Next police chief will hit the books before hitting the bricks

Spokane's police chief finalists will have to hit the books and then hit the road if they want the job as the city's top cop.

The three candidates need more training before they can become commissioned officers in Washington as there is a state law that requires all of our police chiefs to be commissioned officers.

When Spokane hired former chief Anne Kirkpatrick from the Federal Way Police Department the city saved itself some time and money. Kirkpatrick was already a commissioned officer in the State of Washington and could have arrested somebody her first day on the job.

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The three finalists for chief of police will have to head back to school before they can even so much as write a speeding ticket.

Captain Daniel Mahoney of the San Francisco Police Department runs the Ingleside precinct in a San Francisco suburb about the size of Spokane and takes a hands on approach when dealing with crime.

However, if he's hired on as our new chief, Mahoney is heading back to the police academy. Mahoney has to drive to Burien in western Washington and enroll in an online equivalency course.

Then, nine weeks later, it's back to Burien for a series of tests and only then will Mahoney be a commissioned officer.

"All of our finalist are from out of state so they are not commissioned officers in Washington state and depending on their background will determine what type of requirements they'll have to meet locally," city Spokesperson Marlene Feist said.

George Markert, a former deputy chief in Rochester, N.Y., would also have to attend the equivalency academy.

However Frank Straub, the director of public safety in Indianapolis, has never been a commissioned police officer, and according to state law Straub would have to spend five months training in Burien.

"Two of the three candidates are commissioned officers in other places so their requirements would be less than Mr. Straub who is not a commissioned officer," Feist said. "We have some options there though and would explore those if we ever got to that point."

One of those options include taking Straub's experience as a terrorism training expert and a quarter century's worth of law enforcement and waive the five month state academy.

At the very least, along with Mahoney and Markert, Straub would still have to take equivalency courses in order to become a commissioned police officer in Washington.