The Blogful of Salt

Questions for Spokane Police Department Chief Candidates

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Submitted on behalf of the Spokane Police Accountability & Reform Coalition on Friday Sept 16 2016.

1.How would you describe criteria for sufficient and inclusive public involvement and community engagement in a process such as hiring a new chief or creating a policy for use of body cameras? Please describe an inclusive public involvement and community engagement process you have managed or overseen and what standards and metrics you used.

2.Would you please describe a time when you or your department were the topic of criticism from community members, and tell us whether and how you responded to that criticism. What did you do? Who did you engage? How did you decide whom to engage? What were the results, and what tells you whether those results were acceptable or not? Would you do anything differently?

3.What do you know about the Black Lives Matter movement and its Vision for Black Lives? What are your sources?

4.Do you support the City Charter mandate, passed by voters in 2013, that requires the Office of Police Ombudsman to conduct independent investigations into citizen complaints against SPD officers?

5.Do you think it important that civilian oversight of the police be independent of the police department and the police bargaining units?

6.Please describe your experience in utilizing civilian oversight.

7.African American and Native American people together constitute less than 5 percent of Spokane’s population, yet last year they accounted for 17% of SPD arrests and 25% of the use of force incidents. Is the disparity in these numbers of concern to you? If not, why not? And, if so, how would you determine what steps to take to analyze what the disparity says about SPD culture and need for changes in recruitment and training? What would you do in your first 100 days and your first year?
(Sources— http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/5367000,00, SPD 2015 Annual Use of Force Report, see figures 8 and 9. https://static.spokanecity.org/documents/police/accountability/use-of-force-annual-report-2015.pdf)

8.According to the SPD’s Use of Force policy, officers are required to file a “Graham Statement” with all use of force reports, to ensure that the use of force is “objectively reasonable.” Would you support a change in Washington law to require that uses of force by officers be “objectively reasonable” as opposed to the current language that requires prosecutors prove “malice” on the part of police officers in order to obtain convictions for excessive and unreasonable uses of force? (Reference is to the ‘John T. Williams Bill, now proposed Initiative 873.)

9.Would you please tell us about how you have learned about and applied restorative justice principles and processes, including your definition of restorative justice?

10.Would you please tell us about how you have learned about and applied procedural justice principles and processes, including your definition of procedural justice? Would you do anything differently?

11.Scenario & Question: A trans woman is assaulted. Responding officers mis-gender her and tell witnesses who are correcting their mis-gendering to shut up. These officers have completed a training on LGBT cultural competency which happened in response to assaults against people leaving gay bars where officers were not appropriate in their response to the assaults as likely hate crimes. What should happen?

12.Do you agree that everyone has inherent bias? What is the responsibility of police departments to address unconscious bias? What have you done to unlearn and address unconscious bias?

13.Please tell us about a time when you applied a racial equity lens to evaluate the results of policy or practice. What steps did you take? Who did you engage and why? What were the results and what tells you whether those results are acceptable or sufficient? Would you do anything differently?

14.What are the three most important things police departments can do to reduce use of force? What would you do in your first 100 days?

15.What does de-militarization of law enforcement mean to you? What would you do in your first 100 days and in your first year?

16.What is the responsibility of a police department with regard to people living with mental illness or enduring homelessness being treated as criminals?

17.What is the responsibility of a police department with regard to interrupting and stopping the school-to-prison pipeline? What would you do in your first 100 days?

18.What is the responsibility of a police department with regard to interacting with undocumented immigrants? As Chief would you commit to opposing the anti-immigrant profiling initiative and be a spokesperson to encourage voters to reject it on the Nov 2017 ballot?

19.Scenario & Question: A police department has an officer (Officer A) who sexually assaults a fellow officer. Another officer destroys evidence and another officer tips off Officer A before the investigation. Another officer has sex with a domestic violence survivor about 24 hours after responding to her 911 call. The previous chief uses sexual statements to create a toxic atmosphere and is accused of sexually harasses at least one female employee. Do you see this as likely indicative of a sexist culture in this institution? What is the responsibility of the new police chief? What steps would you take in this scenario in your first 100 days as Chief?

20.How do you define community oriented policing? Share your experience implementing community oriented policing programs. How would you balance a community oriented policing model in Spokane given current staffing limitations?

21.What do you feel is the most important of the “Six Pillars” of 21st Century Policing?

22.Spokane is focused on examining alternatives to incarceration. Please describe your involvement in programs that are designed to reduce recidivism and create alternatives to jail.

23.Please describe a situation where you made a wrong decision. How did you address it with the public and with your colleagues at the police force?

24.Please describe a situation where you have had to deal with sexual or racial harassment.

25.How do you balance protecting constitutional rights with avoiding public disorder and addressing concerns of business, particularly in a downtown environment?

26.When there are conflicting pressures from your municipal leaders and from your local community organizations, how will you handle them? Please give an example of a situation where you dealt with this.

27.Do you believe all police officers should be required to receive training in crisis intervention, de-escalation, cultural competency, and racial (implicit) bias?

28.Please describe the role a police department should have in rewarding officers who de-escalate situations, avoid use of force, connect community members with social services, create relationships with neighborhoods, and diverting individuals in crisis to appropriate treatment.

29.Do you believe peers should have a greater role of creating accountability within a police department? How do you create a culture that encourages that?

And here is the City’s press release from Friday Sept 16, announcing the final four candidates and the community forum:

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COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FOUR POLICE CHIEF FINALISTS
PANELS, COMMUNITY TO INTERVIEW CANDIDATES ON TUESDAY
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Members of the police chief selection committee that evaluated semifinalist applicants have recommended four candidates to be interviewed for the job.

John Bruce of Frisco, Texas, Robert “Bob” Lehner of Elk Grove, Calif., Craig Meidl of Spokane, and Dominic Rizzi of Yakima, Wash. have been invited to interview with four panels and at a community forum on Tuesday. Panel interviews will run all day. Individual meetings will also be scheduled with the media.

The community forum will run from 6-8 pm in the gymnasium at the West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt. Written questions will be accepted at the forum and in advance via email. Questions for the candidates will be selected randomly and read by moderators Dr. Joe Albert, co-founder of Gonzaga University’s Comprehensive Leadership Program, and Rachelle Strawther, CLP program coordinator.

Bruce is the chief of the Frisco Police Department. He has more than 29 years of law enforcement, including the last three as chief. Bruce holds a master’s of public affairs and bachelor of art in sociology, both from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Lehner, chief of the Elk Grove Police Department, has nearly four decades of law enforcement experience and was appointed to lead the department in 2008. He holds an MBA and a bachelor of science in business administration, both from the University of Arizona.

Meidl has been with the Spokane Police Department since 1994 and currently serves as interim police chief. He holds a master’s degree from Gonzaga University in organizational leadership with an emphasis on servant leadership and a bachelor of arts in law and justice.

Rizzi, currently chief of the Yakima Police Department, has nearly 35 years of law enforcement experience, including a 25-year-career with the Chicago Police Department. He has a master’s of science in public safety administration from Calumet College of St. Joseph and a bachelor of arts in criminal social justice.

Interview panels will focus on community policing, leadership, community engagement, and business operations and finance. Questions from the public can be submitted in advance to policechiefsearch@spokanecity.org or in writing at the public forum.

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