Sheriff claims Integrity First’s public disclosure requests slowing work

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on July 29, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 29 at 6:41 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Members of the group Integrity First are determined to expose any wrong doings of Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. Integrity First leaders filed multiple public disclosure requests to do it, but now the Sheriff said fulfilling the PDRs is cutting into his staff’s time.

Four retired Spokane County Sheriff's Office employees formed the group Integrity First in June to investigate Knezovich. They want to make sure the Sheriff is being honest with the community.

Knezovich said he has nothing to hide and invites critics to look at whatever they need to. Yet, the Sheriff admitted that there is a problem when public disclosure requests filed by Integrity First get so overwhelming it hinders his staff.

“If there was a legitimate reason for this other than a political motivated witch hunt, I would have no issue with it,” said Knezovich. “They are spending tax payer dollars in a very egregious way.”

The Sheriff said he wants transparency. He even invited concerned citizens to file public disclosure requests. Yet, he admitted to KREM 2 News that there is a point when it can go too far.
   
He has already received three public disclosure requests from Integrity First. The group told him more are coming. One of the requests in particular is extensive according to Knezovich. The PDR required staff to go back and verify data from years ago. Knezovich said responding to the three requests kept crime analysts from focusing on current crime trends and hot spots.

“It means crunching crime stat numbers and getting that to detectives and supervisors where crime is going on,” added Knezovich.

Members of Integrity First would not go on camera to speak with KREM 2 News about the story. Leaders called it a non-story, but did release this statement:

“We have filed only a single PDR which would affect his crime analysis unit. In truth, it's primarily for information already produced and published in his press release and on his website. Reproducing the raw data should be no great task.”

The Sheriff said with any PDR, the group would have to pay for the documents. The last request alone could run Integrity First several hundred dollars.

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