SPOKANE-- Spokane Mayor David Condon promised voters he would re-structure the police department after the fallout from the Karl Thompson trial. In an effort to uphold that promise, Condon established a Use of Force Commission.
Condon says a group of five people will make up the commission. He says they will look at past cases involving force and possibly recommend changes for the police department.
The Spokane Police Department took a lot of heat after former police officer Karl Thompson went to trial for excessive force and lying to investigators in the beating death of Otto Zehm. The jury found Thompson guilty on both charges. After the ruling, Condon says he wants to change some negative perceptions of the police department.
Condon says the independent commission will target the department’s use of force policy and look into training methods and procedures.
The commission is made up of a variety of community leaders, including Gonzaga University’s Executive Vice President, a former U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington, a retired Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice and representatives from Spokane Public Schools and Spokane Mental Health.
Police Chief Scott Stephens says he welcomes the review.
The city says this group has a different role than the ombudsman. They say the committee is not on the city’s payroll.
Officials say the group will study police policies and debut its findings to the public by June.