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.  


 

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Severe storm causes power outages, damage to homes

    PHOTOS: Severe storm causes power outages, damage to homes

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:56 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:56:19 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A storm seemed to leave just as fast as it arrived Wednesday in Spokane. High winds blew over trees and utility lines, causing widespread power outages and some severe property damage. INSIDE>>>| Power Outages | PHOTOS |More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A storm seemed to leave just as fast as it arrived Wednesday in Spokane. High winds blew over trees and utility lines, causing widespread power outages and some severe property damage. INSIDE>>>| Power Outages | PHOTOS |More >>
  • NOTICE: Possible water shortage in Boundary County; Conserve water!

    NOTICE: Possible water shortage in Boundary County; Conserve water!

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:55 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:55:14 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Cabinet Mountain Water District in Boundary County, Idaho is asking all customers to curb their water usage because of the power outage. In the event that power is not able to be restored, there could be a water shortage. Again, this is only for Cabinet Mountain Water District users in Boundary County, Idaho.More >>
    KHQ.COM - Cabinet Mountain Water District in Boundary County, Idaho is asking all customers to curb their water usage because of the power outage. In the event that power is not able to be restored, there could be a water shortage. Again, this is only for Cabinet Mountain Water District users in Boundary County, Idaho.More >>
  • Keeping Vigil: Hearth Homes

    Keeping Vigil: Hearth Homes

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:41 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:41:07 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - If you've lived long enough you know that life is not easy, nor is it fair. It's even harder when you don't have a support system to help you through those times.More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - If you've lived long enough you know that life is not easy, nor is it fair. It's even harder when you don't have a support system to help you through those times. In this week's  'Keeping Vigil' KHQ's Stephanie Vigil introduces you to Hearth Homes, a sanctuary for women who have experienced extreme hardships in life with nowhere to turn. More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.