Ombudsman Says Hiring More Officers Should Be Top Priority - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ombudsman Says Hiring More Officers Should Be Top Priority

Posted: Updated:

SPOKANE, Wash. - The position of Ombudsman was created to keep the police department accountable after the 2006 beating death of Otto Zehm. Complaints to the Ombudsman's officer were up during 2012, and Ombudsman Tim Burns says it is because more people are aware of the position.

Monday night, Burns presented his annual report to the Spokane City Council, detailing police actions within the last year.

And there were some interesting figures.

While most numbers, including those for SWAT activations, domestic violence calls and vehicle pursuits were similar to 2011 there was one glaring exception: mental health contacts made by officers in 2012 nearly tripled from the year before.

Burns cited better training of officers as the reason why mental health issues have become more recognizable.

The presentation also included a progress report on the 8 recommendations made by the Ombudsman last year that included the publishing of Internal Affairs reports and the hiring of a Communications Director.

One of the biggest issues highlighted was the lack of resources and officers that is having an impact on police responses to calls.  

In the report, Burns also made 4 recommendations for the upcoming year:
  1.   The creation of a special investigator position in the prosecutors office.
  2.     Improving service delivery for public records requests.
  3.     Developing an inquest process for the medical examiner.
  4.       And the implementation of a school resource officer program.
Burns is hoping a partnership with the School District will allow them to bring back the Resource Officer program, which was a victim of budget cuts in 2006.
  
He concedes that with the lack of funds it will be hard to implement all of these suggestions, but the hiring of more officers right now should be the priority.  


 

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Spokane neighbors shocked after dogs pepper sprayed

    Spokane neighbors shocked after dogs pepper sprayed

    Sunday, September 24 2017 9:08 PM EDT2017-09-25 01:08:37 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two families are still left shocked after they say someone sprayed their dogs with pepper spray. This happened on Saturday night around 9 p.m. near Hays Park. Eric Eitzman says he was inside his home when he heard his dog and his neighbor’s dogs start barking. He opened the door and his dog ran inside. That’s when his daughter grabbed the dog and said she smelled.

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two families are still left shocked after they say someone sprayed their dogs with pepper spray. This happened on Saturday night around 9 p.m. near Hays Park. Eric Eitzman says he was inside his home when he heard his dog and his neighbor’s dogs start barking. He opened the door and his dog ran inside. That’s when his daughter grabbed the dog and said she smelled.

    More >>
  • Lawyer: Kushner used personal email for some WH messages

    Lawyer: Kushner used personal email for some WH messages

    Sunday, September 24 2017 8:20 PM EDT2017-09-25 00:20:35 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - A lawyer for President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, says his client used a personal email account to communicate with colleagues in the White House. Lawyer Abbe Lowell said in a statement that Kushner sent or responded to fewer than 100 emails from White House officials from his private account between January and August.

    More >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - A lawyer for President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, says his client used a personal email account to communicate with colleagues in the White House. Lawyer Abbe Lowell said in a statement that Kushner sent or responded to fewer than 100 emails from White House officials from his private account between January and August.

    More >>
  • Trump administration announces new travel ban

    Trump administration announces new travel ban

    Sunday, September 24 2017 7:48 PM EDT2017-09-24 23:48:11 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Travelers from eight countries will face restrictions on entry to the U.S, ranging from a total ban to more targeted restrictions, under a new proclamation signed by President Donald Trump Sunday. The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, will go into effect on October 18.

    More >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Travelers from eight countries will face restrictions on entry to the U.S, ranging from a total ban to more targeted restrictions, under a new proclamation signed by President Donald Trump Sunday. The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, will go into effect on October 18.

    More >>