting your vote in favor of this long needed independent review. (Links and video added by editor.)
You know . . . sometimes you meet another person and realize you have met a great human being. While speaking in Spokane oationn the need for police reform, retired Seattle Police Chief, Norm Stamper, gave me that much respect. It was not because of his accomplishments, knowledge, or oratory skills. While significant, these are not the source of his exceptionalism.
It is his humility and courage behind it. Norm Stamper has the self-honesty to share his own mistakes and lessons learned, and do so in a way that compels others to examine their own life and strive for self improvement. In the movement for police reform, Norm Stamper is a leader in the best possible way . . . by example.
In the video to the right, Chief Stamper discusses the time he falsely arrested a citizen out of power lust, and how having to confront what he did changed him into the reformer he is.
Spokane is the major city in Eastern Washington. For a century, it has been a cultural, economic, and political hub of the Inland Northwest. It was once a railroad town. However, the trains are now few. Our economy has become more centered on light industry and the information economy.
We held the World's Fair in the 70s, and we still host Hoopfest, Pigout in the Park, and the Lilac Festival. If you like small town's that feel big. You will like Spokane.