Mayor, Council, SPD Discussing Reforms

Brian Coddington, 509.625.6740

Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 2:38 p.m.

Mayor Nadine Woodward, Council President Breean Beggs, Councilmember Lori Kinnear, and Police Chief Craig Meidl announced today two dozen tenets that will serve as ground rules for a collaborative approach to reforms to evolve the relationship between the community and its police department a proposed process for collaboratively addressing criminal justice and police reform in Spokane. 

The process will include a detailed list of reform topics to be addressed jointly by community reform advocates, police leadership, the Mayor and City Council members.  It also includes proposed tenets that will to support a collaborative conversation to continually improve the relationship between the community and its police department.

The tenets support having challenging conversations, considering the impacts of any reforms, and respecting the perspectives and safety and security needs of all involved. The list of two dozen tenets was developed jointly over the past few weeks. Initial reforms are expected to be announced jointly in the coming weeks.

“The discussion is complex and multi-layered and one that requires significant care and consideration,” Woodward said. “For the past several weeks we have been listening to the feedback from the community and discussing how to wrap those perspectives into healthy growth for our community.”

The feedback is part of an introspective look by City leaders at interpersonal interactions, community expectations, and the steps required to advance together.

“The Spokane community has clearly spoken to elected leaders insisting on changes and improvements to local police practices,” Beggs said. “I believe the most effective way to secure those changes is through a collaborative conversation where community reform advocates and police leadership first listen to each other and City of Spokane leaders then implement improvements.”

Thousands of people have reached out to the City to be heard. City elected and staff representatives have met with communities of color, attended community events, and spoken to people over the phone to hear as many perspectives as possible. They have also taken the time to read the correspondence and listen to the messages.

“Communities of color are the most impacted by any criminal justice reform that occurs. And that is why I recognize and share the urgency with you,” Kinnear said. “I want to give this discussion the time it requires to have a lasting and positive impact for our community.”

Meidl stressed the importance of working together to learn, grow, and reaffirm the department’s commitment to providing excellence in policing, enhancing the safety and security of individuals, and building partnerships to better the lives of community members as a whole.

“Safety is at the center of all of our efforts,” Meidl said. “The safety of our community, people we encounter, and our officers who are part of those interactions.”

The full list of proposed tenets that are proposed include:

RESPECT:  Begin every conversation with this basic human expectation.

HUMANIZE:  Recognize that the discussion is about humans acting in every role who are imperfect, insightful, and invested in our community.

HONEST:  Establish frank and authentic discussion as a baseline for a respectful conversation.

TRUST:  Build a foundation of mutual respect, acknowledging that historical and current context has hindered growth in this area for all involved.

COURAGEOUS:  Acknowledge these difficult conversations require significant introspection from all parties involved that pulls people outside of their comfort zones and places them in vulnerable positions. 

EQUITY:  Evaluate the current situation and future improvements through this important lens.

ACCOUNTABLE:  Accept that officers are held to a higher standard due to the powers and trust bestowed while expecting individual community members to be reciprocally accountable for their actions.

SAFETY:  Prioritize equally the safety of community members and officers.

TRANSPARENCY:  Expect this fully of all involved in the conversation.

COMPASSION:  Establish this as a key component for decision-making.

LEADERSHIP:  Model the values, at all levels, that we expect and instill in our department.

LOCAL:  Evaluate and decide based on experiences and expectations in and for our community.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:  Recognize all sides and the contributions, positive and pointed, each makes to the conversation while avoiding categorically dismissing any points of view.

EFFECTIVENESS:  Evaluate proposed changes against the ability of officers to do their jobs safely and with the least impact.

SUPPORTIVE:  Demonstrate genuine care and concern for every member of the community.

SERVICE:  Continue improving public safety service for all members of the community.

REDUCTION:  Continue the mission of reducing crime citywide through community policing, criminal justice reforms, and connectivity to community resources that end the repeat offender cycle.

HEALTH:  Measure success based on overall community health while recognizing it as a multi-faceted evaluation that includes stakeholders on both sides of the badge.

RESPONSIVESS:  Respond to calls for service and public inquiries in a professional, courteous, and timely manner.

OUTCOMES:  Define the expectations for our community and universally celebrate important milestones.

DATA:  Base decisions on data to drive outcomes that are reasoned, thoughtful, and have universal applicability.

OBJECTIVE:  Acknowledge bias when entering the conversation and be open to other viewpoints and experiences.

INCLUSIVE:  Encourage active listening to all sides by creating an environment that minimizes volume and theater, invites new voices, and values counter viewpoints, and act based on impact to others.

BALANCE:  Evaluate ideas based on the collective good while considering and respecting the lived-experience behind the request, proposal, or action.