SPOKANE, Wash. - It's taken a little more than a year and created a contentious rift between the mayor and Spokane City Council, but it appears that Spokane has a new police chief.
Monday morning, Spokane Mayor David Condon nominated Craig Meidl to permanently take the helm of the Spokane Police Department, and already the city council is hinting it will confirm Meidl next month.
Now, 350 commissioned officers finally know who their new boss is and what direction their department is headed, and that's really what this super drawn-out selection process was really about. Finding the best person to properly train, equip and lead our police officers so when they head out in their patrol cars they can most efficiently protect us from crime.
"So I'm pleased to announce that interim police chief, Chief Craig Meidl, will be leading the continuation of this work as the next police chief," Condon announced at this morning
For the second time in a little less than two months, the mayor has said the best person to lead the police department is Craig Meidl.
Only this time, Meidl has fairly competed against other police chief finalists and won the top marks from four citizen-led selection panels.
"The support we received for Chief Meidl was overwhelming," said Condon. "Three of the interview panels were unanimous, in that regard, and the fourth was split for Chief Meidl and another candidate."
It's not like the police department has operated without a rudder since Frank Straub's ouster, but pending his confirmation, Meidl plans to press ahead with some important projects including a culture audit conducted by Gonzaga University.
"We will review our department's culture, examining both the positive and negative to see what changes need to be made and what positives remain and should be expanded on," said Meidl.
So, in the end, Spokane got that stability it was looking for in the way of a chief. Meidl has pledged to work here for the rest of his career and he's someone who recognizes we have to be able to trust our cops.
"I believe the Spokane Police Department is at a pivotal point," said Meidl. "We must and we will continue our efforts to increase the trust, faith and confidence that our community has in us."
So, if the mayor formally presents Medil to the city council for it's confirmation by Wednesday, the council will be able to take up the matter at its October 10 meeting.
It's looking likely that the council will confirm Meidl. Four council members were at today's news conference, they seemed satisfied Meidl had won the competition fair and square. Council President Ben Stuckart even said Meidl could expect a positive vote from the council, so it looks like this long police chief selection process is a done deal.