Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 11:12 a.m.
Spokane police opened a new downtown precinct today at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Wall Street to increase community policing and visibility downtown.
The new Spokane Police Department precinct, which has space for up to three dozen officers, is on the street level of the former Umpqua Bank Building. Members of the department’s Behavioral Health Unit and Neighborhood Resource Officers will be among the officers who work out of the precinct. Captain Dave Singley is the precinct commander and oversees the downtown team that also includes a lieutenant, two sergeants, and a detective. The department’s civilian mental health coordinator also works out of the precinct.
“Opening a precinct in the heart of downtown and the regional center for employment, higher education, entertainment, and public transit deepens officer connections with the neighborhood,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said. “Officers will be proactive in serving everyone who uses our downtown.”
Officers introduced themselves to their new neighbors during a Covid-responsible open house on Tuesday. The City signed a 10-year lease and partnered with the Downtown Spokane Partnership and Spokane Transit Authority on furnishings and parking. The new precinct will replace a much smaller location several blocks away that had about half the officers.
“This is an exciting moment for the Spokane Police Department,” police Chief Craig Meidl said. “The Mayor made opening a centralized Downtown Precinct one of her top priorities and quickly brought this concept to reality. We will begin to increase staffing out of this precinct with the passing of last year’s levy by voters to hire more police officers, and assign these additional officers to this centralized location. I am convinced businesses, visitors, and shoppers will see a noticeable impact on quality of life downtown with this relocation and increased staffing.”
Woodward announced the new location in February just a week before Spokane became part of the global pandemic. Construction to convert the space from a bank to a police precinct was delayed slightly by the health emergency, but remained a priority.
“This marks the establishment of an innovative community policing hub Downtown that will serve all people,” said Breean Beggs, City Council president.
Crime is down nearly 16 percent overall downtown year-to-date, according to Spokane police CompStat data. Larceny has seen the biggest drop in the property crime category, falling more than 22 percent.
“This is a smart move to get us closer to a true community policing model,” said Councilmember Lori Kinnear, who chairs the Public Safety Committee. “This larger space will accommodate much needed behavior health specialists and give the downtown precinct the visibility that residents and workers have asked for.”
Businesses worked with the City to establish the precinct as a way to ensure the various users can be downtown safely. Donors include SCAFCO, Washington Trust Bank, NAI Black, Kershaws Office Supply, Avista, Clear Story Investments, 4 Degrees Real Estate, STCU, Wheatland Bank, RenCorp Realty, Downtown Spokane Partnership, KutakRock, and Kiemle Hagood.
“Having a vibrant and safe downtown is paramount to the success of our community,” said Mark Richard, president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership.
Officer John O'Brien