SPOKANE COUNTY--Budgets are tight for law enforcement agencies all over the country and the local departments are no different. All of the travel and more has amounted to just more than $10,000 for the first ten months of 2013.
Authorities said there is one area where they think spending money is crucial to keeping families safe. It is sending detectives out of town to interview and transport back dangerous suspects who have fled from the area.
Leaders from both the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said they are very conservative with their investigative travel expenses.
In years where there are a lot of violent crimes they have no choice but to foot the bill to fly their detectives and sometimes suspects all over the country.
Tony Calihan is accused of a vicious crime. Detectives believe he strangled his girlfriend Michelle Koenen with a lamp electrical cord and then hid from police hundreds of miles away in California.
Two Spokane Major Crimes detectives had to fly down to get him.
“It's airfare last minute. Everyone knows how expensive that can be, when you have to pay last minute. It's a night in a hotel, renting a car to get them to the airport,” said Commander Joe Walker with the Spokane Police Department.
Detectives have been sent to L.A. to investigate the downtown brawl with two U.S.C. basketball players, Vegas to collect DNA from a suspect in a cold case homicide and Texas to interview an accused killer all in the last year.
“The cases that we send the detectives out of state on are murders, robberies, serious assaults. We've had several of those this year, and we're catching a break in the case. We want the detectives to go out and interview these people as soon as possible,” said Walker.
Authorities said it is crucial to send the detectives out of town.
“There's nothing like doing an interview face to face,” said Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.
The Sheriff’s Office echo’s the City’s policy. Two detectives go to every out of the area interview and transport. The Sheriff’s Office has had to send far less officers in 2013 than 2012.
The Sheriff said the driving factor in their stats is the cost of extraditing inmates back to Spokane. That cost them more than $3,600 in 2012. The Sheriff said that cost is an absolute necessity and not one that has room for trimming.
“We hold them accountable. We will do whatever it takes to extradite them. We will go to jurisdictions outside of Spokane to get them. Both agencies try to use the U.S. marshals to help transport inmates but that's not always an option,” said Sheriff Knezovich.