Local News

Spokane detective challenging Knezovich for sheriff

SPOKANE, Wash. - Orr for sheriff vo

Douglas Orr is a Spokane Police Department detective but says he could do a better job of leading the Spokane County Sheriff's Office than Ozzie Knezovich.

Knezovich is the most popular and recognizable elected official to roam the Spokane County campus. But now Orr, 48, a fellow Republican, is running against the sheriff saying being an effective leader is more important.

"I think the current sitting sheriff has a very transactional leadership style. He rules by authority and manages by exception and when you do that all you really have at the end of the day are followers," Orr said.

Orr thinks Knezovich has been too heavy handed with the employees he's fired, too quick to fire people without due process.

"Currently there have been costly arbitrations. There have been claims against the county for thousands of dollars against the way the sheriff is doing it now. I can do it better and I can do it without all the costs," Orr said.

Orr is a polygraph examiner and has the skills to forensically search computers for evidence. But if you're the sheriff, fighting crime has a lot to do with getting the right funding from county commissioners.

"I have a master's degree in organizational leadership, an MBA in human resources and I have a PHD in criminal justice. They would be more likely to believe what I say and trust me in that regard," Orr said.

Orr has spent 28 years in law enforcement; a former Idaho State Police trooper, he joined the Spokane Police Department 18 years ago. He concedes he has a tough fight on his hands. Knezovich is wildly popular with the public and ran unopposed last election.

"This particular election we have the ability now, since I don't work for him, to be very direct and very honest and so I'm going to find out  when somebody says Ozzie is doing a good job I'm going to ask them what is that? What is the good job," Orr said.

Orr and Knezovich will face each other in a primary election next August. Orr is proposing after the holidays are over the two candidates begin a series of debates. Knezovich said he welcomes them.