Council members preparing ordinance for SPD precinct location

Spokane City Council
Credit: Spokane City Council

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane City Council members are preparing an ordiance that would locate the Spokane Police Department precinct location along the East Sprague Corridor.

Council President Breean Briggs and Councilwoman Betsy Wilkerson are preparing an ordinance to provide relief to businesses and residents in the Sprague Corridor. At the recent Finance and Administration Committee Meeting on June 27, Beggs introduced a resolution that would place the precinct in the highest rate of crime in the East Central Neighborhood.

“SPD has requested new space for a police precinct in the East Central Neighborhood that is more visible and provides easier access to the public,” Beggs said. “Reported crime in the East Central Neighborhood is substantially clustered along East Sprague Avenue from the Hamilton Overpass to Havana Street. The I-90 interstate poses a substantial obstacle to accessing a police precinct if placed south of the freeway. While Spokane Police Department cannot prevent all crime, we want to provide an enhanced response time to the areas of concentrated crime. We want to ensure that SPD has unmitigated access and preparedness to those areas along the Sprague corridor. Most importantly, we want the businesses, customers, and residents in the East Sprague Corridor to see police vehicles parked and officers walking and bicycling as a deterrent to crime and assurance of safety.”

Mayor Nadine Woodward said last week that SPD’s precinct would be at the former library in East Central south of I-90. That decision was made without council vote or public notice.

SPD is currently at St. Ann’s Church on the lower South Hill.

“It was brought to my attention that the Mayor has, without due process, directed the SPD to occupy the former library at East Central,” said Council Member Betsy Wilkerson. “In a recent press conference on May 18th the Mayor agreed that it was Council’s final decision on who will occupy the space. I am beyond disturbed at her disregard for the Council process and her inability to be inclusive in her approach to hearing the complete voices of East Central residents who did not get input or final say on what the community would most like to see in their neighborhood. As a resident of East Central, we absolutely need public safety in East Central, but in an area in critical need of safety. East Sprague historically has been a high crime vessel, and police presence is most needed in that area.”

Beggs proposed an ordinance that would require the City to do a community process and final Council approval for the location of city facilities.

The ordinance might be heard as early as this week if five Council Members agree it is an urgent response to Woodward saying the council can decide on the new precinct location.

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