Local Law Enforcement Stretched Thin - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Law Enforcement Stretched Thin

Posted: Updated:

Resources are stretched so thin for both the Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff's Office that Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says staffing levels are close to a public safety emergency level.

Sheriff Knezovich told KHQ there are not enough officers to cover all of the calls for service and with the events of the week, officers are working a lot of overtime.

"Our major crimes unit, some of those folks have not had a day off in almost a month and some of them have been running anywhere from 16 to 20 hour days," Sheriff Knezovich said.

The week started with a SWAT situation near the 600 block of South Arthur Street, at a home where bank robbery suspect Scott Ruziecki was taken into custody. From there, Spokane Police have had an officer involved shooting, a stabbing in downtown Spokane, and the beating death of 89-year-old Delbert Belton.

"Those type of weeks happen," Sheriff Knezovich said. "It really is cyclical, the problem is, it's becoming more and more the trend."

Then on Friday, both SWAT teams from the city and county were called in to deal with the events at Double Eagle Pawn.

"A lot of overtime went into this week," Sheriff Knezovich said. "With the events of today, we started calling in off duty officers to help fill, back fill for the void that was being made by the city's hostage situation."

While all of those events were happening, deputies still have other cases to deal with.

"The problem is, we're really not handling everything," Sheriff Knezovich said. "When we have major issues like this, we get tied up on those and there are cases that are not being worked right now."

Sheriff Knezovich says that although the city and county work well together when big incidents like Friday's standoff occur, the department is severely understaffed and Spokane does not have enough law enforcement officers on the streets.

"That means the deputies and officers are doing a lot of work and they're trying to keep our crime in check," Sheriff Knezovich said. "The problem is, there's just not enough of them to do the job and they're starting to burn out."

However, even if they are burnt out, there is no time to stop.

"When you have an incident like that there's no just shutting down, you have to keep moving forward," Sheriff Knezovich said.

Both the city and county are currently hiring. However, Sheriff Knezovich says it is time to look at staffing levels and add more money to the budget, so they can get to a point where they do not need to call in officers off duty to cover incidents like Friday's SWAT situation.

 

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • SPECIAL ELECTIONS RESULTS

    SPECIAL ELECTIONS RESULTS

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 1:02 AM EDT2014-04-23 05:02:05 GMT
    KHQ.COM- A special election was held on Tuesday with various items on the ballot, including library funding in Spokane Valley.More >>
    KHQ.COM- A special election was held on Tuesday with various items on the ballot, including library funding in Spokane Valley. Voters approved a measure to create a library capital facilities district, but rejected a bond to pay for two libraries and renovate an existing library. The bond requires a 60% super majority to pass.More >>
  • HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD? Authorities Say Missing Burien Teen May Be In Spokane Area

    HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD? Authorities Say Missing Burien Teen May Be In Spokane Area

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:11 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:11:42 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- The King County Sheriff's Office and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believe that a missing 15-year-old boy may be in the Spokane area. More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- The King County Sheriff's Office and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believe that a missing 15-year-old boy may be in the Spokane area. Authorities say 15-year-old Jacob Hays of Burien was last seen on April 3, 2014. He is white with brown hair and brown eyes. He's 5'10" and weighs 160 pounds. More >>
  • PHOTOS: KHQ Covers The President In Oso

    PHOTOS: KHQ Covers The President In Oso

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:54:29 GMT
    KHQ.COM - President Obama visited Oso one month after the deadly mudslide that so far has killed 41 people.More >>
    KHQ.COM - President Obama visited Oso one month after the deadly mudslide that so far has killed 41 people. KHQ's Kelsey Watts was in Everett where the President landed and KHQ's Sean Owsley was in Oso during the President's visit. They tweeted out, along with our field producer Josh, a lot of pictures during their coverage, and you can see them all in the slideshow attached to this story.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.