SPD Receives Culture Audit from Gonzaga University Professor

Michele Anderson, 509.742.0063


Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 2:45 p.m.


Gonzaga University’s Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies has released the results of its research on discovering and understanding the work culture of Spokane Police Department (SPD).

Beginning the fall semester of 2016, under the leadership of Professor JoAnn Barbour, nine doctoral students collected and analyzed data, in the form of surveys, interviews, cultural artifacts, and observational data. The culture audit was a recommendation of the citizen Use of Force Commission (2013) and the Collaborative Reform Process with the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office.

The study identifies four major cultural themes of the department, with secondary sub-themes supporting each. The major themes are:

  • Shared Values Support Police Work that is Eventful and Variable
  • Becoming One of Us
  • Climate: Morale, Staffing, and Leadership
  • Connecting with the Community

Dr. Barbour and her team conducted 100 interviews with uniformed and civilian police department employees over a six-week period. The full Culture Audit is attached.

“The intent for this study was to take a broad sweep of the Spokane Police Department and, in so doing, not replicate work and other research that is ongoing,” says Dr. Barbour.

“We want to thank Gonzaga University for researching our department’s work culture and providing an objective, independent analysis,” says Chief Meidl. “Having just received this report, we will spend the next several weeks thoroughly reviewing it in order to build an organizational action plan.”

SPD has been working with the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Diagnostic Center to improve its community policing program. As part of that assistance, the Diagnostic Center has brought in subject matter experts, the Blueprint for Building a Culture of Trust team, who will be helping SPD build an organizational action plan. The action plan includes identifying areas of strength and specific steps to deliberately sustain and amplify those strengths, as well as identify areas of opportunity and specific steps to make incremental improvement which involves the entire leadership team.

“These are important next steps as we build a model policing agency that delivers exceptional service to make Spokane safer,” says Condon. “Dr. Barbour and her team have given the police department valuable third-party insight that, when used with the OJP assistance program, helps us build an action plan.”

SPD has implemented all 26 of the citizen Use of Force Commission recommendations. The department has also worked with the DOJ COPS to develop the cultural audit as part of the 42 recommendations resulting from the collaborative reform process.



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Media Relations Contact

Officer John O'Brien
509.835.4568
jobrien@spokanepolice.org