Police to present Use of Force progress report Thursday

Police to present Use of Force progress report Thursday

SPOKANE, Wash. - On Thursday, Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub will give the Use of Force Commission a progress report on how many of the panel's 26 recommendations have been implemented.

Here's a quick overview on some of their accomplishments toward implementing those commission's recommendations.

A lot of the commission's recommendations called for boosting the amount of in-service training our officers are receiving. Police have always tried to keep people from hurting themselves and each other, such as an incident last December when negotiators successfully kept a man from leaping off the Monroe Street Bridge.

Now, 90-percent of Spokane police officers have been certified in crisis intervention, the method to recognize and deal with people who are having mental health or medical problems.

"So once you do move that person out of crisis and into dialogue, here's how we can direct them to the appropriate services," Straub said.

Another recommendation asked the department step up training in ways to deescalate run-ins with uncooperative suspects while still finding a balance with officer safety.

"Can I talk this person down? Can I improve my safety and the community's safety with a series of verbal commands de-escalation techniques conversations," Straub said.

The department is also reaching out to minority groups with more positive interaction, including the youth athletic league.

Officers will be wearing body cameras by this fall and the ombudsman has new powers to launch his own internal affairs investigations.

"We know we need to be a different department and this department has demonstrated over the course of 12 months that we are a better department than we were a year ago," Straub said.

Straub said the department has implemented or is close to implementing 23 out of the 26 recommendations but it will be up to the Use of Force Commission to determine if it concurs with Straub's assessment.