Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

The People of Spokane vs. Law Enforcement Abuse, Impunity, Corruption, and Cover-up

Filing a complaint against the Spokane Police Department

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 22, 2007

Let’s see just how anxious the Spokane Police Department is to have its citizens file a complaint against an officer.

The following is from the website of the Spokane Police Department:

How do I file a complaint against an Officer?
Complaints are handled on several different levels. The complaint can be handled in three ways. You can speak with the Officer’s Sergeant, the Shift Commander, or Internal Affairs. The complaint can be taken verbally or in writing. Call 477-5980 and choose option one for Spokane Police, then choose the option for front desk if you would like to speak with the shift commander or Sergeant. Choose Internal Affairs option if you would like to speak to Internal Affairs.

The information provided is as unclear and deceptive as it has always been. Let’s start with the fact that a 7 year old could have written the paragraph. Complaints are handled “on several different levels” and “in three ways” and can be “taken verbally and in writing”. If that is not convoluted and vague enough, only a phone number is provide. No address is provided to file a written complaint. No information is provided on where to obtain a complaint form and, in this day and age of electronic media, no downloadable or printable complaint form is provided.

(The SPD website has a streaming media page, formatted e-mail pages, interactive crime maps and other evidence of technological sophistication. There is zero reason why the citizens of Spokane do not have access to a downloadable and printable complaint form except that the Spokane Police Department has always sought to make it nearly impossible to complain without a citizen feeling threatened, discouraged, harassed and further victimized.)

This is has long been the modus operandi of the Spokane Police Department in regards to citizen complaints. First, discourage complaints by making it virtually impossible to complain. Second, make it very difficult to obtain any information on making a complaint without having contact first with police personnel. Third, make the existence of a complaint form next to impossible to confirm and even harder to obtain.

Without independent civilian oversight of the Spokane Police Department, the people of Spokane will continue to be subjected to the guffaws of the Spokane Police Guild echoing through the Public Safety Building. It will continue to be the most vulnerable and the least represented who will be the most victimized. And that reality will continue to be the legacy of Spokane — a justice system which fails to hold the police to a standard of accountability and oversight which assures our safety and freedom.

(Note: The website of the Spokane Crime Reporting Center, which is joint contracted by the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department, provides even less information on the process for making a complaint of official police misconduct. In fact, they are so anxious to have a complaint filed that they don’t even complete the question in list of Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.spokanecounty.org/crimereportingcenter/faq.asp )

One Response to “Filing a complaint against the Spokane Police Department”

  1. fixitplz4every1 said

    I know this problem well. I requested an internal affairs investigation, and months later find out that one was never conducted. Things that make you go hmmmm. What’s the point besides mileading the public into thinking they actually care about what is going on within the PD? Simple PR steps? More like PR muck. Who gets motivated in slapping their own hand anyway?

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