It was a grueling day for the three men who want to be Spokane's police chief as Daniel Mahoney, George Markert and Frank Straub gave interviews all day long, each pledging to make positive improvements in the department.
Throughout the day the candidates appeared before five panels, with each group judging how each of the candidates answered a series of identical questions.
Now the scores -- and the panel's observations -- will hopefully guide Mayor David Condon to make a well-informed decision on who will be his next chief of police.
Daniel Mahoney, a San Francisco Police Department captain, got the first round of questions including one about restoring trust in the Spokane Police Department.
Mahoney told the panel he values community oversight because it helps steer his department to the true crime problems.
When asked about increased violence in downtown Spokane, Mahoney said that, "anytime you have increase in violence, that calls for a two-pronged approach. It calls for an immediate response and then it calls for preventative education for how other people not to become victims."
George Markert, a former deputy chief for the Rochester, N.Y. police department, is the father of two Hispanic children and said he is very sensitive to the issues of equality.
Markert told the panel relationships are the key to public confidence in police.
"A chief sets the tone for the organization, so I'm asking you without knowing me, to trust me to do that and trust that I set the right tone, that I will make sure the proper relationships are built and maintained and that everyone receives service and respect they deserve," Markert said.
Frank Straub was recruited by the mayor for his experience with metro policing but Straub seems to know something about mending fences as well.
"You have to find the biggest critics of the police department and engage them in the process; you can't run away from your critics. Instead you have to engage them and listen to their concerns," he said.
Straub also said he favors getting officers out of their cars and back in businesses and neighborhoods.
"We need to be in the schools. I think that is critically important. We need to connect with our young people.. Really from late grammar school, middle school and high school and have that connection," Straub said.
All three of the candidates said they would be happy to remain in Spokane until they retire.
The city hopes whoever takes over as police chief will bring some stability to the department. Right now, interim chief Scott Stephens is leading the department. He wanted to be the next chief, but Mayor Condon says he wants someone from outside the department.
The search for a new chief began earlier this year, when Anne Kirkpatrick chose to resign from the position. Her retirement was official on January 2 after having served less than six years in the department.
Before Kirkpatrick, Roger Bragdon led the department for five years, capping 32 years with the department. He retired in 2005, telling the Spokesman Review, he loved every minute of his time with the Spokane Police Department except being the chief.
Bragdon is now on a panel to help choose the new chief.
Community members who missed watching the candidate interviews can watch them again on CityCable 5 on Saturday July 28 at noon, Sunday July 29 at 6 p.m. and Tuesday July 31 at 10 a.m.
The next step in the process for finding the next police chief will be visits to the candidates' current home towns to talk to citizens in those communities. The city will also complete due diligence and background checks on each of the three candidates.
Mayor Condon hopes to announce who will be the next chief of police in August.