The Spokane City Council will consider expanding the role/authority of the Spokane PD Police Ombudsman.  Tim Burns was hired for this new position after several critical incidents in Spokane rocked the trust and confidence in the police department.  The Ombudsman position was not given authority to conduct independent investigations, as the Ombudsman may deem appropriate.  The new proposed ordinance will expand the authority of the Ombudsman to include independent investigations (Link to ordinance here in Tim Connor’s article).

There are many important issues that are enmeshed in this important community debate.  Please plan to attend the Council Meeting if at all possible this Monday night starting at 6:00 PM, May 24, 2010 (See City Council Agenda here).

Please contact your City Council member by email to express your opinion.

The Council’s meetings are broadcast on Cable Channel 5 within Spokane if you are a Comcast subscriber.  The meetings are also livestreamed (See left side rail “Watch it Live“)

Here are several articles/commentaries on the Ombudsman that frame this debate:

An Eye for the Watchdog?
Inside the Ombudsfarce

Here’s the link to Kevin Taylor’s article at the Inlander

The city’s first ombudsman finds himself in uncharted territory

Some of the previous articles by the Spokesman-Review  can be found here.

I’ve expressed my opinion in these comments I’ve posted in Larry Shook’s new blog:

Ms. Wilton,

Here’s the reason why it’s so important to have this public discussion that I promised I would comment earlier.

The following is an excerpt of email I sent regarding having Tim Burns the SPD Ombudsman into speak to my college class on Community Oriented Policing.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

. . . My class is somewhat up to speed with the Savage case as I’ve been using it as a teaching moment in my class on Community Oriented Policing (COP). I’ve given the class an extra credit assignment re the ongoing the Ombudsman (OPO) issues as it relates to COP. I’m having Tim Burns come in and discuss code enforcement’s role in COP projects to regain control of a neighborhood in my class Friday night.

I’ve provided my class with Tim’s (Connor) and Larry’s previous commentaries on the OPO. As I said I’m not willing to write off Tim just yet. We all know all too well that the powers that be will work to shut down any involvement of Tim Burns in the matters that they so far have concealed from the public e.g., the Savage case, the RPS bond frauds et al, and Sheriff Bamonte’s latest venture into preferential property tax appraisals by Co Assessor Baker’s Office. The true test will come when Tim runs up against this brick wall.

Should Tim encounter the tentacles of the criminal enterprise/organized crime, we have given him an alternative action/solution. Will Tim succumb to the powers that be or will he speak out to the people in his true sense and responsibility to the citizens of Spokane and demand a special prosecutor/grand jury? This will be the divining nut crunching moment:-)

COP if you don’t know is the new buzz word in police circles (Last twenty years) for re-establishing a beneficial/positive relationship with the community. With the traditional form of policing, the police became detached from the communities that they served and became very isolated and response driven. While some of COP is very idealistic and manpower intensive, it can be a powerful tool to force leverage scarce police resources. In a sense its teaching/developing the community to police itself.

However critical to this process is developing and regaining the community’s confidence and trust in the police – Spokane? There are many parallels with COP and our developing military counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq/Afghanistan.

The ideal situation is for both police/community to implement COP together. Unfortunately in many neighborhoods there is a general sense of apathy re government in general. Citizens don’t feel it’s their responsibility to intervene. Further in some neighborhoods people don’t have a well developed sense of belonging/commitment/community or empowerment to become involved. And in some cases not unlike certain neighborhoods in Iraq et al., there are terrorists embedded/entrenched in the community, and the people are hiding in their residences out of fear. In those neighborhoods the police must first develop a sense of community before moving into more advanced COP programs with a shared role of police and the community.

The literature suggest in most situations its the police who alone at first imitate COP, followed by joint police/community action and lastly and rarely by the community itself. I would argue what we’re trying to do in Spokane is the third. The community is forcing the police to change re critical incidents such as Zehm/Pete. The community senses something is wrong here hence their outrage re Zehm/Pete, however they don’t know what the real problem is. This has been concealed from them by the Spokesman-Review that is an instrumentality of the criminal enterprise that operates to conceal its criminal activity from the people. . .

In the text for my class, Spokane is highlighted for it’s innovative COP shop programs. Unfortunately for a number of reasons the COPs program became its own nonprofit entity and SPD has drifted away from involvement to the point of only giving lip service. Does this sound like Spokane? . . .

Ms. Wilton I only ask you keep an open mind. Please read Sheriff Bamonte’s and Mr. Shook’s information/evidence thoroughly and completely. Please read my evidence too. See my comment in Mr. Shook’s commentary “American Serbia”:

This is the very corrosive impact organized crime has on government. In my 35-year career as a criminal investigator, this is certainly one of the most blatantly criminal enterprises I have ever encountered. It’s hard to find words to adequately describe it. This is no appeasing of organized crime. It must be thoroughly destroyed.

The people have been repeatedly victimized by this criminal enterprise – this is organized crime. Organized crime cannot be appeased but must be destroyed because of its corrosive impact on government. The citizens of Spokane and the family of Jo Savage have a fundamental right to ensure that justice is served when their political/ governmental law enforcement bodies and decision makers because of their systemic co-option/ corruption can’t or won’t act to protect them from criminal victimization and from imminent public hazards.

In our legal system the law is of, for and by the People – NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.

Ms. Wilton Spokane’s government is so dysfunctional because of its systemic corruption by the criminal enterprise led by the Cowles Co.’s, it is incapable of fixing itself. If you agree after reviewing the evidence please join with Sheriff Bamonte and me in calling for the appointment of a independent/impartial special prosecutor and grand jury whether it be federal and or state to further investigate our complaints of corruption in Spokane. What is there to lose?

As we are just now witnessing in the Otto Zehm case, a competent prosecutor using a grand jury to compel testimony from fearful, reluctant and/or complicit witnesses/suspects has an amazing affect of getting to the truth.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
Riverside PD, CA