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Mayor Announces Outside Team To Conduct Review

Citizens to get answers they deserve

Release Date: 8/1/2006 9:00:00 AM

Contact: Marlene Feist, 625-6740

Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession today announced that he has selected two organizations—Police Practices Consulting LLC., of Louisville, Ky., and the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs (WASPC)—to conduct an outside review about recent issues at the Spokane Police Department.

Police Practices Consulting will conduct an outside review of police response in the Otto Zehm and former firefighter Daniel Ross cases and provide recommendations related to citizen oversight. WASPC will conduct a broader review of police procedures, practices, training, and communications in light of concerns raised in those two recent cases. All of the work is expected to cost about $11,000.

“These two organizations together will provide us with a comprehensive evaluation of the issues that have been raised and what changes may be needed,” says Mayor Hession. “The citizens deserve to have answers to the questions that have been identified.”

Police Practices Consulting’s principal consultant—Mike Worley, who is the former police chief of Meridian, Idaho—will conduct its review. He is expected to begin in mid-August. In his review of the Zehm and Ross cases, Worley will focus on use of force, arrest procedures, investigative procedures, evidence handling, internal investigation procedures, police interaction with mentally challenged individuals, and related issues. Worley is highly recommended as an incident-specific investigator and has experience with citizen oversight models.

Meanwhile, WASPC is expected to begin its review in September, following a formal request to conduct that work by Spokane’s Acting Chief Jim Nicks. WASPC came recommended by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Washington State Patrol, and by experts affiliated with Washington State University.

The organization’s review will be very broad and may include subjects as diverse as police and community interaction, public access and information, management and organization, operations and enforcement, policies and procedures, records management, evidence and property control, communications, training, complaints and discipline, and safety. WASPC will assemble a team of reviewers who will visit Spokane and bring a critical and objective eye to these issues.

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