SPOKANE, Wash. - Less than an hour after today's officer involved shooting, Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub appeared live on KHQ Local News Today to discuss restoring public trust to the department.
At the time of the interview, we did not know the shooting that occurred earlier in the morning involved the Spokane Police Department. The shooting took place just one day after Chief Straub gave the Use of Force Commission his six-month progress report.
In early 2013, the commission released 26 recommendations to the Spokane Police Department. Wednesday, Chief Straub announced the changes his department had implemented as a result of those recommendations.
The independent commission was created in 2012 to look into how the Spokane Police Department could improve, with the ultimate goal of restoring trust in the community. Largely, the commission stems from the department's handling of the Otto Zehm case, in which police tased Zehm and he subsequently died. Officer Karl Thompson was convicted in Zehm's death.
Another officer, Tim Moses, was charged with making false statements in the investigation. The commission spent 2012 reviewing the department and then released it's 26 recommendations to Chief Straub and his department in early 2013. Today, Chief Straub said, "We fully embraced the use of force recommendations to us and I'm very proud to say we have implemented the majority of those recommendations."
Specifically, the Chief speaks of requiring crisis intervention training for officers. He also says the Department of Justice is helping review the Department's use of force policy. In addition, Chief Straub also says his officers will start to wear body cameras for evidence.
These are a few of the changes the Chief is implementing. Chief Straub says he's confident public trust is growing. He says it's evident in the feedback he receives on the street and from people in the community. At the same time, the Chief says work in improving the department and its image is never over.
He said "This needs to be an ongoing process. We should never stop. We have to always look at our business practices and try to deliver higher police services to our community."