Use of Force Commission ready to pass on recommendations


by Honora Swanson

Posted on June 29, 2012 at 7:22 AM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 10:19 AM

SPOKANE-- Spokane’s Use of Force Commission wrapped up Thursday.

The group has spent the last few months analyzing the Spokane Police Department’s Use of Force policy and is ready to make recommendations.

Those suggestions will head to Mayor Condon soon. They are coincidentally coming around the same time Spokane is hiring a new police chief.

The group, made of five volunteers, has been working since February to come up with ways to improve the city’s police department. Their jobs have been to dissect the police department policies and how officers enforce them. Their discussions have been open to everyone.

“My interest really started back with the Otto Zehm case,” Linda Krogh of Spokane said.

Otto Zehm was a civilian that was beaten, tasered, hogtied and later died.

Former officer Karl Thompson was convicted of using excessive force against Zehm, which is what prompted the commission.

Krogh has been to several meetings and has expressed what’s important to her.

“I would like to see a change in the training culture.”

The mayor has also been following these meetings. Now that they are over, the commission will put the recommendations together and allow the public to comment before passing everything along to the mayor.

Meanwhile, Condon says the search for a new police chief will close Saturday. He will narrow it down in the coming weeks. While considering candidates, Condon says he will work to make sure the new chief can handle possible changes in department policy.

“When we do bring in a new chief, that person will have implemented some of these things where they’re from,” he said.

While those recommendations are not ready for the public’s eyes, next month the commission will release them for public opinion.