Spokane Police Guild to Chief & Public: We’ll investigate ourselves
Posted by Arroyoribera on August 18, 2007
Chief Kirkpatrick and Sheriff Knezovich defied the Spokane Police Guild earlier this year by calling for an end to the absurd and un-American practice of the Spokane Police Department investigating its own alleged crimes and misconduct. Kirkpatrick and Knezovich’s intentions are vehemently opposed by the Guild, of course.
Composed of 270 members who have been involved in repeated homicides, amateurish pranks, brutal attacks on citizens, civil rights violations, and corrupt practices, the Guild is on the defensive and taking the offensive. Per the Spokesman-Review, Guild Vice President Jeff Harvey recently stated, “This decision is taking work away from the police department.” Harvey continued, “We want the best investigators to do the job. We want the best outcome for both the officer and the public.”
Earth to Spokane Police Guild: “You work for us, the citizens who pay your salary, and we want the best non-Spokane Police Department investigator determining whether or not our dead fellow citizens were murdered by cops or whether or not the cops were actually protecting us in killing alleged criminals.” Comprende?
Even under Kirkpatrick and Knezovich’s plan, there are significant problems. Kirkpatrick has stated that while the SPD would not be the lead agency in investigating itself, the SPD would be part of the investigative team and the Guild and the city would agree on the investigators who would be involved.
Let’s see, Chief, does mean that if I am accused of a crime I can chose the investigators and perhaps even suggest that my mother be part of the investigative team? To quote Officer Harvey, not only do I want but I am entitled to “the best investigator to do the job” and want the “best outcome” for both myself and in terms of our increasingly perverted sense of truth and justice.
SPOKANE, Wash. — The union representing Spokane police officers says a rule requiring an outside agency to investigate officer-involved shootings is an unfair labor practice.
After a series of on- and off-duty shootings by officers, Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich last year agreed to the “fatal incident protocol” that requires investigations led by another law enforcement agency.
“This decision is taking work away from the police department,” Spokane Police Guild Vice President Jeff Harvey told The Spokesman-Review in an article published Thursday. “We want the best investigators to do the job. We want the best outcome for both the officer and the public.”
The guild, which represents about 270 police department employees, filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the city.
The protocol was changed after high-profile incidents involving both agencies. It replaced a system in which city detectives would take the lead role in the investigation when a Spokane police officer was involved in a shooting, with the sheriff’s office assisting.
Kirkpatrick and Knezovich said transferring investigations to the other agency shows transparency and avoids potential conflicts of interest and accusations of an agency unfairly protecting its own officers.
“We will not investigate our own,” Kirkpatrick said Wednesday. “I’ve always taken the position that if an officer is involved in a critical incident that we would not investigate our own.”
The protocol requiring independent investigations is routinely used by other law enforcement agencies, she said.
The police union is arguing that the change should have been negotiated before going into effect and is asking that the protocol be suspended during negotiations.
Kirkpatrick said she won’t budge unless a judge forces the issue.
The police chief said the complaint, filed in April while a new labor contract was being negotiated, forces both sides to try to find a resolution.
It comes in the wake of discussions about independent oversight of the department.
Kirkpatrick said her aim is to have critical incidents investigated by a team of detectives from Spokane police, the sheriff’s office and possibly the Washington State Patrol. The agency being investigated wouldn’t take the lead on the case, but investigators would be agreed upon by the guild and the city, she said.
Harvey said he is concerned that an officer’s career can be destroyed by a sloppy investigation.
“Why would I want someone who has never had the experience of investigating a shooting to come in and take the lead?” he asked.
Three incidents this year involving Spokane police officers “overtaxed the sheriff’s office,” Harvey said.
Information from: The Spokesman-Review,