Citizen committee to lead police chief conversation

Police leadership advisory committee to discuss attributes, search

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 3:29 p.m.

Spokane Mayor David Condon announced today the formation of a citizen Police Leadership Advisory Committee to lead a conversation about what the community is looking for in its next police chief and provide input about what a cultural audit of the Spokane Police Division should consider.

The committee will be tasked with three primary objectives related to the police chief search:

  1. Review and make suggestions to the current police chief job description
  2. Identify the attributes the community is seeking in the next police chief
  3. Recommend the hiring and selection process that should be used

Separately, the committee will also provide guidance on the development of a cultural audit, a recommendation of both the Use of Force Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services. The committee will make recommendations about factors to be considered, approach, reporting and expected outcomes.

Mary Ann Murphy, who has done extensive work advocating on behalf of child abuse victims, will chair the committee. Murphy is the former executive director of Partners with Families and Children, a center for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of child victims of crime, chairs Gov. Jay Inslee’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and the Washington State Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Council, and was appointed by Tom Foley to the National Coordinating Council for Juvenile Justice.

Recommendations for the police chief search are expected to be ready by mid-January. No timetable has been set for oversight of the development of the cultural audit. Other members of the citizen committee are:

  • Toni Lodge, co-founder and executive director of The Native Project, which promotes health, social and cultural education.
  • Naima Quarles-Burnley, president of the NAACP Spokane Branch #1137, who has a strong commitment to community activism and service. Her experience also includes a background in law representing poor families and advocating for children with special needs and health care access.
  • Jim McDevitt, a member of the Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission, general counsel for the Spokane Airport Board, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington and vice chair of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Clemency and Pardons Board.
  • Ken Hohenberg, the Kennewick (Wash.) police chief since 2003 who has 36 years of law enforcement experience. Under Hohenberg’s leadership, the Kennewick Police Department has seen its highest-ever number of commissioned officers and opened a new, state-of-the-art police station.
  • Susan Hammond, a member of the citizen Use of Force Commission who retired in May from 35 years in public mental health as a psychiatric nurse administrator and consultant.
  • Jon Snyder, a City Council member who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee and commissioner on the Gov. Inslee’s Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

“We have made great strides improving public safety and need to base our search for the next police chief on the community’s current needs and desires,” Condon said. “This committee will facilitate a meaningful discussion about the community’s expectations for the next police chief, desired attributes and how we should go about finding one, and is also uniquely qualified to discuss how we should evaluate our police department culture.”

The committee will hold two town hall meetings to solicit feedback from the community, as well as reach out to a number of stakeholder groups that could include (and not to be limited to):

  • Chase Youth Commission
  • City of Spokane Employees
  • Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Multicultural Affairs (MACMA)
  • Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Small Business
  • Office of the Police Ombudsman Commission (OPOC)
  • Police Advisory Committee (PAC)
  • Smart Justice Coalition
  • Spokane C.O.P.S. Board
  • Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition (SPARC)
  • Spokane Police Guild
  • Spokane Public Schools
  • Youth and Police Initiative (YPI)
  • Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC)

Town hall meetings will be scheduled over the next three months. Their purpose is to provide a venue for the community to share input and feedback on the three police chief objectives. Input about the cultural audit process will also be taken. Community members are also encouraged to submit input via email at any time during this process to:  

“This community advisory committee will help us identify what we’re looking for in the next chief and where we expect that chief to lead the department,” said Ben Stuckart, City Council president.

After the committee concludes its work, city human resources will develop a hiring and selection process for the new police chief that is based on the community input.  Recruitment is expected to begin in early 2016.