SPOKANE, Wash. - Frank Straub raised his hand and pledged to honestly and fairly uphold the laws of Washington as he was sworn in as Spokane's latest chief of police Monday.
So far his toughest decision he's had to make involved coming into compliance with his new department's regulations on facial hair.
"The big debate was do we just take off the goatee or do we take out the goatee and mustache," Straub said Monday.
The Spokane Police Department doesn't let its uniformed officers wear beards and so Chief Straub struggled to bring himself into compliance with the policy.Straub sworn in
"For the members of the department who are here I'm not saying where we are going to go in terms of the facial hair policy but I will says it's a traumatic day for me," he quipped to some chuckles from among those gathered for his swearing in ceremony.
Straub said his first week on the job has been a whirlwind so far; he's taken several tests including a polygraph. He's also been to the department's gun range, where he qualified with his new duty weapon, a .40 Glock pistol.
"I qualified last week. Both firearms instructors are still alive, they have no bullet holes in them. Someone asked me earlier today if my targets looked like I was using a shotgun," he joked.
Straub stepped away from the self-deprecating humor when he delved into more serious topics, like the department's experimentation with body cameras.
"I believe right now we're looking at three different brands of body cameras. We have them out on every shift, at least two officers wearing body cameras, so we'll see how the analysis goes," he said.
Without being prompted, Straub also touched upon the long-running oft-mentioned concerns regarding the Otto Zehm case.
"This department has learned a whole bunch of lessons from that. At some point in time we're going to have to say it happened. It was a horrific experience that should have never happened but now we have all to move on and police are going to need the community and the community is going to need the police to make that happen," he said.
Straub said when his officers make mistakes they will be held accountable but he is already proclaiming his new department one of the most progressive and professional he's seen in his 27 years of law enforcement.
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