Citizen groups turn in proposal for changes to police ombudsman position

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by OTHELLO RICHARDS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 1 at 5:41 PM

SPOKANE--City leaders voted to extend the police ombudsman contract last week in Spokane and now a couple of citizen groups want more power given to the man hired to investigate complaints about police.

The Center for Justice and the Peace and Justice Action League delivered details of a new proposed ordinance for police oversight Thursday afternoon at City Hall.  City leaders including the mayor were in attendance.

Spokane attorney Breanne Beggs helped draft a new ordinance that will give the Office of the Police Ombudsman more powers.  The proposed ordinance makes several key changes to the existing ordinance that governs what the ombudsman can and can not do, including giving the authority to conduct their own investigations.
  
The ordinance mandates that findings from investigations are provided for the public to see.  Mayor David Condon says the city is already working to release all internal affairs investigation reports.

The proposed ordinance also removes police unions from the process of selecting the ombudsman.  Instead it creates a commission comprised of community members that makes recommendations to the mayor.  The commission also reviews and guides the ombudsman's work.

The citizen groups say now is a great time for city leaders to consider the proposals since the city is now in contract negotiations with the police guild.

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