SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Mayor David Condon announced Wednesday that he has appointed Frank Straub, formerly the Director of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis, as Spokane’s new Police Chief.
Straub’s appointment will be forwarded to the City Council for confirmation.
“I was looking for innovation, broad experience, and a desire to become part of our community, and I found that in Frank Straub,” said Mayor Condon. “This was an intense process and a difficult decision, but we have selected a strong leader who will help our department grow and evolve into the future.”
“I am honored to be selected as Spokane’s next Police Chief,” said Straub. “I am committed to building on the strengths and assets of the Spokane Police Department, and I look forward to learning more about my new home and my new department.”
Straub’s selection follows a comprehensive recruitment and selection process for the position of Chief. The selection process included two initial screening rounds, a day of interviews with five separate panels, collection of feedback from citizens, visits to the home cities of the two final candidates, and a variety of background checks.
Straub said he looked forward to going through a two-week training course wherein he will brush up on state laws. He and Mayor Condon will meet with law enforcement officials over the next couple of days.
“We are hoping we can go through the confirmation process over the next month of so,” Condon said.
Mayor Condon thanked interim Chief Scott Stephens and the entire command staff at the Police Department for their work during this critical transition. Stephens will stay on as command staff.
The Mayor also thanked all the participants in the five panels that interviewed the three final candidates for the job; the officers, civilian employees, and volunteers of the Spokane Police Department; and the many citizens who weighed in on this issue.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who was part of am 11-person law enforcement panel that recommended the Mayor start over and not choose either finalist, said he looked forward to building a positive working relationship with Chief Straub.
“The Mayor has made the decision to go with Frank Straub. As the Sheriff, I will be making sure that he succeeds as the new police chief because that is what the community needs because he cannot fail,” Knezovich said.
Interim Chief Stephens emphasized Wednesday it wasn't that the law enforcement panel didn't think the candidates were qualified; they just wanted to bring in the best person for this community. He has no concerns with Straub becoming chief.
In a statement, members of the Spokane Police Lieutenant’s and Captain’s Associations said they support the Mayor’s decision to select Dr. Straub and look forward to working alongside him to rebuild the Spokane Police Department.
The Spokane County Commissioners also released a statement Wednesday supporting Straub’s appointment.
“We are encouraged regarding Mr. Straub’s background in serving a community with a regional law enforcement effort. We believe his experience and perspective will be vital in our ongoing discussions about how best to provide law enforcement services to the citizens of this region,” Chair Todd Mielke said.
Straub is the current Director of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis and former Commissioner of the City of White Plains, N.Y., Department of Public Safety. His last day on the job was Aug. 10.
Straub’s tenure in Indianapolis was scarred. According to Indystar.com, more than two dozen officers were arrested, suspended or disciplined for breaking the law or misconduct under his leadership.
Other Indianapolis outlets report other law enforcement officers filed various lawsuits against the presumed candidate. The lawsuits accuse Straub of wrongful suspension from the job and making defamatory comments.
If confirmed, Straub will succeed Anne Kirkpatrick, who served as the City’s top law enforcement official from September 2006 until December 2011.
The Chief of Police position, which pays up to $165,000 a year, is responsible for managing the department’s current 365 employees, including 275 commissioned officers, and a nearly $53 million annual budget.